Tag ‘Motofumi Yamaguchi’
Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi
On July 10, my second album “Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi” was released at long last! Thank you for your patience and support, everyone.
For this album, I didn’t limit myself to playing Japanese songs since I play a Japanese bamboo flute… I decided to include a wide range of songs that I like, ranging from Russian folksongs to American sprituals, from my own originals to Uyghur folksongs.
I invited Mikio Tsuji (eleven-string alto guitar), Yumi Nogami (piano & vocals), and Yoshie Abe (tategoto [vertical koto harp] & vocals) to collaborate with me on the album. They are all such unique performers and they shared their talents without restraint. I chose my bamboo flute, either makobue or shinobue, especially to suit each song… but actually, I really had no choice but to play a shinobue for many of the pieces to suit the delicate tones of Mr. Tsuji’s guitar and Ms. Abe’s harp.
Just like on my first album, the last track is kind of like a bonus track, so to speak. I dedicated this track to the late Akira Nino, the pianist who performed on my debut album. I thought the lyrics of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” sounded like his inner monologue during his life, so I chose this piece for him. When you listen to it, when the lyrics say the word “Lord,” please think of the word “Music.”
By the way, here’s the word on the street:
“Music these days is all downloadable, cheap and convenient.”
“Not at all, it is better to buy a CD that spins and have a cover to hold and read.”
And here’s what I say:
“One or the other, or both, I don’t mind… just please listen to the music.”
Discography | Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi
Announcing the July 10 Release of Motofumi Yamaguchi’s Second Solo Album “Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi”
All seven of these peaceful, contemplative recordings were created in the naturally serene surroundings of Kodo Village on Sado Island. Centered around the bright, crisp tones of the makobue & shinobue bamboo flutes, “Tomoshibi” floats across a rich sonic landscape: from the intricate harmonics of the eleven-string alto guitar, to a passionate duet where flute and piano intertwine in the Russian folksong, “Огонёк,” also known as “A Little Light” in English & “Tomoshibi” in Japanese. Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2 Tomoshibi also includes the soulful spiritual “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” which is dedicated here to the late Akira Nino, the pianist who performed on the debut “Ikkan Fugetsu” album released in 2009.
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Discography | Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi
Available from July 10 from Kodo Online Store! http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_80.html
May 29 (Fri)–31 (Sun), 2015
Shinobue (Bamboo Flute) with Motofumi Yamaguchi
This weekend, we look forward to welcoming participants to the first in our new series of 3-day live-in workshops at Fukaura Schoolhouse: Shinobue with Motofumi Yamaguchi. If you’d like to register last minute, please call us to confirm your place without delay!
Message from Motofumi Yamaguchi
“Learning to play an instrument is similar to climbing a high mountain. Even if you work hard, taking one step at a time, it is not always easy to reach the top. But with each step you make upwards, you’ll encounter a brand new view.”
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there.
Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-In Workshops
On Feb. 19, Motofumi Yamaguchi and I visited some TV stations and a radio station in Kumamoto to promote “Uto Taiko Matsuri.” We gave a mini live performance at each station.
I led a taiko camp from Feb. 20 (Fri) to 22 (Sun), and on the final day, the participants had a recital at Uto Taiko Matsuri to show everyone what they had learned during the camp. Each year, this recital is the first act at the festival. First, we sang “Hobashira Okoshi Ondo” and then we played a new piece called “Narukami, which means “Thunder God.” The ten participants, including three local high school students, had joined me there from all over Japan. I was really pleased that they all took part. Some of them were just beginners, but I had them play simple base rhythms and we were all able to play together.
Feb. 16, 2015
Motofumi Yamaguchi’s Appearance on FM Niigata’s “FIGUEROA”
On March 27, Kodo will appear at a special event at Ryugon Hotel in Minami-uonuma, Niigata. Motofumi Yamaguchi went to mainland Niigata to appear on FM Niigata to help promote the event, which is called “Kodo x Hakkaisan x Ryugon.”
