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A new multimedia opera based on Andō Hiroshige’s ’53 Stations of the Tokaido,’ commissioned by Okeanos, the UK’s unique Japanese-Western Music ensemble, premieres at the Cheltenham Music Festival.
Okeanos is an ensemble which mixes traditional Japanese instruments, such as koto, sho and shamisen, with western ones. They open this event with a taste of traditional Japanese music, before composer Nicola LeFanu and librettist Nancy Gaffield discuss how this distinctive soundworld influenced the creation of this new multimedia opera, Tokaido Road.
Taking its name from the series of vivid woodblock prints by Japanese artist Hiroshige, the opera brings Hiro – the figure present in every picture – to life. Journeying from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto against a backdrop of old and new images, Hiro tells of his encounters – humorous, amorous, tragic – through mime, dance, speech and song.
Free (booking essential)
Booking deadline – Friday 3 October
All attendees will receive a copy of the book
Book online here: http://www.japansociety.org.uk/booking-form/
The Japan Society invites you to join us for the launch of The Growing Power of Japan, 1967-1972: analysis and assessments from John Pilcher and the British Embassy, Tokyo, compiled and edited by Sir Hugh Cortazzi. The publishers, Renaissance Books in association with the Japan Society, would like to thank the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Julia Bonas and others for their generous help towards the costs of publication.
In this volume Sir Hugh has compiled the defining reports from Sir John Pilcher’s time as ambassador to Japan from 1967 to ’72, a period in which Japan’s economy and power grew significantly and her relations with the United States became increasingly strained. Sir Hugh, who worked with Pilcher during these years and was himself Ambassador to Japan from 1980 to ’84, will open the launch with an overview of the changing character of Anglo-Japanese relations and of the first overseas visit by a Japanese Emperor. This will be followed by an open discussion led by Chairman of the Japan Society, Sir David Warren, and a drinks reception. We are delighted to announce that all attendees will receive copies of the book.
This collection of Pilcher’s reports to Whitehall provides a valuable record of Japan’s progress at this turning point in her post-war history, as well as insights into the hopes and expectations of the British government in her dealings with Japan. Pilcher’s role during this period was that of bridge-builder between the two countries following the post-war decades of disenchantment and distrust.
Pilcher’s reports were not only unusually comprehensive but were characterised by his natural sympathy for the country and deep knowledge of its culture and religion. His writings on Japan have remained largely inaccessible, and unknown to most researchers, and The Growing Power of Japan offers readers a unique insight into the thoughts of this distinguished scholar-diplomat.
To reserve your place please contact the Japan Society office on 020 3075 1996 or email email@example.com or submit the online booking form (http://www.japansociety.org.uk/booking-form/).
Their new album is released in the UK on October 16th.
Check out JapaneseLondon.com’s Xと○と罪と’ Album Review here & read to the end to find out how to enter the prize draw of an album and two tickets for a lucky reader (draw on Saturday).
Or, just get your tickets here! http://www.o2academyislington.co.uk/
HOTEI has announced the release of his new album ‘Strangers’, the first international release of his stellar career on October 16th through Spinefarm Records. The album features an array of impressive guests including the godfather of punk Iggy Pop, Emigrate/Rammstein’s Richard Z. Kruspe, Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck, Noko from UK electronic band pioneers Apollo 440, and acclaimed Texan singer Shea Seger.
Having sold more than 40 million records in his native Japan, Hotei is best known around the world for his original song, ‘Battle Without Honor Or Humanity’, instantly recognisable as the theme from Quentin Tarantino’s film Kill Bill, and included here as the dramatic closing track.
Now living in London to focus on his international career, Hotei has headlined sold-out shows in the capital at the Roundhouse (2012), and Shepherd’s Bush Empire (2013), and recently played a one-off intimate show at The Lexington, North London, to showcase ‘Strangers’ material; here, he was joined by album guests Apollo 440 and the alluring Shea Seger on vocals. Hotei will be playing live at the Islington Assembly Hall on October 21st.
ASUNA (Asuna Arashi, Japan) uses large collections of multiples to explore interference and drones in installations and live performances. Evolving from previous projects EACH ORGAN and 100 Keyboards, the current tour 100 TOYS uses many tiny cheap toys to create a multilayered and fascinating plastic universe of drones, loops, sonic moire and occasional pop implosions. People are invited to stand around his set and get up close as he works his magic. ASUNA has shared stages with the likes of Jez Riley French and Simon Scott.
ASUNA will be joined by the very talented James Murray, Hybernation, and flying in from Belgium will be Hüwels/Dudal (the curators of the wonderful Slaapwel and Dauw record labels respectively).
Japanese pianist and composer Ayako Fujiki launches her new album, brightwater, at 1901 Arts Club, on 28th September at 6.00pm. This is the first disc to feature her own compositions for piano, two pianos, and piano trio.
