Dynamic Japanese “Tsugaru Shamisen” Meets Ireland

Dynamic Japanese “Tsugaru Shamisen” Meets Ireland

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ireland

Featuring Masahiro Nitta on the Japanese Tsugaru Shamisen in a programme covering Japanese and Irish music from the traditional to the contemporary, in collaboration with Dean Magraw (acoustic guitar) and John Williams (concertina and button accordion), and with Jimmy Higgins (percussion) in Donegal.

The Tsugaru Shamisen is a three-string banjo-like instrument from the Tsugaru region of northern Japan, played with a plectrum and with a unique and unmistakable Japanese sound.

Dates: June 14 to 18, 2007
Members: Masahiro Nitta, Dean Magraw, John Williams and Jimmy Higgins (in Donegal)

Date: Thursday, June 14, 20:00  National Concert Hall (Dublin)
Date: Saturday, June 16, 20:00  Cork City Hall (Cork)
Date: Monday, June 18, 20:30  Tullyarvan Mill (Buncrana, Donegal)

Programme: Tsugaru Jongara Bushi (Japanese Jig), Haha no Komoriuta (Mother’s lullaby), Tripping in Eden (Jig), Kilnamona and other Japanese and Irish Music

Masahiro Nitta (Japanese Tsugaru Shamisen)

Official Web Site

Masahiro Nitta Masahiro Nitta was born in 1984. He began studying the shamisen in 1998 with the encouragement of his father, Hiroshi Nitta. He won the National Tsugaru Shamisen Kanagi Competition in Aomori Prefecture twice in a row in 2000 and 2001. In 2002 he won the 5th All-Japan Tsugaru Shamisen Contest and participated in a Japan-Korea cultural exchange festival in Korea. In 2003 Nitta participated in the ASEAN Concert in Bangkok and performed at the World Music Concert put on by NHK to commemorate the Japan Prize. In 2004 Nitta performed at the Asian Performing Arts Festival in Vietnam and "Shadow of the Silk Road" organized by the Japan China Friendship Association, appeared in the movie Overdrive and went on a tour with his father to three Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines, Thailand and Laos, which was organized by the Japan Foundation. In 2005, Nitta was invited by the University of Pennsylvania to play a concert and lecture at the college. He also held a concert at the Kennedy Center. He has performed with guitarist Dean Magraw and saxophonist Sekpol Unsamran (Koh Mr. Saxman). He presently plays with his father in Nitta Oyako. The motif of "social bonds" runs throughout their music. Nitta is also active in The Esoragoto Band, which includes Japanese taiko drums, bass and saxophone. In addition, with an instinctive musical sensibility, he plays in sessions with musicians of a variety of folk instruments.

Overseas Performances

The first half of Nitta's solo stage performances feature serious renditions of classical pieces. During the middle part of the show, he works to connect with his audience by playing local favorites. In the second half, Nitta plays original compositions and collaborates with local musicians.
In addition to the traditional repertoire of songs like Tsugaru Jonkara Bushi, concerts by The Esoragoto Band feature arrangements of Japanese folk songs and children's songs as well as original numbers written by Nitta and Shuichi Hidano. The band also plays mambo, Irish folk songs, and the song Shamibei, a shamisen and bass duet.

Page Top