PRESENTED BY

 

 

 
Great East Japan Earthquake Commemoration Free Concert
OVERCOMING THE DISASTER:
GRATITUDE FROM JAPAN TO THE WORLD

March 6, 2012 at 7:30 PM
Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center on Broadway at 60th Street.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

This wide-ranging collective of musical groups and individual artists displays a unique combination of music and rhythms. Under the theme 'harmony with nature,' which is the most important element of Japanese culture, the artists play various traditional Japanese instruments such as taiko drums, shamisen, bamboo instruments and contemporary Western instruments. To-date, their performances and educational workshops commemorating the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 have been presented in Korea, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Germany and more.

 


 

 

Ondekoza

Ondekoza

Formed in 1969 under the direction of Den Tagayasu, Ondekoza is widely recognized as one of groups to have set the groundwork for taiko as a performance art. The group was originally created on the Japanese island of Sado, where a group of young men and women gathered to follow the ideals of Den Tagayasu, notably that “running is one with music, and both reflect the energy and drama of life.” Using their retreat center at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka prefecture, they begin their training by running 10 kilometers every morning at 6:00 AM.

In 1975, Ondekoza made its dramatic international debut in Boston, where upon completing the Boston Marathon, members immediately ran onto stage to perform on their 350kg 'Odaiko' drum. The group marked its 40th Anniversary in 2008 with the beginning of the "Kikon-Ichida" Live Tour which started with a show at National Theater of Japan and continued to the U.S., China, Taiwan, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

Ondekoza also joins forces with internationally acclaimed musicians to form a unique ever-evolving musical experience in which they create instruments and lead performance workshops with local children and residents, culminating in an all-participant concert. The group has performed in collaboration with people all over the Japan and the world, working with each region’s people, landscapes, culture and history through musical exchange.

 


 

Wakumizu Kagura

Wakumizu Kagura

Kagura is an ancient traditional Japanese art form composed of music and dance, performed to honor deities. Wakumizu Kagura was founded in 1932 by a regional farming community in Iwate prefecture in the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan. Its style incorporates Hayachine Kagura, which is inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and involves a masked dancer accompanied by taiko drum, gong and flute. To this day, residents gather in shrines to watch and perform these musical dances to pray for safety, an abundant harvest or good health on New Years or following the harvest.

In the Tohoku region, a harsh environment where people have survived famines and natural disasters throughout history, folk performances are said to function as a requiem of the souls who have passed. Many artifacts of folk traditions in the region were devastated by last year's earthquake and tsunami. Nevertheless, residents have already resumed presenting a few performances with the intention of soothing the souls of those who were lost in the disasters. These performances lie at the heart of people's identities and are a connection to home for those who had to evacuate to places far from their home towns.

 

 

 


 

Kazutoki Umezu

Kazutoki Umezu

Born in Miyagi prefecture, Kazutoki Umezu was active in the loft jazz scene in New York in the early 1970s before returning to Japan and joining the free jazz ensemble Seikatsu Kojoiinkai Daikangen Gakudan. Since then, he has performed with countless musicians both within and outside Japan, cultivating a unique sound and stage presence. Beyond performance jazz, he also works steadily in film, radio, music, essay writing and commercial voiceovers. He has a strong personality onstage coupled with a vibrant sound and sense of humor and soul resembling  the blues or Japanese ENKA.  For this project, Umezu will perform with his new brass quartet, Umezu Chibi Brass, comprised of Kazutoki Umezu (alto sax), Yoko Tada (tenor sax), Tomoyuki Mihara (trombone) and Naoki Hishinuma (tuba).


 

 

 


 

Ochi Brothers


Ochi Brothers

Ochi Brothers are the percussion duo of Yoshiaki and Yoshihisa Ochi, who combine traditional folk instruments from Asia and Africa. They frequently work with natural percussive sounds using water, wood, bamboo, and stone as musical instruments. They performed at New York’s LaMaMa Experimental Theater in 1993 and 1997 to great acclaim. The group’s varied activities include composing music for TV, radio, stage, dance, and fashion shows to environmental soundscapes, musical production, and leading sound and rhythm workshops for both children and adults.

