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The World Shakuhachi Festival 2018 brings together many of the world’s best performers of the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute, from all continents. It presents, at highest level, a broad cross-section of traditional and contemporary solo and ensemble music for shakuhachi. As an instrument, the shakuhachi is known by many people, but without being named or recognised. It has put in appearances in many film soundtracks, including the final Harry Potter films, and is on the other hand enjoyed by many because of its deeply meditative quality. The instrument is, however capable of a broad range of music, from quiet to energetic and stimulating, alone, and grouped with other instruments, from Japan and elsewhere. The broad spectrum of its music will appeal to music lovers from all walks of life and with all tastes, from traditional to modern, from meditative to ‘world music’.
The WSF2018 will offer an unique opportunity to experience the world of shakuhachi close up and in a variety not seen before in the UK or Europe. Our schedule is bursting with a wide range of concerts, workshops, lectures, talks, exhibitions, screenings and informal gatherings, bringing together around 40 top-level shakuhachi performers from Japan and another 40 from other countries to play and teach. Whether you are a seasoned shakuhachi professional, an enthusiastic hobbyist or simply interested in discovering new cultural and musical territory, WSF2018 is the place to be.
The Art of Gaman is a stunning new play. It was a finalist in the American Playwriting Foundation’s prestigious Relentless Award.
Tomomi, a young Japanese woman stands at the hull of a ship staring out across the water to her new American life in the years prior to the Hiroshima bombing. There are stars in her eyes and a crackling radio pulled to her chest as she drifts towards a country, and a future, that resists her arrival.
The Art of Gaman is an aching exploration of displacement and loss of cultural identity when you find yourself in a country that considers you an enemy. When forgetting your past is shameful, but remembering brings even greater pain, Tomomi must harness the strength to find beauty in the struggle and carve out a new life for herself and be true to who she really is.
The Art of Gaman was one of 6 plays shortlisted for the American Playwriting Foundation’s prestigious Relentless Award.
Starting the 12th October and running until 15th December, Adam Isfendiyar will be holding a photography exhibition about the life of an Ainu (indigenous people of Japan) man in Hokkaido. He has been working on this project for over 2 years with Kenji Matsuda, giving an insight into the modern Ainu and the continuing legacy of the recent past since the Japanese took over Hokkaido at the end of the 19th century. It will be showing at The Brunei Gallery, SOAS and entry is free!
World Rugby Museum adult ticket £12.50. Concessions available.
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.
Drop in; Admission Free.
Join Japan House for live screenings of the Rugby World Cup 2019. With over 10 matches lined up and more to be announced, Japan House welcomes guests to watch the world cup on a four metre by two metre screen. Guests can drop in anytime during a match; refreshments and snacks will be available to purchase from The Stand.
Admission is free and on a first come, first serve basis. Additional dates for the finals will be announced closer to the time. Currently Japan House is showing:
|Friday 20 Sept||11:45||Japan v Russia|
|Saturday 21 Sept||10:45||New Zealand v South Africa|
|Monday 23 Sept||11:15||Wales v Georgia|
|Thursday 26 Sept||11:45||England v USA|
|Saturday 28 Sept||08:15||Japan v Ireland|
|10:45||South Africa v Namibia|
|Monday 30 Sept||11:15||Scotland v Samoa|
|Thursday 3 Oct||11:15||Ireland v Russia|
|Tuesday 8 Oct||11:15||South Africa v Canada|
|Friday 11 Oct||11:45||Australia v Georgia|
|Saturday 12 Oct||11:45||Ireland v Samoa|
*live screening dates are subject to change.
AN EXCLUSIVE ONE-OFF CONTEMPORARY AND EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC AND DANCE PERFORMANCE FROM TRADITIONAL OKINAWA
MYM (Mutsumi, Yu and MINA) presents “Okinawan Avant-Garde Night”, an exclusive one-off music and dance performance with visuals and elements of storytelling at the crossroads of traditional Okinawan (Southern Japanese), contemporary and experimental music.
Punctuating their performance with the sound of the iconic Okinawan 3 string lute “sanshin”, Okinawan musician Mutsumi Aragaki (vocals, sanshin, electronics, audiovisual) and Japanese/Swiss musician MINA (vocals, sanshin, violin) each offer an avant-garde approach on ancient sounds and tales from the Southern Japanese island.
By blending songs, stories, images and movements together with Japanese performing artist Yu Tamura, this new collaboration invites the audience to discover the unique and rich culture of Okinawa with a highly artistic perspective.
Event details and tickets: https://richmix.org.uk/events/mym-presents-okinawan-avant-garde-night
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/364576844222056/
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
“Four striking works align, taking the audience on an exploration of reflection, purification, self and identity. Together we navigate an energetic path that illuminates the significance of our connection as human beings through unspoken word.”
The Japan Foundation is delighted to partner with Fabula Collective on a contemporary dance production presented at Sadler’s Wells this October. A mixed bill performance choreographed by James Pett, Travis Clausen-Knight, and Japanese contemporary dance artist Kahiko Narisawa, the project emphasises the collaboration between Japanese and British dancers, bridging the cultures of the two countries and facilitating a meeting of minds to exchange skills, knowledge, technique and creative ideas.
The performance will be followed by a conversation between the dance artists and Sanjoy Roy, dance writer and critic for the Guardian.
Date: 8 October 2019, from 7:15pm
Venue: Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio
Roseberry Avenue, London EC1R 4TN
Nearest tube: Angel Station
Introduction by Bryony Dixon (BFI)
A screening of Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu’s silent gangster filmWalk Cheerfully with specially composed score by Japanese music specialist Clive Bell and renowned improviser Sylvia Hallett, performed live by the benshi Tomoko Komura.
The silent films screened in Japan from the 1920s to late 30s were never completely silent. Katsudo-shashin benshi, or benshi for short, were voice performers, who delivered live narration that provided everything an audience might need to appreciate a film by enacting characters in a theatrical manner (playing multiple roles with a variety of voices) while sitting or standing beside the movie screen.
Although known for the minimalism of his later work Ozu (Tokyo Story) had grown up devouring Hollywood movies. This is a delightful Tokyo spin on a classic gangster tale of Kenji (aka Ken the Knife) a thief who likes drinking and fighting. When he falls in love with sweet and simple Yazue, and she finds out what kind of man he really is, she leaves him ‘until he becomes an honest person’. But it is not easy to get rid of one’s past.
Kenji’s underworld adventures and doomed attempts at going straight accompanied here by expressive word, gesture and music, courtesy of benshi Tomoko Komura and musicians Clive Bell and Sylvia Hallett.
A panel discussion and Q&A led by Bryony Dixon will take place after the screening.
Name: Walk Cheerfully film screening
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Tue 15 Oct 2019, 19:00 – 20:30
Full Price: £13.00
Senior 60+: £11.00
Registered Unemployed: £6.50
Under 18: £6.50
+44 (0)1937 546546