Category Archives: Performance

NUIT BLANCHE 2015 -KYOTO OPENING PERFORMANCE « Langage, texture et mouvement »

From Marguerite Paget

NUIT BLANCHE 2015 -KYOTO OPENING PERFORMANCE « Langage, texture et mouvement »


October 3rd 2015
Kyoto International Manga Museum – 19:00
UrBANGUILD Open 20:00 – Starts 20:30


«Langage, Texture et Mouvement» is a unique mix-media live performance which gathers classical conductor, composer and percussionist YANNICK PAGET, filmmaker and visual artist ALEXANDRE MAUBERT (Villa Kujoyama 2012), painter DAIJIRO HAMA and electro artist YOHEI YAMAKADO for a special artistic collaboration. Staged in front of Kyoto International Manga Museum (October 3rd, 19:00), the performance will launch the 5th edition of the Contemporary Art Festival : Nuit Blanche Kyoto which 2015 theme is « Fashion x Contemporary Art ».


« Langage, texture et mouvement » : an artistic encounter
Initiated by Yannick Paget this group performance explores fashion, as an art of
appearance that connects or disconnects us, forms communities or leads to rejection. Appearance draws a limit between our interior & our exterior. It creates frontiers, materialized by the textile. Like interlaced fabric, this musical live performance explores physicality; turning fabric into human tissue through the collaboration and encounter of artists coming from different countries, raised in entirely different artistic universe, from classical music to electro or improvisation and using different mediums (video, music, painting, dance…).


While Alexandre Maubert’s vidéos with Daijiro Hama’s painting and the dancers, Kyoko Nomura (Monochrome Circus), Asuka Ueki, Eri Chian, Caitlin Coker and Mina Yoshida will be projected on the wall of the Kyoto International Manga
Museum, conductor and composer Yannick Paget will perform together with the electro artist Yohei Yamakado, playing percussion live (some made out of textile), and conducting the musicians scattered throughout the venue.


Following the Manga Museum performance the artists will continue the experiment at UrBANGUILD inviting the public to join them for a night of hybrid performance, connecting music, contemporary dance, live painting and video.


About Nuit Blanche Kyoto
Every autumn, Paris stages a one-night arts festival called Nuit Blanche (“White Night”) celebrating contemporary art. During this night, museums, private and public art galleries and other cultural institutions are open and free of charge, turning the centre of the city itself into a de facto art gallery and providing space for art installations, performances (music, film, dance, performance art), themed social gatherings, and other activities. For the 5th time, Kyoto, sister city of Paris, holds the companion event “Nuit Blanche Kyoto” in various spots around the city welcoming the public to enjoy both Japanese and French contemporary artworks for free and lighting up Kyoto’s night in a wide range of events including performances, exhibitions and projection mapping on building exteriors.


In 2015 Nuit Blanche Kyoto presents : « Fashion x Contemporary Art » a promising wide-ranging program :
Paris and Kyoto: both cities have long good tradition of art and craft. Moreover both cities have developed a strong culture of fashion. Nuit Blanche Kyoto 2015 is considering the possibility of cultural exchange through a passage of fashion. We are somehow connected to fashion even when we are unconscious. It’s an everyday tool, a business and a medium of expression. We are contemplating how fashion and art are related from now on. In 21st. century, how do the two cities create in those fields? Nuit Blanche Kyoto 2015 introduces some remarkable works by artists, craftsman and designers under the theme of New Creation in Kyoto. We explores the new relations between art and fashion. We care for tradition but we need to find a way to reinvent it.
Advisors: Hiroshi Ashida (Seika University), Makoto Ishizeki (Kyoto Costume
Institute), Hiroshi Narumi (Kyoto Joshi University)
More information :

Venues : Kyoto International Manga Museum – 19:00
Karasuma-Oike, Nagakyo-ku. TEL/ 075-254-7414
URBANGUILD – Open 20:00 – Starts 20:30
Nakagyō-ku Kiyamachi dori, Sanjō Sagaru New Kyoto Building 3F
TEL/FAX 075-212-1125
Press Contact : Marguerite Paget / / Mob : 090 6556 1974

New Directions Vol. 3 @ Urbanguild, Kyoto; July 9th

new directions

Our pal, Christopher Fryman, is hosting a series of New Directions events at Urbanguild these days, and has asked me to help spread the word about the next show on July 9th. As Christopher is a pal, and the list of performers does look rather good, and especially as this will be a NON-SMOKING EVENT (!!!) I am very happy to oblige.

