Asian Fantasy Orchestra Asian Tour 1998: Introduction

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The year 1998 will see the 100th anniversary of the Philippine independence. In the same year, India will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence. Taking this opportunity, the Japan Foundation will organize a music performance tour in three Asian countries (India, Vietnam and the Philippines). Under the title the "Asian Fantasy Orchestra Asian Tour 1998", musicians from Japan and other Asian countries and from all genres will gather and make a tour during four weeks in February and March 1998. The details of the plan are explained in the present Volume.

The plan originated in the music festival "Asian Fantasy" (organized by Asian Fantasy Executive Committee) which have been held once every year since 1991 in Tokyo.
With the goals "Meeting and Exchange through Music" and "Mutual Understanding" of Asian musicians, "Asian Fantasy" has been enjoying the participation of countless distinguished musical performers and singers from Japan and other Asian countries who are playing a leading role in various categories such as traditional music, folk songs, pops, jazz, classical music etc. With a different theme each time, the music festival has been exhibiting enthusiastic performances.

In 1995, which marked the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Japan Foundation, having discovered a new potential in "Asian Fantasy" for cultural exchange, organized the Southeast Asian Tour (in Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur) of the "Asian Fantasy Orchestra". It was a multilateral music group consisting of 32 musicians. In each venue, they invited the local musicians representing the country and co-performed during the show. By means of music, they created a sensation, bringing the audience fresh emotions. The success of the tour has re-assured us of the great potential of the "Asian Fantasy Orchestra" and the expanding universe it embraces.

For 1998, more than thirty talented enthusiastic musicians, from Japan, China, India and the Philippines, will join the tour. We will have Kiyohiko Senba (Percussion), Daisaku Kume (Keyboard) and Kazutoki Umezu (Saxophone), who are leading musicians of the Japanese music scene, as well as an eminent Okinawan "Shima-uta" folk singer, Tetsuhiro Daiku. The tour will have magnificent participants from overseas: the Indian traditional musicians, Nayan Ghosh (Sitar) and Dhruba Ghosh (Sarangi), a Chinese traditional musicologist, Jia Peng-Fang who is a distinguished Erhu (Chinese fiddle) player, and a Filipino representative. singer-songwriter, Grace Nono. As it undertakes its second tour overseas to visit new countries, the "Asian Fantasy Orchestra" will show us some new aspects of results with profound effects.

We are very much concerned about how the audience will receive the "Asian Fantasy Orchestra" and its music in different countries. We hope this creative attempt across the border will contribute to the further development of Asian music and to the friendship and understanding among musicians.

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