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Be drawn into the faraway world of The Women of Ishikawa. It is a selection of strange, hilarious, and tragic folk stories from the mountains of Ishikawa, brought over from Japan and performed by Doubtful Sound. The show is in a mix of Kaga-ben (the local dialect) and English, and the stories are sprinkled with traditional folk songs from the SOAS Min’yo Group. The tales performed in Japanese have English subtitles.
The performance at the Daiwa Foundation includes a ghost who nurses babies, girls falling asleep on the shoulder of a monk, a collapsing cave, a mochi-fight, a potato digger, uncomfortably welcoming guests, a snake swordsmith, the queen of thieves, a lord who tells terrible jokes, an elderly lady under the floor, a young woman murdered by the sun, and a basket of bees. The show will include a Q&A session, providing a chance to ask the director, dramaturg, and musicians about the tales and songs.
About the contributors
Doubtful Sound is a bilingual theatre company who research, translate, and perform traditional stories and folktales from far flung areas of Japan. The group was formed in Tokyo in 2012 and have since performed the tales in ancient temples, Japanese gardens, pubs, over rivers, at festivals, and occasionally in theatres. Scenes are performed in Japanese and English with the Japanese scenes often in the local dialect of the area.
SOAS Min’yo Group
The SOAS Min’yo Group are a largely amateur bunch of Japanese folk song (min’yo) devotees who meet regularly at SOAS, University of London, to practice singing, instruments and some dancing. Launched in 2012 by David Hughes, a Japanese music specialist at SOAS, its members are of various nationalities, including Japanese. The Group have performed at many events around the UK and abroad.
For further information, see www.facebook.com/SOASMinyo, or email David at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.