First the details:

Date: July 9th 2015
Doors open: 19:30
Show starts: 20:00
Tickets on the door: 2200 yen + 1drink
Tickets in advance: 1700 yen + 1drink

Directions: To get to Urbanguild from Sanjo Dori, go down Kiyamachi Dori (This is the narrow street running alongside the Takase stream). Urbanguild is on the east side (the left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) about 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a MAP.

Here’s the list of performers:

Hitomi Shimizu
Takeshi Unate & Yuko Nazuna (calligrapher)
Siete passos para el cielo & Himeko Narumi (dancer)

Christopher is particularly keen that people come to see Kyoto-based composer Hitomi Shimizu who will be playing a quarter tone keyboard that she made herself. Here are some more details…

hitomishimizuHitomi SHIMIZU is a composer for film and TV soundtracks and winner of the Japan Academy Award 2001 for the Japanese film “Waterboys”. Hitomi has studied music composition since the age of 14 and is especially intersted in micro tuning. After graduating from Toho Gakuen Conservatoire, she built herself a 43-tone microtuning organ and made frequent live performances with violinist Hiromi NISHIDA as a duo “SYZYGYS” in Tokyo. She plays “microtuning pop” which is Hitomi’s life work. “SYZYGYS” CDs are available worldwide, produced by John Zorn on his TZADIK label. For her solo works, she plays 205/octave microtonal keyboard called “Tonal Plexus 6s” as well as her self made 43 tone organ.
Takeshi Unate is an Asian style, one-man-band ‘pokopoko’ musician. He plays with body and spirit. His hands use many melodic instruments, singing with his mouth and nose, beating with his feet and an array of flutes, whistles and other rare instruments.


Yuko Nazuna is a shodo (Japanese calligraphy) artist. She has performed live calligraphy at shrines and temples in Nara.


SIETE PASSOS PARA EL CIELO are an esoteric free style band playing a beginning, middle, and end. Their influences range from Mahler to Mingus. They are

Kurata Kenichi – Bass
Ito Makoto – Sax
Christopher Fryman – Trumpet
盛田泰三  – Drums


Himeko Narumi is a dancer and art model who has danced all over Japan and participated in many International Festivals. She is currently a member of “The Physical Poets” that use body movements and dance. At the same time, she has a career as a solo dancer and has been working with music in improvisation dance sessions. She focuses on invisible things, a sense of air, music, mind and energy, and the spirit of the land…

All pictures courtesy of Christopher Fryman & Urbanguild.

Pendulum – Japanese Traditional Music Course @ Kyoto Geidai; August 18-20

Alison Tokita is running an intensive 3-day course on Japanese traditional music at Kyoto City University of Arts, August 18th – 20th, 2015.

Click to download PDF

Click to download PDF

This short-short course will introduce many of the genres of traditional Japanese music that have been transmitted to the present and are still actively performed. The course will also discuss the varied ways of experiencing musical modernity in the context of the overwhelming dominance of western music in Japan. It will provide an accessible overview of Japanese music culture for non-Japanese participants, including performers, composers and musicologists. It is also intended for Japanese participants who are interested in an international perspective on Japanese music, and students planning to study abroad who want to know something about their ‘own’ music as well as western music.

The major genres include gagaku, shōmyō, and shakuhachi and koto music. The narrative genres of heike and jōruri and their place in the nō, bunraku and kabuki theatres will be introduced. Practical encounter with some genres during learning sessions, and an evening concert will be included.

Cost: 5,000 yen (payable in cash at the commencement of the course)

Schedule: There will be two sessions per day over three days. Morning session 10:00-13:00 Afternoon session 14:00-17:00 (The following schedule may be adapted depending on the interests of participants.)

HOW TO APPLY: Registrations must be received by Friday July 31 by email. Payment will be made on the first day of the course, August 18, between 9:00 and 10:00. Registration form can be found on the website.
Enquiries and registration:
Enquiries can also be made to the course convenor, Alison Tokita:
Here is the link for further details and a contact form:

A First View of Kabuki

"A Scene from A Play" by Masanobu Okumura (1686–1764), depicting Edo Ichimura-za theater in the early 1740s - public domain.

“A Scene from A Play” by Masanobu Okumura (1686–1764), depicting Edo Ichimura-za theater in the early 1740s – public domain.

My latest article for Inside Kyoto is about a visit to Kyoto’s Minamiza Theater to see a kabuki show. Going to see kabuki is one of those things I have long wanted to do, but somehow I had never gotten around to – until now. I had strong doubts before going about whether I could enjoy it, as I knew that the language would be archaic and difficult to understand. In the event I couldn’t understand a lot of what was going on in the show, but nonetheless I enjoyed it immensely. Find out why by clicking on the link!

Kabuki At Kyoto’s Minamiza Theater

The refreshment stand in Kyoto's Minamiza Theater.

