Category Archives: Music

Arabesk Return to Kyoto

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“One of the most rewarding aspects of living in a multicultural society like Australia is the remarkable diversity of music heard – African, European, Arabic, Asian, Latin. Sydney-based quartet Arabesk take these disparate international sounds, spice them with their musical experience and mould them into their own unique style. Theirs is a journey of constant discovery that defies genres. The label Gypsy Jazz is only a hint at the musical language this powerhouse of innovation speaks. Having won local awards, they play extensively throughout Australia at festivals and venues large and small.”

The brilliant Australian Gypsy Jazz band Arabesk will be playing with singer Akou at Modern Times, Kyoto on August 16th. Catch them if you can!

Details:
open 17:30 / start 18:00
*18:00 – 19:50 Live and Jam Session
*20:00 – 20:50 Okuribi Bonfire – Free Time
*:21:00 – 23:00 Live and Jam Session
charge 2500yen (+1Drink)

Location: Modern Times is in the basement of the Empire Building on the east side of Kiyamachi a short walk south of Oike. Here is a map.

Here’s a clip of them playing last year at Kyoto’s famous Blue Note venue.

Pictures from Enso Watt & Instant Eternity!

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Enso Watt performed Sanka’s 5th Season Ritual at Urbanguild on Sunday night and as always it was a fantastic show. If you are not familiar with what they do, it is a choreographed multi-media extravaganza, of experimental music, pre-recorded soundscapes, live video, art, poetry, heaps of talent, color, and a whole lot of enthusiasm. All of it conducted by classical composer/conductor Yannick Paget, and inspired by the poetry of Chris Mosdell. Sometimes when they are all playing and the lyrics are bubbling from Chris Mosdell’s mouth, I feel like they are just happily playing, that I don’t need to take it so seriously, just go along for the ride. But by the time we got to the 3rd act on Sunday night, I was thoroughly sucked in by the poet’s words, swept up by the music, and Yannick’s pounding drums… enthralled, enthused, moved and inspired.

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“We are elementary,” said the poet, “awakening from a phantasmagorical sleep… We have lived everywhere…”

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Words and music, light and sound were bringing us back to our first beginnings, and to our essential unity: “We have learnt to dissolve in all directions, to transfer identities.”

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“We are an ancient race with an essential innocence, with virginity in our veins–”

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Imagine that; a creed underlying culture that celebrated our essential innocence, rather than the dead weight of original sin.

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I was intoxicated by the energy of this performance. My mind was taking the poet’s lyrics and spinning new mythologies, new litanies of healing, multiplying through “dimensions, strata, levels, layers…”  I imagined the Sanka Rites poured into the common consciousness, overwhelming  terror and trauma, washing away tired philosophies of division and denial! How splendid to be “charged with renegade magic”, to celebrate and build rather than fight and destroy!

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Thoughts like these went through my mind at Sanka’s 5th Ritual.

Many thanks to all the participants in Sunday night’s show. There really is nothing else like the raw mix of talent and adventurous spirit that makes up the Enso Watt collective.

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But will they play again, I wonder? After Eternity, what next?

ensō watt are
{soundscape, spatialization}
Samuel André (aka ieva)

{composer, conductor, percussionist}
Yannick Paget

{poetry}
Chris Mosdell

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami

{accordeon synth}
ryotaro

{contrabass}
岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka

{guest : trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

{drawing}
Hirisha Metha

{translation}
吉村哲幸
noriyuki yoshimura

See also: Images from Sanka’s Winter Ritual

Ensō Watt Return to UrbanGuild for Sanka’s Fifth Ritual!

Oh boy! They are back! This is going to be great!

enso

From Marguerite Paget:

Dear Friends
Ensō Watt is coming back for the Sanka’s Fifth season Ritual !
After completing the “seasonal cycle” (the rites of summer, autumn, winter and spring), honoring the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary Rite of Spring, the musical/visual ensemble Ensō Watt will add a fifth season: INSTANT ETERNITY – a journey through the Great Void on “reincarnation runs,” in their mind-feathers and abyss oil, in search of the Lost City of Abstract Hours.
Come along for the ride!

Ensō Watt is an artist collective 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.
http://www.ensowatt.org

2016 January 24th (Sunday)
Venue: UrBANGUILD Kyoto

http://www.urbanguild.net/
map : https://goo.gl/maps/wHTfPYvzDEN2

On the door: 2800 yen / In advance: 2100 yen
Students: 1600 yen
+1 drink

ensō watt is
{soundscape, spatialization}
Samuel André (aka ieva)