He was joined on air by Mr. Utsugi from Ryogon Hotel, Mr. Sato from Hakkaisan Brewery and shamisen player, Fumiyoshi. It will be the 6th annual event, so they all know each other well and the recording took place in a very relaxed manner.
We hope you will come along for this special event at Ryogon Hotel on March 27.
Special Event “Kodo x Hakkaisan x Ryugon”
Mar. 27 (Fri), 2015 “Kodo x Hakkaisan x Ryugon” at Ryugon Hotel, Minami Uonuma, Niigata
Appearing: Kodo (Motofumi Yamaguchi, Yuichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Kenta Nakagome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Rai Tateishi, Maya Minowa, Ryosuke Inada), Fumiyoshi (shamisen)
Inquiries: Ryugon Event Desk Tel. 025-773-2222 (9:00 – 18:00)
Motofumi Yamaguchi: An Interview by Johnny Wales
Composer, arranger, fue (bamboo flute), koto (Japanese harp), shamisen (Japanese banjo-like stringed instrument), kokyu (Japanese violin), flute, cello and piano player Motofumi Yamaguchi was born in 1954 in Ibaraki Prefecture, just up the coast from Tokyo. His family moved to the big city when he was five years old. At high school and university (The Musashino Academy of Music) he studied Western classical music, composition, piano, cello and flute.
In those days classical Japanese music was not generally held in very high regard among fellow students, and even some of the staff. It was seen as not quite as real as music from say, Germany or Italy. Motofumi began to feel this was very strange. Why shouldn’t Japanese have greater respect for their native culture? So he began seeking out performances of Noh and Kabuki, shamisen, koto and even Buddhist shomyo chanting. He was pleasantly surprised to discover that they felt very comfortable to him. He began to sense that he would be able to express himself more naturally in Japanese genres than Western. And so, at the age of 18, he began to study under shamisen (jiuta style) and koto teachers living nearby. He was surprised at how quickly he progressed and began to think that he had discovered a better, more natural direction for his career.
He was also beginning to tire of the big city and to dream of a life making music in the country. One day, while listening to his car radio, he heard vocalist and composer Ryudo Uzaki talking enthusiastically about his wonderful experience making music on Sado Island with a taiko group called Sado no Kuni Ondekoza. He talked about how amazing not only the taiko, but the koto and shamisen sounded too. Motofumi was fascinated and so went out and bought the two available Ondekoza records. They changed his life. As koto and shamisen were two of his instruments, he thought the group might have some use for him. He had heard about Ondekoza’s strict physical regimen and so decided to buy a bicycle. He would combine getting into shape with a 3-month holiday touring Japan. He quit his part-time job, drained his bank account and hit the road.
It was mid-November 1980 when he arrived unannounced at the group’s old wooden school house overlooking Mano Bay. After being reprimanded for not calling ahead, he was invited in and spent 3 days running at the crack of dawn, helping with cooking and cleaning and watching the group train. He returned to Tokyo with the understanding that he would move to Sado in January. Those were the days when there were no interviews, tests nor an apprentice system to join the group. If you showed up, demonstrated enough dedication and persistence, chances are you were in. Motofumi says with a chuckle that he (and quite a few other senior members) probably wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near the place under the current way of doing things!
This was just the time that Ondekoza was splitting off from the group’s founder Mr. Tagayasu Den, so things were in a great state of flux. Back in Tokyo, Motofumi met with Mr. Den and helped around the office for a week. Mr. Den suggested he learn the fue, and rather strangely, that he grow his beard. Motofumi followed his advice on the former matter and after arriving on Sado in the New Year he spent the next six months at the school house while the group toured, teaching himself the Japanese flute. It wasn’t long before he was touring with the group, something he carried on doing – including long stints as Musical Director – for the next 35 years.
Dec. 18 Gin-iro no Kaze (Silver Wind) Song & Bamboo Flute Concert
Here is a new piece by Motofumi Yamaguchi, which he will play during the second part of tomorrow’s Gin-iro no Kaze (Silver Wind) Song & Bamboo Flute Concert at Kunitachi Geijutsu Sho-Hall, Kunitachi, Tokyo. He will perform it with Kosuke Urushikubo.
