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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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 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 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.
Orchestra (Kimihiro Kitamura, instrument construction and
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 (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).
concert is free but tickets
General admission only.
Please do not wait to reserve.
Because of limited seating, we may not be able to accommodate
Frederick P. Rose Hall is fully accessible for patrons with mobility impairments.
Running time: 2 hours.