 

 


 

Sizzle Ohtaka

Sizzle Otaka

Rainbow-voiced Sizzle Ohtaka uses her extraordinary, flexible, and unique voice as an instrument to create music which cannot be simply classified as traditional, new age, world music or experimental. She calls her original vocal style "Rainbow Voice" and has sung and performed in hundreds of radio and TV commercials.  In 2003, she created Futon Logic, an eclectic performance troupe, and performed at I.C.A. (Institute of Contemporary Arts) in London. Her recent works include the TV program "Nihongo de Asobo," for which she produced the music and sang traditional children’s songs. She has released 21 albums, including collections of her best songs.  In 1999, Hamza El Din collaborated with her for his album" A Wish," which was released in USA.  Other popular solo albums include "Furusato" and "Sugarland."  She has participated in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the Kazakhstan Jazz Festival, and the Song Festival in Estonia and has been in this project since it began. She has collaborated with Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks on numerous projects around the world.

 

 


 

 

Suguru Ikeda

Suguru Ikeda

Suguru Ikeda is one of the most celebrated performers of Okinawan music in his generation, specializing in vocals and the sanshin lute. Born in 1979 in the tiny village of Funauki (population 42) on the Okinawan island of Iriomote, he was an avid baseball player while growing up and pitched for the Okinawa Suisan High School team. When he was 19, he participated in the island summer art festival, which began his professional career in music. Ikeda's CD debut came in 2000 with the release of Shima no Hito Yo (Oh, Islanders), which drew attention as the background music for television weather reports. His national debut came in 2005 with the release of another CD, Kokoro Iro (Color of the Heart). To date, Ikeda has issued seven CDs, including a collection of Yaeyama folk songs. Many of his songs have been used in television commercials and are widely loved in his native Okinawa, where he is currently based. He is active as a performer throughout Japan and has branched out into other fields as a radio personality, lecturer, author and actor, playing the lead role in Endo no Hana (Flowers by the Wayside). As a popular singer, Ikeda has become an essential performer at music festivals, Okinawan music concerts and other events held both inside and outside of Okinawa.

 


 

Yumiko Tanaka

Yumiko Tanaka

Yumiko Tanaka is a Japanese shamisen player and a singer. She studied and has been performing the traditional Gidayu music. Besides traditional music, she explores and collaborates in contemporary music, jazz, dance and theater. She worked with Yuji Takahashi, Otomo Yoshihide, Min-Xio Fen, Ned Rothenberg, Kiyohiko Semba, Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Elliott Sharp, David Moss, Carl Stone, Butch Morris, Heiner Goebbels, Basil Twist and among many others. Tanaka has a Master's degree in musicology from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music. In 1991 she was awarded the Minister of Education's Art Encouragement Prize for Newcomers for the year 1990. In 1999 she received the Committee's Special Prize at the 68th Japan Music Competition. She is an associate professor at Hyogo University of Teacher Education. In 2006, she was awarded a fellowship by Asian Cultural Council (ACC) and stayed in NY for five months to research developments in contemporary performing arts in the US. In 2009 she was designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage as a member of the Gidayubushi Preservation Society.

 


 

Kimihiro Kitamura

 

Bamboo Orchestra (Kimihiro Kitamura, instrument construction and performance)

Formed in 1993 as Japan’s first ever bamboo instrument ensemble, this orchestra is composed of Japan’s traditional bamboo instruments shakuhachi, shinobue and sho, among other Asian instruments. Kitamura, who performs and creates many of the instruments, graduated from the Gagaku Faculty of the Music School at Tokyo University of the Arts. Since graduating from the Graduate School of Musical Studies at the same university, he has been active with the Bamboo Orchestra since its founding.

 

 


 

Yoichi Nozaki

Yoichi Nozaki
Yoichi Nozaki (Piano) was born in Tokyo in 1970. He began learning the piano since when he was a child, and made his professional debut at the age of 19 as a supporting member of Ryoji Kurihara’s band. Since then, he has performed many live concerts with a variety of artists including Takako Okamura, Hiroko Moriguchi, Kenji Sawada, Seiko Matsuda and Sojiro and Hiromitsu Agatsuma (shamisen).


 

 


This concert is free but tickets are required.
General admission only.
Please do not wait to reserve. Because of limited seating, we may not be able to accommodate all walk-ups.
Frederick P. Rose Hall is fully accessible for patrons with mobility impairments.

Running time: 2 hours.