Tag Archives: Yoshida Koichi

Yugao ~ Pre-European Tour Live Concert @ Zac Baran this Sunday!

This Sunday, September 18th, our friend Koichi Yoshida and his band Yugao will play a final show at the legendary live music venue Zac Baran before embarking on their European tour. Kyoto’s most popular fusion band, Yugao’s performances feature music for shakuhachi, piano, cello, and tabla across a range of classical, traditional and modern jazz genres. Every show is eclectic, unique, and unforgettable!

Date: 2011 9.18 (Sunday)
Afternoon performance from 15:00
Evening performance from 19:30

Advance tickets: 2000 yen
On the door: 2300 yen
Foreign Student Discount: 1700

Location: Zac Baran is a legendary cafe/bar/music spot on the north side of Marutamachi a short walk east of Higashioji Dori. Here is a map.

To learn more about Yugao and their music please visit their website. You can also view several videos of their performances there.

Links to the performers’ websites:
Yoshida Koichi
Ikeda Ippei
Fujisawa Bayan


Yugao & Masayoshi Okubo at Zac Baran

On the 17th of July I saw Yugao play a very fine concert with biwa and bass guitar player Masayoshi Okubo.  Yugao of course already play an entrancing combination of classical, jazz, and traditional music on shakuhachi, piano, tabla and cello. With another player on board we were in for a very magical evening indeed! Here are some videos and images from a very memorable evening.  Details of Yugao’s next big show and of shakuhachi lessons with Koichi Yoshida are at the bottom of this post.

First a tune with the biwa.

Next onto bass guitar…

Yugao pre-Europe Tour Live at Zac Baran!
Kyoto’s most eccentric fusion quartet, Yugao, presents an evening of reflections on the songs of Kyoto.
Date: 2011 9.18(Sunday)
Afternoon performance from 15:00
Evening performance from 19:30

Advance tickets: 2000 yen
On the door: 2300 yen
Foreign Student Discount: 1700

Location: Zac Baran is a legendary cafe/bar/music spot on the north side of Marutamachi a short walk east of Higashioji Dori. Here is a map.


Shakuhachi Lessons with Koichi Yoshida!

Koichi Yoshida studied Kinko-ryu shakuhachi under renowned pedagogue Yodo Kurahashi, and is currently an active performer of traditional repertoire, as well as rock, jazz, folk music, and improvisation. Whether solo or with his band Yugao, he performs frequently in the museums and tea-houses of Kyoto and teaches at 孤吹庵 (Kosui-an), his own shakuhachi dojo.

Tuition fees per month:
4000 yen for two 1 hour lessons
5000 yen for three 1 hour lessons
Tel: 090-8531-5515
email: koichi21net@yahoo.co.jp
Website: http://www.myspace.com/koichiyoshida

From the top left clockwise: Yoshida Koichi (shakuhachi), Ikeda Ippei (piano), William Prunkl (cello) and Fujisawa Bayan (tabla).

To learn more about Yugao and their music please visit their website. You can also view several videos of their performances there.

Links to the performers’ websites:
Yoshida Koichi
Ikeda Ippei
Fujisawa Bayan

Kyoto Sounding Out ~ 京の音、世界の音

Our friend shakuhachi player, Koichi Yoshida, and his band Yugao have a show coming up on May 3rd with shamisen player Mika Shigemori and singer songwriter Fumiko Kojima. This is promises to be the real sound of Deep Kyoto!

Koichi says,

What would a “Kyoto sound” involve, aesthetically speaking? Certainly it would resonate with the austere, poignant sensibilities of long tradition… But it would also embrace the world with sensuous reserve.
This May 3rd, the Hitomachi Koryukan will host a concert exploring the profound tradition, and evolving possibilities, of the Kyoto sound. Representing the lineage of Kyoto’s musical artistry is shamisen player Mika Shigemori. She is joined by Yugao, Kyoto’s most popular fusion band, featuring music for shakuhachi, piano, cello, and tabla. Join us for a uniquely powerful, only-in-Kyoto musical experience.

Part of our event’s profit will go towards the Japanese Disaster Fund.

