Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kansai concerts with 3 sitar players and Yuki

After the 40 degree heat of Varanasi it was a relief to come to the beautiful spring weather of Japan. We arrived here at the peak of sakura (cherry blossom) season. After a stressful journey from Kuala Lumpur, via Haneda to Kamakura and then by bus to Kyoto, I was happy to wake up to the perfect spring day for some hanami (flower viewing) with friends.

I had a busy few days in Kansai, starting with a concert on the Thursday in Kobe with sitar player Shuhei Ozaki, student of current rising star Purbayan Chatterjee. Yohei Iwashita (sitar) and Bayan Fujisawa (tabla) opened the night. I have to say a big thanks to Shuhei-san for pulling this concert together so that we could have a chance to play together.

On the Friday I joined old friend Yasuhiro Minamizawa, with whom I played at my Guru-ji's memorial concert in 2006, at Uzura Gallery in Kyoto.

Then on Saturday it was off to Cafe Amanto in Osaka for Calcutta Night Vol 82 with Tadao Ishihama. Tadao has been playing sitar as long as I've been playing tabla, but started at the age of 15! I've played with Tadao at Amanto many times over the years, starting back in September 2002.

Finally on the Sunday I accompanied Yuki Taniguchi in a concert following her nada yoga workshop, held in a beautiful old Kyoto house ("machiya"). Our concert followed our usual pattern of mantras, kirtans and bhajans, finishing up with a short tabla solo. Very enjoyable :-)

After dinner we jumped on a night bus back to Tokyo, where I appeared with bansuri player Taro Terahara on NHK TV programme "Hotto @ Asia", which was a very interesting experience.  Will post links to video if anyone uploads them...

I have a few concerts in Tokyo from hereon:

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