{composer, conductor, percussionist}
Yannick Paget

{poetry}
Chris Mosdell

{piano }
江南泰佐 Taisuke Enami

{accordeon synth}
ryotaro

{contrabass}
岡田康孝 Okada Yasutaka  

{guest : trumpet}
Christopher Fryman

{live video mapping}
Andy Couzens & Masato Tokumaru

{drawing}
Hirisha Metha

{translation}
吉村哲幸
noriyuki yoshimura

See also: Sanka’s Winter Ritual

Exotico De Lago – Live @ Kinse Ryokan, Kyoto; 11th December 2015

Some event news from our old friend Shinpei Noda of Paraíso Records…

exotica

2015.12.11(Friday) Paraíso Records Presents Exotico De Lago LIVE!!! @ Kinse Ryokan, Kyoto
Open: 19:00 / Start: 20:00
Advance tickets: 2500 yen (+ one drink order)

Live: Exotico De Lago
DJs: Paraíso Records / Cherii (Calibnoutagoe)

Exotica De Lago are a “Oriental & Exotica Lounge Sextet” from Tokyo who play unconventional, moody music with a vintage feel. Check out their music in the video below or at this link: EXOTICO DE LAGO “Live at FOGGY”.

Paraíso Records by Shinpei Noda is a movable feast of music chosen without regard for country, age, or genre but simply for its ability to evoke a feeling of Paraíso – or paradise! The Paraiso Records stall has appeared at various locations around town including the Kyoto Record Fair.

Cherii will be playing vintage Jamaican reggae, and ska records for a truly exotic celebration.

Kinse Ryokan is a 250 year old traditional Kyoto building with a wonderful atmosphere. The location is east of Senbon Doori and a little south of Hanayacho Doori. Here is a Google map and there are more details on the Kinse Ryokan access page. Check the Kinse Ryokan events page on Facebook for more events at this venue: https://www.facebook.com/kinseryokan/events

For advance tickets and other queries please contact Kinse Ryokan
Tel: 075-351-4781
Contact mail form: http://bit.ly/rue2BU

exotica flyer

Deep Kyoto on CNN Travel

In case you missed it, my recommendations for what to see, do, buy, & eat when in “Japan’s most photogenic city” are now up on the CNN Travel site.

Inside Guide Best of Kyoto

Everyone should visit Kyoto at least once.

It’s Japan’s best preserved ancient city.

Shrines, temples, palaces, gardens … the city is home to thousands of architectural wonders, including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Geisha and locals wearing traditional kimonos aren’t unusual sights.

But Kyoto is a modern city with a dynamic music and arts scene, lively markets and restaurants serving the best Japanese cuisine.

There’s too much to see on a single visit — so we have whittled down the best of Kyoto.

Click to read the rest of: Inside Guide: Best of Kyoto

I had to put this piece together in a bit of a hurry last July, so it was a HUGE help that Jeffrey Friedl, Travis Seifman, and Mario Cacciottolo let me use some of their photos. By way of thanks, I encourage you all to visit their websites:

Jeffrey Friedl’s blog: http://regex.info/blog/
Mario Cacciottolo’s photography: http://travellinglensman.com/
Travis Seifman’s “musings on the arts of Japan and beyond”: https://chaari.wordpress.com/

Thanks also are due to Chris Rowthorn who put CNN in touch with me in the first place.

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

From Marguerite Paget

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

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

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«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 ».

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« 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…).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 : http://www.nuitblanche.jp/en/

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 / mgtpaget@gmail.com / 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.
unate
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.

nazuna

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

siete

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

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: public@kcua.ac.jp
Enquiries can also be made to the course convenor, Alison Tokita: tokita@kcua.ac.jp
Here is the link for further details and a contact form: http://jupiter.kcua.ac.jp/jtm/events/c_course/2015/hogakuatgeidai.html

The Third Kyoto Record Fair @ Zest Oike on May 16th & 17th 2015

This weekend all the best record and CD shops in Kyoto, plus a few guest record shops will be taking part in a big old record fair at Zest Oike. Apparently there will also be some live music performances and “talk shows” during the event. Check below for details.

kyotorecordmatsuri

Dates: May 16th (Saturday) and 17th (Sunday).
Time: 11:00 – 20:00
Location: Zest Oike is an underground shopping mall which lies beneath Oike Street between Kawaramachi and Teramachi. The record fair will be held in the Kawaramachi Plaza. Here is a MAP of the location.
Website (Japanese): http://kyotorecordmatsuri.blogspot.jp

Entry is of course completely FREE. Here is a list of participating record stores.

record stores

nariiki – 「CORE」 Album Release Show at Urbanguild, Kyoto; May 29th

Jazz pianist Kevin McHugh‘s “experimental” improv/jazz/punk/chamber group, nariiki, are passing through Kyoto this month on their album release tour.

nariki

Judging from this video performance I’d say they are worth a look.

Date: May 29th (Friday)
Location: Urbanguild, Kiyamachi, Kyoto.
Doors Open: 19:00
Show Starts: 19:30
Advance Tickets: 2500 yen with 1drink
On the door: 2800 yen with 1 drink

Also playing:
Shanti-Cology +
Sébastien Grandgambe & Sophie Maurin

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.

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Check out nariiki’s Facebook event page for their other shows in Kansai.

See also:
http://www.urbanguild.net/
http://therealmchugh.com/
http://nariiki.com
https://nariiki.bandcamp.com/