Karin Quartet Music Concert Japanese contemporary music on traditional instruments

Karin Quartet Music Concert Japanese contemporary music with traditional instruments
Illustration:© KARIN photos:© Shinya Watabe

Four talented musicians, each in the limelight of their profession, will travel to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, bringing with them the newest trends in traditional Japanese music.

Karin will lead the group with her distinctive songs of message, accompanied by the brilliant sounds of her 25-stringed koto, an instrument based on the standard koto in conjunction with the growing popularity of modern music. Karin has traveled the world, constantly making new connections. Akihito Obama will join her on the shakuhachi, displaying a combination of eloquent traditional techniques as well as fluency in Western styles. Also traveling are Mami Ishizuka on the piano, covering a wide range of musical elements from jazz to world music, and percussionist Aki-ra Sunrise to excite listeners with a horizon of rhythms on his self-made and other instruments from around the world.

Audiences will be treated to a harmony of Japanese music where “old meets new” that only these four can create.

Touring Schedule

Monday, November 29, 2010 Cambodia Workshop Cambodia-Japan CooperationCenter Including performance of two familiar music pieces in Cambodia
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Cambodia Concert
Friday, December 3, 2010 Laos Concert Japan-LaoBudoCenter Including session with a group of Lao traditional music “Lam”
Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Vietnam Concert1 Youth Theatre(Nha Hat Tuoi Tre) Including session with Vanessa Vo(16-strings Vietnamese harp) and Thu Huyền (singing traditional opera“Cheo”)
Thursday, December 9, 2010 Vietnamu Concert2
Saturday, December 11, 2010 Myanmar Concert The Strand, Yangon Including session with U Hlaing Win Maung (Myanmar harp)
Sunday, December 12, 2010 Maynamar Workshop Guitameit  

Artist Profiles

KARIN(vo, 25-strings koto, compose. paint)

Official Website

Photo of KARIN(vo, 25-strings koto, compose. paint)Born in Ibaraki prefecture, Japan.Started playing the 25 string koto at the age of 12. Became a professional performer at 14.Studied Japanese traditional koto, the 13 string Ikuta Style Koto at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of the Arts).After graduation, she starts performing story telling with 25 string koto, and seeks new expression working with various artists from different fields.Studied 25string koto under Nosaka Keiko, traditional singing with shamisen under Fukami Satomi.She developed her own singing and dancing “KARIN” style, a unique way of taking the rhythm using the percussion and with her feet, which astonishes all the audiences.She starts her performances with the traditional Japanese songs, leading the listeners onto Celtic music and classic medivial European music.With the 25 string koto, which has a completely different tone from the Japanese traditional koto, but carrying both Japanes and European scale, she creates sounds which vary from a sound that is as bright as the sun which makes you want to dance, to a quiet calm note like a mellow moon.

Besides a koto performer, she is also an actress, a musical director, and in her free time she likes to paint her impressions she received from her tours. She performed in Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa, and more.

Her roots are in the ancient songs of Japan, the songs of the wind and the rain, and planting rice in the mud. Using the instrument born in Japan, Karin, a Japanese sings in her own words.

Akihito Obama(shakuhachi)

Official Website

Photo of Akihito Obama(shakuhachi) Born in KagawaPrefecture in 1975, Obama studied various styles of shakuhachi under leading musicians such as Toshimitsu Ishikawa (traditional shakuhachi) and Satoshi Yoneya (minyo [folk music] shakuhachi). After graduating from the NHK Hogaku Gino-sha Ikusei-kai, the premier one year course for hogaku musicians aspiring to be professional performers, Obama won the Second Annual Shakuhachi Newcomer Competition (2000).

In recent years, Obama draws on his musical experiences and incorporates these influences into his own music. In 2004, Obama recorded his first solo shakuhachi album Fukoku [Wind Carvings] featuring improvised works. During the following year, he undertook a walking pilgrimage concert tour to the eighty-eight temples of Shikoku Island and revealed his second album Nami to Tsubaki to [Waves and Camellias and] consisting of his original compositions. Last year, Obama was invited to the Swedish International Festival of Wind Music holding solo concerts and appearing with local musicians. This was followed by a month long tour of Europe. Obama released visions. this year collaborating with electronic music artist hajimeinoue.

Obama is also involved with various ensembles including a Japanese world music ensemble Tohoibun [A Strange Story from the Far East] and the minyo based Takio Band. He has a hectic national concert schedule in addition to international tours throughout various countries in North America, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia.

Obama has developed and refined his technique by performing in venues from small clubs to large concert halls with artists playing hogaku instruments and Western instruments. This has allowed him to penetrate traditional barriers and discover his own distinct sound.

Mami Ishizuka(pf)

Official Website

Photo of Mami Ishizuka(pf)
© Kyoko Harada

Born in Tokyo, Mami Ishizuka began playing the piano at the age of three. As a small child, she loved to make things up on the piano. In primary school, started making public performances while singing along. She taught at a middle school in Tokyo for a few years after earning her degree in piano from the Kunitachi College of Music, before starting her professional career as a pianist, vocalist and composer/arranger.

She delights audiences with varied melodious piano styles enhanced by her crystal clear voice while she tours Japan and the world solo or with other accomplished musicians in her quest to “share music to warm hearts”. She also works in the studio on commercials and television music, and has an impressive track record of arrangements and productions. Her collection of CD recordings includes the album “Omoide no Sora” (Sky of Memories), which tells the story of her life.

Aki-ra Sunrise(per)

Official Website

Photo of Aki-ra Sunrise(per)
© Hitoshi Furuya

This improvisational drummer began playing drums in high school. On a trip after graduation to Spain, he encountered the African djembe drum, which prompted him to create his own improvisation performance style using instruments from around the world. He also makes his own instruments that involve the use of water, and offers experiential workshops through which participants can "feel water, play with water, and feel their own bodies." Recently he was invited to Cameroon, France, where he made instruments and mounted performances. In November 2009, he also joined the tour to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Adzelbaijan, Gulsia suponsored by the Japan Foundation and has created a liveliness and a fresh sonic space. His published CDs include Globe of Light~Movement; Joyful Water, Hang 2006/5/25; and Globe of Light: Quiessence. Excerpts from Globe of Light can be heard on his blog, http://www.myspace.com/kirakirasunrise.

[Contact Us]

Performing Arts Section, Arts and Culture Department, The Japan Foundation
Tel: 03-5369-6063 Fax: 03-5369-6038

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