Monday, September 26, 2011

Indian Classics Tokyo 2011 - A first class Indian classical concert

My last concert of this year's Japan tour was a really first class event held in Densho Hall in Shibuya, bringing together some of the top Indian classical artists in Japan at the time.  The 9/11 event marked 6 months since the Fukushima tsunami and 10 years since the New York attacks.  The hall was packed full of attentive listeners creating a fantastic atmosphere for great music.  Many thanks to organiser Yuriko Terahara and congratulations on a great job for Indian music!  The after party was loads of fun too - the biggest I've ever been part of!

These photos were taken by Akiro Io and there are many more on his blog.

Fumie Negishi (vocal) with Ayako Ikeda (tabla)
Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Shen Flindell (tabla)
Steve Oda (sarod) with Ty Burhoe (tabla)
Amit Roy (sitar) with U-Zhaan (tabla)

14th and Final Gifu Sangeet Mela

I've been lucky enough to participate in the annual Gifu Sangeet Mela 6 times - the first time as an audience member and then 5 times performing, culminating in this year's final instance of this wonderful event. (Here are my blog posts for the last three years'.)  It really is great to gather so many musicians to perform together and see each others' performances, give feedback, discuss music and just hang out all night.  This year I was blessed to play twice: first accompanying Taro Terahara (bansuri) and second accompanying Koki Yoshida (sitar).  Unfortunately a few of us Tokyo musicians had to leave at 4am to return for a concert the next day, and so weren't able to see the final two performances nor enjoy the feeling of having experienced the whole night together.  The next day's after-party is always a blast too; so sad to have missed that.  Many thanks to Jimi-san for inviting me to join in again, and we'll miss the Sangeet Mela in future years.

Event organiser and wonderful santoor player, Setsuo "Jimi-san" Miyashita
This image of Saraswati-maa, goddess of music, has looked over Sangeet Mela for 14 years!
Baku Hirakawa (sarod) with Ayako Ikeda (tabla)
Rahul Acharya (Odissi dance)

Taro Terahara (bansuri) with Shen Flindell (tabla)

Sachiko Murakami's Odissi dance group

Live accompaniment for Sachiko Murakami's Odissi dance group

Jai Bajrang - Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj) and Takaaki Kuno (ghatam)
Scene from the green room

Koki Yoshida (sitar) with Shen Flindell (tabla)
Atsuko Maeda and her Kathak dance group
Steve Oda (sarod) with Ty Burhoe (tabla)
Yukie Satou (Odissi dance)
Shree (Dhrupad vocal) with Tetsuya Kaneko (pakhawaj)

EthnoSuperLounge @ Magokoro Vol 2 with Aoyamaguchi

For the second Friday EthnoSuperLounge at Magokoro, I was joined by bansuri buddy Taro Terahara and Japanese folk song duo Aoyamaguchi.  Aoyamaguchi had joined Taro, Tenzin and a for shows in Fukushima and Sendai earlier in my Japan tour.  Their combination of Japanese folk singing with Tuvan throat singing and open-tuned guitar is very beautiful and emotive.  As always, we finished the show up with a jam session.  I think Taro and I make a great accompaniment team!

A couple of Tokyo shows

After the Magokoro Kamakura show I had a couple more events in Tokyo city itself.  First up I accompanied Yuki in our concert after her workshop at Sun and Moon Yoga in Meguro.  The following night I joined Taro Terahara (bansuri) and June Chikuma (ney) for an exploration of Indian and Arab flutes at Saint-Jacques Bistro, Nishiogikubo.  We did some wild free improvisations in joining to two kinds of music!

EthnoSuperLounge @ Magokoro Vol 1 with Mbira Zvakanaka

The last few years we have done concerts with Tenzin Choegyal at Kamakura hemp cafe, Magokoro ("Hemp Heart"), but this year things didn't work out.  So instead they offered me a couple of concerts on the first two Fridays in September, with whomever I wanted to invite!  The first week I invited Mbira Zvakanaka to join Yuki and I in a lovely show.  The final jam was lots of fun and really melded our music together in a very fun way.


For the last weekend of August Yuki and I went to Fukuoka, where Yuki was giving Nada Yoga workshops all weekend at Yoga Limt.  I joined her for a small concert on the Saturday evening, where we did our now usual programme of mantras, kirtans and tabla solo.  I didn't do much else while in Fukuoka except for eating at the delicious Daiichi Udon, the best eating place within walking distance of our accommodation courtesy of our old Fukuoka friend Amigo-chan.  Thanks Amigo!  Also thanks to sitar player Hide Iwai who came from Kumamoto to see us and practise together. 

Concert with Yuki at Yoga Limt, Fukuoka
The udon king at Daiichi Udon, Ikinomatsubara, Fukuoka
Goubouten bukkake udon - yum yum yum!