Sunday, July 6, 2008

Koto Concert

Having recently become a student of the ancient Japanese musical instrument called "Koto", I was invited by sensei Hiroko Kodama san to perform in the Yokohama 150th anniversary of the opening of the Port.

Joining six of Hiroko-sans other students in Yokohama's Skip Plaza, we played "Red Shoes", a traditional song of Yokohama. Following our song, we were excused, and the concert transformed into a masterful performance of both traditional and cutting edge music played by true artists: Sensei Kodama-san (Koto), Yutaka Handa-san (flute and soprano sax player), and a drummer playing a special Japanese drum (it makes a popping sound).

When Yutaka began playing a free jazz improvisation accompanied only by the koto, I knew another special moment, never to again occur, was then being created. When he took off the sax mouthpiece and began playing only the mouthpiece, the music went way outside anything I had ever experienced. As his improvisation began to close, it masterfully transitioned back into a traditional Japanese piece.

Most of these special moments will never be captured in a blog, and they certainly aren't captured here since I was more interested in the experience than in trying to record it. Again, my special Japanese friends were the real reason this event became beyond remarkable.

Please see the photos and video below for the few moments I did capture.

Sensai Kodama-san Preparing Koto

Paul Playing Koto (Rehearsing)

Star Quick-Study Koto Player


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