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As the Japanese taiko drumming troupe make their way back to London, they bring with them the Odaiko drums. These traditional drums, used in Shinto rituals, weigh over half a tonne each, and require exceptional skill and physicality to produce each floor-shaking note.
Dedicated to their art, the Yamato drummers train ferociously. On stage, they display a staggering strength, using their entire bodies to play and share with their audiences an intense passion that comes out in their pounding, high-energy and thrillingly thunderous performances.
“Primal, exhilarating; you want to do it too”
THE TIMES on Chousensha – The Challengers
Grimeborn Opera Festival
8pm 23rd August
3pm 24th August
8pm 24th August
Origami and music. A multi-media opera installation. Verity Lane‘s two-part project draws on her 10 years’ experience of living in Japan, exploring classical Japanese traditions with a uniquely avant-garde twist.
A brand-new performance project with music, stories and concept by Verity Lane, Origami Soundscapes: Flower, Bird, Wind & Moon explores ancient symbolism and Japanese birdsong, featuring a large-scale origami performance by Coco Sato, percussion, shakuhachi and storytelling.
The Crane reimagines a Japanese folk story about a magical crane that takes human form, set around Hokkaido’s Otowa Bridge. This mystical opera installation explores traditional Japanese aesthetics through a blend of Noh theatre conventions, traditional and contemporary dance, avant-garde music and animation.
Sung in English and Japanese without surtitles.
Music and Libretto (English and Japanese) by Verity Lane
Supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Verity Lane/music, words, creative directer
Coco Sato/Giant Origami
Born in Tottenham and spending nearly a decade in Japan, visual artist, composer and writer Verity Lane specialises in creating highly visual performance installations for traditional Japanese instruments. and beyond.
Her recent multi-media projects include A Thousand Bamboo in a Dancing Wind (performance installation for 300 shakuhachi, 2 dancers, projection and performance poetry, commissioned by The World Shakuhachi Festival, held at Goldsmiths, 2018), Yugenism: Animated Soundscapes of the Japanese Sublime (supported by Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation), and Japanese Sandscapes: The Tale of Mt Fuji where she worked with artists including Ko Ishikawa (sho/Reigakusha), Etsuko Takezawa (koto/shamisen) and Kaho Aso (traditional Japanese dance/kotsuzumi). Both projects saw Lane launch herself within London’s avant garde music scene, selling out venues across London.
Coco Sato is an award-winning Japanese artist based in the UK. Her work uses origami to change the way people see the world.
Mirei Yazawa is a performance artist based in London.
Beibei Wang is a genre defying percussionist based in London.
Tomoko Komura is a London based performer from Japan, trained at the London International School of Performing Arts with an MFA in Lecoq-based Actor-Created Theatre (2006). She has performed and toured in shows by award-winning theatre companies such as Theatre Ad Infinitum (Ballad of the Burning Star), Theatre Témoin (Jukai) and Out of Chaos (Out of Chaos).
Kiku Day is a shakuhachi player based in Denmark.
Hester Dart is a London based contralto and graduate from the University of Leeds. They study with Prof. Neil Baker and are currently finishing their second year at the Morley College Opera School. Hester is particularly interested in promoting the work of
LGBTQ+ composers and musicians. They would like to contribute towards a more inclusive and accessible environment within classical music and opera.
Rowan O’Brien is a renowned animator and 3D artist from the West Coast of Ireland. He mixes sketches, objects, computer animation, and video in his work. He has screened and exhibited work across Europe, South Korea and Japan, where he lived and studied Japanese fabric craft known as oshie.
London’s very own festival of Japanese culture – Japan Matsuri – returns on Sunday, 29 September 2019 in Trafalgar Square in the centre of the city. A regular fixture now in the London calendar, this free annual festival brings people together to enjoy Japanese food, music, dance, and activities for all the family.
The concept of the theme this year is “Future generations”.
Everything kicks off at 10.00am and runs through till 8.00pm. With two stages, there is plenty to see all day. The programme of stage performance for this year is still being finalised and will feature exciting new acts as well as the return of favourites from previous Matsuri.
Enjoy the atmosphere with Japanese festival food from the numerous stalls. Join in the fun in the family activities area with games and dressing in kimono. Try your hand at Japanese cartoons on the manga wall.
Japan Matsuri is organised jointly by the Japan Association, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Japan Society and Nippon Club, with support from the Embassy of Japan.
Tonights presentation celebrates the joint opening of an exhibition of photography by Yuka Fujii at the Pocko Gallery, together with the UK premiere of LIKE PLANETS, a film of images and text taken from the book of the same name. There will also be live music from Clive Bell and Rie Nakajima.
The film makes its world premiere at the Punkt Festival in Norway in September 2019 followed soon after by this London showing. There are plans to take it to Japan later in the year. LIKE PLANETS also features a specially commissioned soundtrack by Mark Wastell.
LIKE PLANETS FILM
Cafe OTO is pleased to welcome back the Japanese duo of Minami Saeki (voice) and Taku Sugimoto (guitar) following a performance of material from their debut collaborative recording – Songs – at OTO last year. For this show they are joined by London-based, German cellist, Ute Kanngiesser for a series of one-off duo performances.
“This project is named Yū (幽) / phantom.
Yū is Japanese special sensitivity, it’s means like “faintly”, “fleeting”, “airy”, “vaguely”. It’s be understood by Japanese people as also “ghost”, “apparition”, “phantom”.
This performance depicts two Japanese goddesses, one phantom, and one modern woman, by dance of Misuzu and the music of Shin’ichi Isohata and Naoyo Yakushi.
Many of the origins of religion in all world were goddess faith. God or monster has the back and front faces that are intrinsic as same as humans (although I think originally God should not be such an existence..). Every existences have good and evil, and also there has sadness in the bottom of the heart. However, sometime the sadness might be become to mercy or hope. Music wander between reality and mythology with abstract, minimal sound, and Japan sensitivities etc… for realizing the true happiness in heart.” – Shin’ichi Isohata
Minyo Crusaders rework traditional Japanese folk songs (minyō) with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms to create some of the most infectious music anywhere between Latin America and Japan. The punchy and inventive arrangements of this ten-piece big band seamlessly blend Afro-Cuban and Caribbean rhythms with old Japanese minyōto create a compellingly modern sound. Since label Mais Um released the band’s debut album Echoes of Japan in April the acclaim has been universal.
The band’s sound could be described as having a retro Japanese feel influenced by a a hefty dose of worldwide music. Otemoyan, a well-known folk song from southern Kumamoto Prefecture about a young maiden marrying a man with a pockmarked face, is reshaped into a reggae track with dub sensibilities. Akita Nikata Bushi from northern Akita Prefecture takes its cue from Ethiopian funk, while Fukuoka Prefecture’s Tanko Bushi swings to the sound of boogaloo. All the while, however, minyō’s distinctive stylised form of singing is maintained, providing a sense of authenticity despite the melange of rhythms.
For more information visit: www.comono.co.uk/live/minyo-crusaders/