Monday, February 13, 2012

Hanayui collaboration!


Two days ago, SJT put on a collaborative concert with Hanayui and Yoshikazu Fujimoto of Kodo. Before I go further, I want to explain briefly who Hanayui is (I've covered Yoshikazu in several of my past posts.)

You can look at the link here to read a bit more about the three members, Yoko, Chieko, and Mitsue. SJT has had a link to Hanayui since just before I joined if I recall, and I personally got to experience them with workshops on Sado Island when I visited Japan back in 2001.

Yoko is an incredible singer with a warm, resonating voice that has a quality I've not heard anywhere else. Mitsue and Chieko are both dancers with different specialties - Mitsue has a more "folk" style while Chieko is more about grace. They are both amazing artists that I can't do justice with so few words.

We spent the entire week with them in preparation for the show - even though Staff did the bulk of the work, I was glad to be able to spend most of Tuesday to lend a hand (or bachi) and experience how things were developing. Group practices at night were hectic and a little nerve-wracking, but with only a week to work with, we just wanted to make sure it would be a top-notch performance. A little pressure can lead to a lot of motivation!

The performance was pretty much sold-out and was a fantastic production. Each artist got to showcase their talent as a soloist as well as by performing with SJT. The only downside was that due to a lack of time, we weren't able to have any workshop time with them, but that wasn't anyone's fault. We were lucky to get them in on their way to Minneapolis for their next show!

Personally, my highlights were all Yoshikazu-related. What can I say, I'm a fanboy when it comes to him. I was able to study him soloing on the odaiko several times in practice, then was about 20 feet away from him when he performed his solo in the concert. Learning Wachi from him (for the 3rd time) was just plain fun. And at the potluck the day after, I spent a good long time talking to Yoshikazu about his thoughts on odaiko (through language difficulties, mind you). Priceless stuff!

I'm definitely inspired by Hanayui's talent and Yoshikazu's presence, so we'll see what seeds were planted. I'll be posting a bunch of photos on FB in a day or so, and if you're ever able to see a Hanayui performance sometime in the future, you owe it to yourself to see an amazing trio!

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