Click below to listen to a sample of it:
And here is a sample of a beautiful piece from Yoko Fujimoto’s latest album “Yamazu Megurumo,” which will feature in the first part of the concert:
December is a busy month, but we hope you will take the time to relax with us to the sounds of soothing vocals and melodic bamboo flutes. We are all waiting for you tomorrow in Kunitachi!
Gin-iro no Kaze (Silver Wind) Song & Bamboo Flute Concert
Date: Dec. 18 (Thu), 2014
Venue: Kunitachi Geijutsu Sho-Hall, Kunitachi, Tokyo
Doors Open: 18:30 Start: 19:00
Advance: 3,800 yen
At-the-door: 4,300 yen
Seating Details: All seats reserved. Please refrain from bringing preschoolers (ages 5 & under).
Event URL: http://www.kuzaidan.com/hall/e?2533
Ticket Outlets: Kunitachi Geijutsu Sho-Hall, Hakujuji (Coffee & Cake) Kunitachi Stn. South Exit Store, Shimada Stationery Store, Marronnier Kunitachi Stn. North Exit Store.
Inquiries: Kunitachi Geijutsu Sho-Hall Tel. 042-574-1515
Here is a video message from the cast of “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014: Autumn” (in Japanese).
They are saying that they are going to do their best and they look forward to seeing you all there!
Oct. 2 (Thu)–Oct. 5 (Sun), 2014
Shukunegi Community Hall, Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island, Niigata
Appearing: Kodo (Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, Motofumi Yamaguchi, Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, Ryosuke Inada)
Special Appearance: Yoshie Abe
Oct. 2 (Thu) 15:00
Oct. 3 (Fri) 15:00
Oct. 4 (Sat) 11:00, 15:00
Oct. 5 (Sun) 11:00, 15:00
Ticket Orders: Kodo Ticket Service Tel. 0259-86-2330 (Mon.–Fri., 9:30–17:00), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries: Kodo Cultural Foundation Tel. 0259-81-4100 (Mon.-Fri., 9:30 – 17:00)
Kodo Website: Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014: Autumn
Appearance at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten”
On August 10, Motofumi and I performed at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten” at Tottori Civic Hall. A typhoon had just passed by, but fortunately there wasn’t much rain and wind so the event went ahead as planned.
We took part as guest artists alongside nine taiko groups from Eastern Tottori and one taiko group from Osaka.
The performance ended with a fun collaboration where all the performers sang and played a famous Japanese song, “Furusato,” and a local folk song,”Kinanse-bushi” together. This was accompanied by one of Tottori’s traditional performing arts, “Kasa Odori,” an umbrella dance, which made for an exciting finale.
The audience was smaller than expected due to the typhoon, but performances were really amazing. I saw the first-half of the event from a seat in the audience and I felt a great connection between the audience and the stage. What’s more, it reminded me that it is not just taiko technique that moves people, but that simplicity is also key.
I would like to send a round of applause to all the performers and staff at “Inaba Wasaiko no Saiten.” Thank you for giving us the chance to appear at your event as guest artists.
The day before the event, I led a taiko and shinobue (bamboo flute) workshop. I was happy to receive this gift: my very own Kasa Odori,/span> umbrella. We took a commemorative photograph with Mr. Murakami, the director of the hall (left) and Mr. Misawa (2nd person from the right) from Oshu Taiko.
Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi Guest Appearance at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten”
On Aug. 12, there was a rehearsal for the Shiroyama Concert on the opening night of Earth Celebration, “UMI / OCEAN.” All the Kodo Distinguished Members will join the cast for the performance, too. Did somebody say something about a surprise piece…?!
The cast for “UMI / OCEAN” is all 32 Kodo performers, ranging from the Distinguished Members through to the junior members. It will be the first time for this cast to perform ALL together. Please join us!