Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Three concerts in Nagoya

Following the adventures of Gifu Mela and a week spent in Horado village with Jimi-san and Mata-ji, I had a few concerts and a week to spend in Nagoya. Until now I've never stopped more than a night or two in Nagoya and for various reasons I didn't know where I was going to stay in Nagoya until almost the last minute. Many thanks to Kenta-san for taking care of me in Nagoya.

Concert 1: with Mari Komuro (santoor) in "Yuasa"
First up, Mari Komuro and myself had a double concert at "Yuasa", a pottery gallery/cafe. In the afternoon performance, I learnt that Hamsadhwani is a pentatonic raga with no Ma and Dha (as distinct from Bhupali which has no Ma and Ni). Then followed a santoor workshop, and then in the evening session I learnt that Maru Behag has the same notes as Yaman except for an occasional Shuddh Ma. I'm gradually getting more and more motivated to learn about ragas!

Following the concerts we were treated to a marvellous dinner. As always it was an honour to accompany Mari-san. Working with such a fine artist really helps me to work on playing fine too.

Shen and Mari Komuro at "Yuasa"

Mari-san's santoor workshop

Concert 2: with Mari Komuro and Koki Yoshida in "Space-ji"
The following Tuesday we had an Autumn Equinox concert at regular Indian music venue, Space-ji. This time Mari-san and I were joined by my Gifu Mela sitar partner, Koki Yoshida.

Shen and Koki Yoshida
Raga Charukeshi, Gat in Char taal ki sawari, Teentaal

Shen and Mari Komuro
Raga Maru Behag, Gat in Jhaptaal and Teentaal

Jugalbandi in Raga Yaman

Practice meeting
While in Nagoya I also had a couple of chances to practise with my old friend Michiro Kimura. I first met Michiro in Varanasi in 2001, before I first came to Japan. Since then he has been learning with Amit Roy, a student of Nikhil Banerjee and Japan's leading Indian music teacher and sitar player. Back in 2005 Michiro and I went on a 10 concert tour of north-east Japan, a marvellous experience.

Michiro Kimura (sitar)

Concert 3: with Nobuo Sugimoto
The following Friday I joined sitar player Nobuo Sugimoto for an Indian classical "corporate gig", playing in a hotel function room for a travel agency promoting tours to India for their elderly clientele. This was my first chance to perform with Sugimoto-san and it was enjoyable playing together. His style is very sweet, much like his guru-ji Amit Roy.

Shen and Nobuo Sugimoto
Dhun (Keherva) and Raga Manj Khammaj, Gats in Rupak Taal and Teentaal