Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Hogaku: New Sounds of Japan 2010" on UGA campus in January

The University of Georgia Center for Asian Studies, the Japan Foundation and the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta will present “Hogaku: New Sounds of Japan 2010,” at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, at Ramsey Recital Hall inside the Performing Arts Centerat the University of Georgia in Athens.

The event is free and open to the public.

“Hogaku: New Sounds of Japan 2010” is a trio of performances featuring traditional Japanese music. Each showcase performance will feature a different instrument, performed by Japan’s top young talent in Japanese traditional performing arts.

A pre-concert lecture by Hogaku Journal editor Takafumi Tanaka will be held immediately before the performance in Ramsey Recital Hall, starting at 7 p.m.

The duo Tsugukaji will perform on the koto, a Japanese zither. Formed eight years ago, Tsugukajiis renowned for its special awareness of the koto’s sound. They are known for their blend of vocals with koto music and their collaboration with various composers to produce contemporary works.

Kotoist Ai Kajiganolearned to play the koto as a young child from her mother. She has performed in China, Australia, France, Italy, Germany and South Korea and released her first album in 2001. Tsugumi Yamamotohas performed throughout Japan and was a bronze award recipient at the Kenjun Memorial Concert. Together they perform as Tsugukaji.

The duo Oyama x Nitta will perform on the tsugaru-shamisen, a fretless lute from northern Japan. With both classic and original repertories, they are leading figures in the tsugaru-shamisen scene. Yutaka Oyama began studying the tsugaru-shamisen under his grandfather, Mitsunou Oyama. In 2001 and 2002, he won the Outstanding Player Award at the tsugaru-shamisen competition sponsored by the Japan Folk Association. He has performed widely on Japanese television and has performed in Russia, Morocco, Ghana, France, Madagascar, Uganda, Qatar, Greece, Singapore, Ukraine and Lithuania at performances hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Foundation.

Masahiro Nitta was inspired by his father at the age of 14 to begin playing the tsugaru-shamisen.In 1998, after only playing for seven months, he won the junior high school national championship. In both 2000 and 2001, he was awarded the championship title at a national tournament. In 2004, he starred in the motion picture Overdrive and is currently performing with his father as the team Nitta Oyako as well as in the fusion band Esoragoto.

Drum soloists Hide & Mihowill reunite for this performance. Playing a variety of percussion instruments, the duo explores the possibilities of folkloric performing arts.

Hideyoshi Saito first started studying traditional Japanese instruments in high school, eventually studying the taiko drum, vocals and dance on Sado Island with the renowned drumming group Kodo. In 2004, after 17 years with Kodo, he went solo, releasing his first album in 2005. He is the only soloist in Japan on the chappa (small cymbals).

Miho has been playing the taiko drum since 1990 and has performed throughout Japan, South Korea and France with the taiko ensemble Kodaijin. Since going solo in 1999, she has toured the Middle East with Leonard Eto’s taiko ensemble Leopro and performed on Eto’s 2002 album Duets, 2005 album Blends and 2006 album Ocean. Since 2006, Miho has been touring with the guitar, bass, and drum band WHB by the Powersupreme and has toured Africa, Australia and Japan with the band eno, which features traditional Japanese instruments. She also performs frequently as a soloist.

For further information, contact the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta at 404/926-3022 or info@cgjapanatlanta.org.

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