Capturing transient scenes from nature, brightwater propels the listener through a unique combination of cultures
Virtuosic Japanese pianist influenced by the riches of European culture
• Falling in love with the energy and diversity of Spanish classical music, Japanese pianist Ayako
Fujiki trained under one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Alicia de Larrocha, also the
first Spanish artist to win the UNESCO prize
• Currently based in the vibrant and eclectic city of Barcelona, this Japanese pianist and composer
explores the duality between Japanese and Mediterranean heritage and culture
• Combining a rigorous classical background with contemporary taste and technique, Ayako finds
inspiration in Romantic, World, Minimal, Electronic and even Japanese Contemporary Epic music
• Praised as “one of the most significant Japanese composers of contemporary classical
music” (Clasica2) by the Spanish press, Ayako now wants to share her music more widely,
beginning with the UK
• Instilling a sense of calm and stillness into what is an ever-frenetic world, Ayako’s music transports the listener to another realm, allowing an escape from the treadmill of everyday life
• Music to the eyes as well as to the ears – Ayako explores music as a visual art through the
creation of stunning videos to accompany her compositions
• After first releasing three CDs interpreting work by other composers, Ayako’s current release
allows her to engage on a more personal creative level through the development of her own
• Contributing to the established chronicle of musicians and composers taking inspiration from
nature, brightwater offers Ayako’s reflections on landscapes, forests, rippling water and broken
• Capturing the beauty of eroded nature, Ayako translates the slow but persistent effect of the
natural elements on rocks and trees
UK release date: 30th September 2016
UK launch event: 28th September, 6pm, 1901 Arts Club, London SE1
UK performance date: 29th September, 1:05pm, St. Olave Hart Street, London EC3
After blasting in to the international rock scene last year, BAND-MAID return with their hotly anticipated first major album. Entitled Just Bring It, the 13-track album, released under Nippon Crown in their homeland of Japan, will hit the UK and Europe from 10 February 2017 through JPU Records in two editions; the regular edition and a CD and T-shirt bundle.
2016 saw the band embark on their first headline world tour, including a sold-out show at The Underworld in London, over a thousand fans descend on Mexico’s Sala as well as packed out club-events across France, Germany and Poland, along with comic con appearances in London, Spain and Italy. The same year also saw the international release of the band’s HMV recommended mini-album Brand New MAID which led to the Huffington Post Blog dubbing BAND-MAID “one to watch”.
“I flew over to Japan to check out BAND-MAID two years ago, and they haven’t stopped knocking my socks off since. Just Bring It is probably their most powerful record yet. I can’t wait to get them back overseas to hear it live” – Tom Smith, JPU Records’ founder and CEO.
Ami Yamasaki & Charlie Collins + guests
Ami Yamasaki & Charlie Collins, on a short tour marking Yamasaki’s UK debut, arrive at Iklectik for the final performance, where after a short duo set they will be joined by Beatrix Ward-Fernandez and Derek Saw.
Ami Yamasaki – voice
Charlie Collins – waterphone & percussion
Beatrix Ward-Fernandez – theremin
Derek Saw – trumpets & flugelhorn
AMI YAMASAKI is a vocalist and cross-media artist from Tokyo. She creates installations, performance pieces, and films. With primal vocals and movement, Yamasaki explores the relationship between us and our universe. Her art explores a fundamental question: “How does the world construct itself” For her, the asking of this question is a love letter to life itself, more important than any answers that it yields.
Ami sings as she works, and the patterns she creates are a direct response to acoustic feedback she receives. She sings, and listens, and “little by little, the space begins to make its own music.”
As a vocalist she has collaborated with Ryuchi Sakamoto, psychedelic rock icon Keiji Haino, Yasunao Tone, Ikue Mori, Carl Stone, and Ned Rothenberg among many others, and provided original music for choreographer Makoto Matsushima. Her elaborate installations have been featured in art spaces across Japan, while her short films have evoked a passionate response, and received critical acclaim.
CHARLIE COLLINS is a creative percussionist, free polyrhythmic drummer, and sound artist, based in the UK. His work continues to explore the boundaries between pure sound and rhythm, frequently incorporating metal percussion and free improvisation. Early recordings for cult labels Industrial, Fetish, and Doublevision were soon followed by collaborations with many of the pioneers of free improvisation, while his interest in East Asian percussion and rhythm technique is displayed in current work with komungo player Eun-Jung Kim, pianist Yoko Miura, visual artist Bongsu Park, composer Ryoko Akama, vocalist Ami Yamasaki, and Butoh dancers Mushimaru Fujieda and Tsukasa Kamidate. He is one of a handful of musicians to have played both Derek Bailey’s Company Week and Top Of The Pops.