Hogaku Concert in Southeast Asia: Trinity

Photo of Hogaku Concert in Southeast Asia: Trinity

The Japan Foundation presents a concert tour by the trio group Trinity, featuring tsugaru shamisen performer Chikudo Takahashi, percussionist Kei Wada and koto performer Miki Maruta, with a special guest vocalist Taiko Matsumoto. The concerts will take place in two cities, Manila, Philippines and Hanoi, Vietnam.

From traditional Japanese hogaku, Asian/European folk music to The Beatles’ classics, the Trinity presents broad range of music through their unique arrangements. On this tour, a joint performance with the local artists will take place in Manila, and a performance of Vietnamese music will be added to the program in Hanoi. The audiences will have an opportunity to enjoy the cross-genre music and the excitement of improvisational music.

Performance Dates and Venues: November 16 to November 20, 2011


Date: November 16, 2011
Venue: Carlos P. Romulo Theater

Date: November 17, 2011
Venue: William Shaw Theater, De La Salle University


Dates: November 19 & 20, 2011
Venue: Hong Ha theatre



Photo of Trinity

Tsugaru shamisen performer Chikudo Takahashi, percussionist Kei Wada and koto performer Miki Maruta formed Trinity in 2006. In May 2009, the trio released their first album “Trinity.”
A number of inspiring joint improvisation and collaboration performances with Kei Wada and Miki Maruta led Chikudo Takahashi -- the last apprentice of renowned master Chikuzan Takahashi, who established and spread the solo playing style of Tsugaru shamisen -- into forming the trio “Trinity.”
Experienced percussionist Wada enjoys collaboration work with artists from various musical genres, while also engaging in the direction and production of play accompaniments. Well-established Koto player Maruta handles a broad range of different music, from classical to contemporary, while Takahashi collaborates with a wide range of musicians, and boasts a reputation as a talented Tsugaru shamisen, Okinawa sanshin and kokyu (Chinese fiddle) performer.

From Tsugaru folk songs, Asian and European music to The Beatles’ classics, come experience the new and uniquely arranged musical performance.

Photo of Chikudo Takahashi 【 Chikudo Takahashi 】 Tsugaru / Oriental fiddle
Chikudo Takahashi was born in Tsukigata-town, Niigata Prefecture in 1970 and took up the Tsugaru shamisen at age nine under the influence of his father. He developed his abilities early on and when he was 19 began studying under the Tsugaru shamisen master Chikuzan Takahashi, becoming his last apprentice. His musical horizons were not limited to the shamisen; when he was 20 he studied the kokyu under Seiji Hasegawa, and the Okinawa sanshin under Katsutake Teruya. Chikudo Takahashi's solo career began when he was 24. Along with inheriting a rich musicality from Chikuzan, he has established a strong reputation for the deep lyricism of his performances, which also incorporate the kokyu and sanshin. Takahashi has created an original style with his lively songs and polished stage performance. At the National Tsugaru Shamisen Competition in Hirosaki, he won the special prize in the A Division in 1996, was runner-up in 1997, placed in the A Division in 1998, and won the special prize in the A Division in 1999. In 2000 Takahashi represented Japan at the pre festival of Cyonju International Sori Festival in Korea, and in 2002 he held a concert in Paris on the invitation of the Japanese Embassy in France. In 2004 Takahashi was sent by the Japan Foundation to hold concerts in Central Asia, specifically Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, together with Toru Yonaha, a Okinawa sanshin player. Other than solo activities, he performs together with a band consisting of piano, saxophone, drums and shakuhachi, plays sessions of Okinawan music, performs together with other art forms like popular drama and Japanese comedic narrative (rakugo). Takahashi has garnered attention for his wide variety of genre-transcending stage performances.

