Monday, November 17, 2008

Greenhouse sojourn including Lakshmi Party

Time to catch up on blogging the second part of my recent Japan tour... Casting my mind almost 2 months....

When I left off my tale I'd just played three concerts in Nagoya in late September, after which I had a brief stopover in Kamakura, a lovely beachside, temple-laden town an hour south-west of Tokyo. I was there to meet Hide Iwai, a sitar player from Kyushu organising a tour for me later in October. We stayed with Maya Muga Moeran, a pianist who also plays a bit of tabla and various other instruments, and has made some beautiful ambient music too - check out his website. While we were there I invited over my mbira buddy Masa Sakurai to have a jam. This is a snap from Hide's blog.

Off to The Greenhouse, a legendary location which I've previously described as "my Kanto-country retreat-cum-EthnoSuperLounge basecamp." I've written plenty about The Greenhouse when I stayed last year and also in 2006, but in a nutshell, it's a big farmhouse in a quiet valley a few hours into the mountains from Tokyo, owned by Chris Case, who's been living in Japan since the early 70s, who hosts ethno-ambient chill parties from time-to-time, where most of the guests are performers, DJs, artists or healers of some kind.

This year, to coincide with my stay there, we had a "Lakshmi Party" - the dates also coincided with the middle three nights (devoted to Lakshmi) of the Hindu goddess festival of Navaratri ("the nine nights of the goddess"). I reckon it was the best Greenhouse party I've been to in the 5 years I've been going there. There was a wonderful lineup including Masa Sakurai (mbira), Yuji Nakagawa (sarangi), Ed Durbrow (lute) and last but certainly not least Carlos Guerra (bansuri) and his band Zino featuring tamboura and vocals by Tokko Nakamura, sweet guitar by Scan Shishino and soft jazzy drums by Takuya Abe. We had two long, really beautiful jam sessions over the weekend!

Shen (tabla), Carlos Guerra (bansuri) and Yuji Nakagawa (sarangi)

Carlos Guerra (bansuri), Takuya Abe (drums) and Scan Shishino (guitar) make up Zino

Regular Greenhouse performer, Azzuro

Dancing moment at the Lakshmi Party, Greenhouse
Thanks to Zoi for all the photos!

Many thanks to Chris for being there and creating this great space for people to get together and do their weird things. Also thanks to all the musicians and other participants, especially to the volunteers Futaba, Shu, Nakako, Tomoki and Yuki-chan. We made the Greenhouse the cleanest it's ever been, I'm sure!

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