The refreshment stand in Kyoto’s Minamiza Theater.

Sanka’s Spring Ritual: A Mixed Media Performance by Ensō Watt @ Urbanguild; April 29th

The fourth and final part of the epic seasonal rites sequence by the experimental arts collective, Ensō Watt will take place at Urbanguild, Kyoto on April 29th. This is an event not to be missed!

enso watt final

Date: Wednesday, April 29th
Doors Open:
Show Starts:
Tickets on the door:
2700 yen
Tickets in advance:
2000 yen
Student Tickets:
1500 yen
(all tickets include one drink)

About Ensō Watt:
Initiated in 2014 by the sound designer Samuel André, the Ensō Watt artist collective is born in Kyoto from the encounter of artists coming from different countries and raised in entirely different artistic universe, from classical music to electro, improvisation and sound design.

The Seasonal Rites:
A hundred years after Stravinsky’s revolutionary “Rites of Spring,” the members of this artistic collaboration pursue the experience-cum-experiment by focusing on Japan’s seasonal cycles, especially celebrated by the little-known mountainous tribe, the Sanka.

The Show:
The music is inspired by the poetry of Chris Mosdell; it navigates between improvisation and conducted improvisation live by Yannick Paget, based on scored music’s elements. The performers, positioned in the audience, generate an immersive, musical surround-experience (broadcast on 4 speakers). More than just a musical experiment, the event is also shot live via a series of 6 cameras, and is processed and projected on 2 screens during the performance.

city that silk builtThe Poet:
Incidentally, the poet Chris Mosdell recently released a wonderful bilingual book of poems written in Kyoto entitled The City That Silk Built. Chris was kind enough to send me a copy which I shall review in good time, but for now, you can take a look at it on

For more information on the show:
Press contact: Marguerite Paget: mgtpaget[at] / 090 6556 1974
Event coordination: Samuel André: sandre.constellation[at]

See also the following sites:
Chris Mosdell:
Yannick Paget:
Samuel André:
Ensō Watt:

And my short reviews of the last two Ensō Watt performances here:
Images from Sanka’s Winter Ritual
Pictures from Sanka’s Autumn Ritual by Ensō Watt

‘Introduction to Noh theatre’ begins at Impact Hub Kyoto this Spring

‘Introduction to Noh theatre’ by The International Noh Institute (INI) is a 6-session course at Impact Hub Kyoto, aimed at Kyoto residents, exchange students, or any other English-speaker who would like to take a closer look at Noh theatre’s tradition.

noh limits

Details at the LINK!

Images from Velvet Moon Vol. 115

What a joy it was to see Sean Roe back in Urbanguild this evening – and for the first time in four years! And so much talent in tonight’s show too! I was particularly impressed this time by two of the dancers: Misuzu and Chian. Watch out for them in the images and videos below.

Mangrove Kipling

Cozy (Colin Garvey & Yozy)

IMG_9116 (Medium)

みすず + 山崎昭典





amallsのskcaj & Chian

Andy Couzens

Andy Couzens

Sean Roe

Sean Roe

amalls 1



amalls 2

amalls 3

amalls 4

amalls 5

And finally… Michael Jackson’s Llama?

Velvet Moon: Live Music & Dance @ Urbanguild, Kyoto; March 25th 2015


amallsのskcaj are Andy Couzens & Sseeaann Rrooee performing an improvised tribute of video and sound to the memory of Mr. Michael Jackson

I’m very happy to report that our old friend Sean Roe will be returning to Urbanguild on March 25th as one half of the sound and video improvisation unit amallsのskcaj!

DATE: Wednesday March 25th

DOORS OPEN: 19:00 / SHOW STARTS: 19:30

ADVANCE TICKETS: 2000 yen with 1 drink / TICKETS ON THE DOOR: 2300 yen with 1 drink

Here is the full line up for a night of Velvet Moon!

amallsのskcaj (Sseeaann Rrooee and Andy Couzens)


amalls の skcaj

みすず(dance) + 山崎昭典(guitar)



Originally a ballerina but influenced by Butoh since her university days, みすず has performed with various musicians and many styles of music. A regular at Urbanguild, every shapeshifting performance tells a unique story of its own.


Colin Garvey + Yozy = Cozy

Colin Garvey + Yozy (dance)

Colin Garvey is a self-taught Canadian indie/folk singer and songwriter who blends the strumming and singing of catchy tunes with live beats produced on the spot by the looping of beat-boxing and the pounding and battering of one of the world’s ugliest guitars. Each song is based on a story or feeling acquired from the life of a troubadour; as he travels the globe taking in any and all experiences that present themselves. It all comes together to produce a lively, quirky and entertaining atmosphere that can be summed up as, ‘enjoyable’. He will be accompanied by Chinese dancer, Yozy.