Date: May 3rd 5月3日(祝)
Location:Hitomachi Koryukan (Tel: 075-354-8711)
The Hitomachi Koryukan is on the east side of Kawaramachi and Rokujo Doori. Here is a map.
Doors open: 17:30
Starts: 18:00
Tickets in advance: 2000円 On the door: 2300円 Foreign students: 1700円 
Disabled: Free Children: 1000円

Yugao in Concert – Two Upcoming Shows

UPDATE: I’m not sure how I managed to mess this up, but if you read this month’s Kyoto Visitor’s Guide you will find that though the order of events and the days are correct, the dates are reversed. Please note the corrected dates below!! And my apologies to all concerned for the confusion!

If you missed Yoshida Koichi’s performance at the “Voices for Umekoji” event last Friday, here’s your chance. Koichi will be playing with his wonderful band Yugao in two shows on the 5th and 6th of February.

Yugao (夕顔 or moonflower) are shakuhachi player Yoshida Koichi, jazz pianist Ikeda Ippei, classical cellist William Prunkl and also their regular guest Fujisawa Bayan on tabla. Together they play an extraordinarily eclectic blend of traditional Japanese honkyoku, jazz, classical, world and New Age music. Having seen them play I can say that it is remarkable how well these instruments complement each other. The sound that they make together is unique and unforgettable: at times haunting and sorrowful, and at others joyful and wild! Here are the details of their shows (please note the special reduced price for foreign guests!):

@Parker House Roll
Date: Saturday February 6th 5th
Time: Doors open 6:00pm / Show starts at 7:30
Tickets: 2,000 yen in advance / 2300 on the door / 1,700 for foreign customers (for reservations call 090-8531-5515 ~ Japanese only)
Location: Parker House Roll is on the east side of Karasuma Street north of Gojo, south of Matsubara and opposite a Family Mart convenience store. Here’s a map.
Telephone: 075-352-8042

@Zac Baran
Date: Sunday February 5th 6th
Time & ticket prices as above.
Location: Zac Baran is a legendary cafe/bar/music spot on the north side of Marutamachi a short walk east of Higashioji Dori. Here’s a map.
Telephone: 075-751-97486

Pictures from “Voices for Umekoji”

One Night of Musical Protest Against the Kyoto Aquarium

Good crowd, good setting, and some great performers. And a good feeling of being among old and new friends. Very heartening to see this kind of concern being shown by Kyoto residents, especially gaijin. – Ken Rodgers

The evening began with a short shakuhachi recital from Koichi Yoshida...

I wrote briefly about the event last week but it’s time for a more thorough report. For those who didn’t attend – you really missed something splendid! With three bi-lingual presentations from the anti-aquarium campaign groups, an ad hoc question and answer session, 7 fantastic musical performances and a short movie, we certainly realized our goals of raising awareness about the Kyoto Aquarium problem whilst providing some fine entertainment. There must have been 100 people attending altogether and the atmosphere was amazing. The campaigners who participated told me later that they felt cheered by the positive response they received from all those who came. Umekoji Park Project also held a whip-round that raised 15,732円. It might not seem like much but believe me, it helps! We also launched our “Boycott Kyoto Aquarium” postcard campaign. Everybody who attended was given a postcard to send to the mayor declaring in both languages that they would boycott the aquarium. In future weeks we are going to hand out 1000 of these postcards at Kyoto’s most famous tourist locations and pretty soon they will be available for download on our website too. Those of you who have already received one – please do send it! Let the mayor know how you feel!

This postcard will soon be available as a downloadable pdf. It's a simple and powerful design I think.

The Presentations

Nishimoto Masanori presents a chronology of events...

Later, I hope to get videos of the presentations from Enokida-san of the Citizens’ Network and I shall post them on our campaign website when I do. For the time being, here’s a very brief summary. Nishimoto-san of the Institute of Biodiversity presented a slideshow detailing the events leading up to our current situation. There were some interesting nuggets of information in there: an independent survey of Kyoto opinion showed that 70% were against the aquarium for example. Of the 500 aquariums in the world 100 are in Japan. To get the tropical fish they display in aquariums they use dynamite (!) and cause irrevocable damage to marine eco-systems… You can read more about it here but the main point I took away from Nishimoto’s presentation was that his group haven’t just been saying “no!” to the aquarium, they have been making alternative suggestions for a more appropriate use of this public land and have been doing their level best to work positively with the city government – and yet they have been consistently ignored by a city administration in thrall to corporate greed.

Kawagoe Yoshio points out corporate and city hypocrisy.

The second presentation was by Kawagoe Yoshio-san of the group 京都・水と緑をまもる連絡会 (The Liaison Group to Protect Nature and Water in Kyoto). Kawagoe-san is a keen conservationist, a stalwart of the campaign and also the designer of our “Boycott” postcards. He didn’t mince any words. Orix and the city mayor have claimed noble motives for their aquarium in saying that they want to teach young people about the marine enviroment. Looking at the plans though, we can see clearly that the main attraction is to be the dolphin pool and the dolphin shows they will put on there.

To borrow a phrase from Jen L. Teeter, you can clearly see here that the dolphin is the central feature of this three storey catastrophe...

There is nothing educational about watching dolphins jumping through hoops. It is purely about making money through entertainment. In other words, Orix and the Mayor Kadokawa are being dishonest, and it’s no use saying “shikattaganai” or “it can’t be helped“. They are bare-faced lying to us and we shouldn’t stand for it any longer!

Finally, Murakawa Tomoko-san of the campaign group Umekoji Park Project gave a presentation about her group’s activities and in particular about the ongoing court case. 71 local plaintiffs have taken the city to court for misuse of public land. As a matter of fact the next hearing is tomorrow and I’ve been asked to tell you all that they would greatly appreciate a few sympathetic foreign faces. The press will be there so a few foreign faces at the hearing would show that this is an issue of wide concern.  If anyone is free, here are the details:

The hearing is tomorrow January 27th. Supporters will meet outside the courthouse at 11:15. The hearing starts at 11:30 am. The place is Kyoto Chiho Saibansho Room 203. Even if you can’t really understand the proceedings the hearing itself will only take 30 minutes and your support would be invaluable!

Murakawa Tomoko-san's presentation

Throughout the presentations were translated into English by our friend Jen L. Teeter. Frankly without Jen’s help this event couldn’t have succeeded as well as it did. I think Ken Rodgers put it best when he said “Over the years I have been to quite a number of environmental events in Kansai & beyond and I thought that this one was definitely one of the most effective sets of bilingual presentations that I have seen ― basically due to Jen’s rapid, accurate and obviously caring and confident translation. Serious topics, but Jen retained a fine sense of humor (sometimes just in her tone of voice…) that really enlivened the atmosphere.” Here’s a shout out of praise from me for Jen’s husband Taka too, who helped out with translations at several crucial moments. Together they make a great team!

The Music

Another important aim of the evening that was definitely realized was that everyone had a damn good time! Throughout the night we had some fantastic and energizing performances from a variety of musicians. The flow of the music seemed to work really well too. The evening began with a short but haunting shakuhachi recital from Yoshida Koichi, then after the initial presentations were done Yoshida Koichi came back and accompanied Udonya Mentei’s Super Band in a rousing performance of soul stirring Japanese folk.

Udonya Mentei's Super Band - I don't know what "enyakorose!" means but I was singing along anyway!

Soul-pop-jazz singer Okuda Satoko then took it down a notch with her happy tunes and purrrfect vocals before Nishino Takahito came on and blew us all away with a taiko drum performance of pure passion.

Okuda Satoko - a lot of the guys told me later they particularly liked her performance...

Andy Couzens made a flaming red video backdrop for Nishino-san’s performance that worked perfectly! His other video, which he constructed largely out of Kawagoe-san’s postcard designs also seemed at times to spookily match the music it was played too…

Nishino Takahito - on fire!

The presentations over, the mood was bubbling over at this point and then on came the eccentric rock duo Booo Booo zz to play some good ole noisey metal. They told me later they had never played at an event before where they had received such a positive reaction from the audience! I think they sold quite a few CDs too!

Booo booo zz!

raw elements and DoDo then followed with a big band sound you could jump up and down to. Watching ryotaro jumping about the stage, it was pretty clear that he was really enjoying himself too!

raw elements & DoDo

Finally Das Capital Punishment took to the stage and suddenly seats were removed and everyone was dancing. Much praise to Jet Vel and Hide for their tarantistic dance-inducing beats! An excellent end to an excellent night.

Das Capital Punishment

One last word of thanks must go to my friend Sean Roe, who dj-ed throughout the event and also helped to organize it. Without the benefit of his experience it simply wouldn’t have happened. Cheers Sean!

Incidentally, all of the pictures used in this post were taken by our multi-talented friend Sean Roe. If you want to see my pictures, see below.