Official Website

Photo of Kei Wada 【 Kei Wada 】 percussion
Born in Asakusa, Tokyo, Wada began learning percussion at the age of 10, while playing as a member of a junior orchestra. Around the same time, he became an apprentice to “Edo Sato Kagura” performer Gennosuke Matsumoto, who taught him how to play fue (Japanese flute) and drums.
In 1990, Wada moved to Bali to study their traditional gamelan music. He became particularly attracted to a two-headed drum instrument called Kendang, which he later studied under A.A. Gde Bagus Mandera and Wayan Gandra. In 1994, he made a successful tour across the country with his band “BulanPejeng,” incorporating a variety of ethnic musical instruments in their performances.
In 1997, together with Balinese mask dance artist Tetsuro Koyano, Wada created the Balinese mask dance group “Potalaka,” and has since composed and directed original productions for them.
The following year he formed RabiSari with vocalist Taiko Matsumoto and oud (Middle Eastern string instrument) performer Yuji Tsunemi. They released their first album “RabiSari” in the summer of 2000, which was followed by “RabiSariII” in fall, 2002. In 2003, Wada united with Matsumoto, soprano saxophone performer Hiroyuki Shiotani and marimba player Reiko Komatsu to form “SohLa.” The group released its first album “SohLa I” in spring, 2005.
As a percussionist, Wada works together with various artists of different musical genres, while at the same time engaging in activities for the Nanyo Kagura Project, writing scripts and handling stage management with Koyano. http://www.beravo.com/

Official Website

Photo of Miki Maruta 【 Miki Maruta 】 Koto / Vocal
Miki Maruta studied the koto under Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai and Takako Kikuuta, and graduated from the Takasaki College of Music with top of honors, after earning a scholarship there to study koto music. For two years beginning in 1990, she taught koto music and the jiuta sangen genre as a artist in residence at WesleyanUniversity in the United States. In 1994 she was selected for an internship in the performing arts at the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the same year played at the 12th Interlink Festival. In 1996 Maruta performed at the Tampere Music Festival and in 1998 participated in Butch Morris’“U.S. Conduction Tour.” Also in 1998 she was invited to perform at a concert put on by the Korean Contemporary Music Society. Maruta appeared in a festival sponsored by Kanagawa Prefecture in 1999, the sixth “Hibiki no Renaissance,” and played a concert together with Terry Riley. She appeared in concert in Tunisia in 2001 at the behest of the Japan Foundation. That same year she released a solo CD on King Records entitled “Tori no Youni” ( Like a Bird). After performing a solo recital in 1995, she began giving regular live shows primarily in the Tokyo area that feature a wide range of materials, from classic pieces to first performances of classic songs, recordings, and improvisation. While doing so she has utilized her flexible sensibility and adaptability to collaborate with artists across an array of genres. Maruta’s performances at music festivals both in Japan and abroad have also been warmly received.

Official Website

【 Taiko Matsumoto 】 Vocal

Photo of Taiko Matsumoto Born in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, Matsumoto went to church as a child and grew up with carols. She also started taking piano lessons at an early age. By her mid-teens, she began performing live as a singer-songwriter, enjoying praise for her performances at music venues.
After graduating from university, Matsumoto’s encounter with jazz music moved her to become an apprentice to jazz singer Kimiko Ito. With high commendation from Ito, she debuted as a jazz singer and made performances at music venues across Tokyo. At around the same time, she joined bassist Isao Suzuki’s music group.
In 1986, Matsumoto won the special award at the UCC rookie jazz vocal competition. From the 1990s and onwards, she was exposed to a variety of ethnic music, which enabled her to explore new genres of music. Be it Japanese folk songs, traditional children’s songs, Arabic folk music, or original songs written by her, Matsumoto sings to express her homeland that she was born and raised in.
In 1998 she formed the band “RabiSari,” releasing albums in 2000 and 2002, “RabiSari” and “RabiSariII,” respectively. In 2003, Matsumoto, Kei Wada, soprano saxophone performer Hiroyuki Shiotani and marimba player Reiko Komatsu formed “SohLa.” The group released its first album “SohLa I” in spring, 2005.
She won high praise for her vocal performances in Europe during 2002 and 2004.

Official Website

  • Johnoh Hirokazu: Production and Stage manager
  • Jun Sato: Sound engineer

[Contact Us]

(Mr.) Akihiko Noda
Performing Arts Section, Arts and Cultural Department
The Japan Foundation
Tel. 03-5369-6063 Fax. 03-5369-6038

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