Mangrove Kipling
Mangrove Kipling (Laurent Lavol?) is a french experimental musician living and working in Berlin, Germany. Exploring new regions of sounds and always expanding his range of action, he has worked internationally with artists of all categories, mainly dancers, video artists and numerous other musicians. For the first time in Japan, he developed an augmented guitar that allows him to play his wide range of tunes through a portable device.

Top image by Andy Couzens. Text and other images courtesy of the artists and Urbanguild.

Directions: To get to Urbanguild from Sanjo Dori, go down Kiyamachi Dori (This is the narrow street running alongside the Takase stream). Urbanguild is on the east side (the left hand side as you walk down from Sanjo) about 150 metres. It’s on the 3rd floor of the New Kyoto Building – access by elevator or stairs. Here is a map.

Parasophia: A Major Festival of Art & Culture in Kyoto Starts this Week!


Well, this looks interesting, doesn’t it?

Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015
March 7–May 10, 2015

Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture 2015 is the first large-scale international exhibition of contemporary art to be held in Kyoto.  Approximately 40 artists from around the world will participate in the two-month exhibition at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, the Museum of Kyoto, and other locations. Many of these artists will also have taken part in the 700 days before the exhibition, making extended visits to Kyoto for site visits, collaborations, and other research for new works that will be presented at the first exhibition in 2015.

To find out more about the schedule and location of events and exhibitions please visit the official Parasophia site.

Parasophia is also on, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

Images from Sanka’s Winter Ritual

On January 25th I attended Sanka’s Winter Ritual; a performance at Urbanguild by the mixed media collective Ensō Watt. Just as  when I attended the Autumn Ritual in October, I was completely enthralled by the mounting energy of this show. It really is a treat to see talented artists from so many varied disciplines blending their abilities so successfully.

At an Ensō Watt performance there are two screens, one poet, and musicians positioned around the room... The audience is bathed in light and sound.

At an Ensō Watt performance there are two screens, one poet, and musicians positioned around the room… The audience is bathed in colour and sound.

Of course, it could have all gone horribly wrong. On the one side you have a classically trained composer and conductor (Yannick Paget), and on the other you have an unruly bunch of experimental musicians, video artists and soundscape technicians (everybody else). You might assume that their natural instincts would pull them in two mutually incompatible directions, and you can easily imagine the resulting riotous blasphemy of chaotic sound and colour that would result. Ensō Watt manages to keep the balance between order and liberty just right however, and I think it is that fine balance, that tension between two compulsions that makes their performances so thrilling.

A limited score gives some structure to the performance, but the rest is improvisation...

A limited score gives some structure to the performance, but the rest is improvisation…

Those experimental artists who are used to playing with complete fresdom, are given a structure in which to contain their genius. The composer/conductor Yannick Paget, who by his training has always played completely fixed and rigid compositions, is suddenly set free to improvise at will. Everyone is playing outside their comfort zone and this provides a sense of adventure.

Yasutaka Okada on contrabass

Yasutaka Okada on contrabass

And all of this is inspired by the mystical refrains of Chris Mosdell’s poetry. His words conjure visions of a people (the semi-legendary Sanka tribe) who are swept up in both dread and ecstatic passion at the most elemental forces of life.

Poetry assaults the senses!

Poetry assaults the senses!

Clearly he is in his element, and  it must be a great joy for the poet that his words have inspired the other artists to produce for this one night a magnificent shimmering sanctuary of light and sound.

The poet too is caught up in the magic of the moment.

The poet too, is caught up in the magic of the moment.

Meanwhile, Yannick Paget throws himself into an enraptured percussive performance, while simultaneously (and most wondrously!) maintaining control over the ritual’s flow by conducting the other musicians. How he does all this is a mystery, but as he banged out the final crescendo of rhythm on the drums, it was all I could do to stop myself from throwing up a horny handed salute! The man might be a classical musician by trade, but at heart he is a rock star!

Yannick in the dark.

Yannick in the dark.

It is unfair though, to single out individuals for special praise in this collective. All of the members are brilliant, and their seamless collective pooling of their talents a remarkable phenomenon that I would encourage you all to see. The next miracle from Ensō Watt, the Rite of Spring will be performed at Urbanguild on April 29th. Mark it down in your diaries.

The ring leaders, left to right: Samuel André, Yannick Paget and Chris Mosdell.

The ring leaders, left to right: Samuel André, Yannick Paget and Chris Mosdell.

To learn more about Ensō Watt and their seasonal rites, visit their website here: