Thursday, October 10, 2013

Japan tour 2013

In September Yuki, baby Saraswati and I took our first family trip to Japan, to spend time with our friends and Yuki's family, as well as doing a few concerts around the country. This summer was one of the hottest on record in Japan, with days over 40 degrees before we arrived. Our first couple of weeks there were like Indian monsoon season - hot and sticky! It quickly cooled off for our last week or so though. Thanks to everyone who helped out a little by organising small concerts, and to those who came along too.

Sun Sep 1 Genshin-An Japanese garden concert with Taro Terahara (bansuri) and Takaaki Kuno (ghatam)

 Fri Sep 6 Kamakura: Concert at Magokoro with Yuki Taniguchi Flindell (Dhrupad, bhajan) and Baku Hirakawa (sarod)
with Baku at Magokoro

 Sat Sep 7 Shibuya: Vocal concert with Fumie Negishi, harmonium accompaniment by Tomomi Kitami. A most excellent concert - Raga Behag in vilambit ektaal, madhya laya teentaal, drut ektaal, Raga Chandrakauns in teentaal, 2 dadras.  As far as I know, Fumie is the first to be doing so well in Indian classical vocal in Japan.
 Sun Sep 8 Kanda (Tokyo): Dhrupad workshop and concert with Yuki

Family sightseeing on Enoshima, where there is a shrine to Benzaiten, the Japanese Saraswati.

Butoh dance workshop at Ohno Dance Studio, near Yokohama

Yoshito Ohno giving butoh dance class

Fri Sep 13 Nagoya: Concert with Tetsuya Kaneko, Yuki Kaneko and Yuki Taniguchi Flindell
First item: Yuki Kaneko (violin) and Shen (tabla)

Second item: Yuki (dhrupad vocal) and Tetsuya (pakhawaj)

Third item: percussion duet by Shen and Tetsuya.
Tabla solo in vilambit teentaal, Pakhawaj solo in madhya laya chautaal, duet in drut teentaal

Two and a half couples - what a great team!

Sat Sep 14 Kobe: Sagar (sarod) and Kazuyoshi Ohasi (tabla)

Sat Sep 14 Kobe: Shuhei Ozaki (sitar) and Shen

Sat Sep 14 Kobe: Raga bhairavi sitar-sarod duet

At this point in tour I was supposed to perform at Yamauto Festival with sitarist Yasuhiro Minamizawa, however a typhoon came along and changed our plans. We went to the festival on Sunday afternoon so that I could see what goes on there at least. Rainfall ranged from drizzle to heavy and we decided we would be more comfortable returning to Kyoto (90 mins drive) and coming back for our morning performance early Monday morning (Monday being a holiday). The typhoon hit overnight and in the morning several roads and tunnels were closed. It's very lucky we decided to come back, otherwise we might have been stuck in Yamauto for a few days! And I had a concert in Osaka that evening...

Mon Sep 16 Osaka: Calcutta Night Vol 96 with Tadao Ishihama (sitar)

Driving back to Tokyo, after the typhoon the air was very clear. This was my clearest view of Fuji-san ever! After the very hot summer there was no snow on top - very unusual.

The next day I went for a walk with my old mate T.C. Deane who took this beautiful photo from Inamuragasaki headland, near Kamakura.

Australian sunrise flying back home.

More photos on Yuki's Facebook album.

Various concerts in August (no pics)

I had a few performances at Indian community events in August, plus a trip to Emerald (country Queensland) with Tenzin Choegyal. I didn't get any photos of any of them, but for the sake of completeness here's the wrap-up:

Sun Aug 4 - Brisbane Music Circle celebrates 200th birth year of Pt Swati Thirunal
Brisbane Music Circle organises events for amateur musicians, especially vocalists. This event featured 16 vocalists performing compositions by renowned South Indian composer Pt Swati Thirunal, who was born in 1813. I accompanied most of the performers including my lovely wife Yuki.

Sat Aug 10 - Indian Independence Day Cultural Dinner by India-Australia Society
At this event I accompanied young Carnatic vocalist Roshini Sriram and also presented a performance by three of my tabla students, Bipro, Rhea and Sivamsan.

Sat Aug 17 - Indian Independence Day Celebrations by ‘Shrishti’ Academy of Speech, Music and Drama
The first half of this event presented vocalists singing patriotic Indian songs in a whole range of Indian languages. I accompanied Roshini Sriram and also Yuki who sang a song in Marathi, "Jayathi Jayathi Bharata Mata". The second half of the event consisted of various dance and drama performances.

Sat Aug 24 - Central Highlands Multicultural Festival (Emerald)
Tenzin Choegyal invited me to join him for this lovely festival in Emerald, 900km from Brisbane. On the day before the festival we had a workshop with some kids at the Emerald State School. We taught them one of Tenzin's songs, "Heart Sutra", plus an introductory vocalisation of the Indian rhythm "keherva". This song with the kids became the finale of our set at the festival. We were joined at the festival by our friend Nicholas Ng on erhu, and also enjoyed the performance of fellow Brisbanites Bart Stenhouse (guitar), Ravi Singh (tabla) and friends and their Indo-jazz group "Kashi Nath".