Noh music and dance at the London Contemporary Music Festival 29 May 2014

Udaka Tatsushige
Udaka Tatsushige

“The Japanese Extreme” is the headline of the third night (29 May) of the London Contemporary Music Festival 2014 at Britannia House, Spitalfields, London. The organisers have put together an impressive and bold line-up that crosses genre boundaries: Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Himmels Tür, (a percussion piece of Japanese inspiration) the Japanese noise act Pain Jerkand…… NOH THEATRE.

Udaka Tatsushige and Udaka Norishige, sons of my teacher Udaka Michishige, along with four hayashi musicians from Kyoto and Osaka will perform the ibayashi (solo music and choir) of Shakkyō (The Stone Bridge), and the maibayashi (dance and music excerpts) of Hagoromo (The Celestial Robe) and Funa-Benkei (Benkei and the Boat). I will sing in the ji-utai chorus.

The repertoire we are going to perform is classic, and will be put on stage according to the Noh conventions. It is rather unusual for Noh to be performed along with other acts, all the more so in the context of a contemporary music festival, and we are very excited and honoured to participate to the LCMF this year. If you are in/around London don’t miss the chance to attend this unique event!

Visit the LCMF website for the full programme and ticket reservation.

Noh pop songs

Just a quick link to report something I bumped into: three songs by Kyūko and Aina, based on the themes of three Noh plays: Teika, Ominameshi and Shōjō. As the authors specify in the description of the video, they have only been inspired by the content of the plays, and freely developed the lyrics on their own.

Despite the production of the songs, vaguely reminding some tacky period drama soundtrack, I actually find the experiment interesting, and I am honestly impressed by the huge leap the authors have taken by transforming something like Noh, often understood as old and venerable, into something so easy-listening: the characters of the three plays must be so alive in the imagination of Kyūko and Aina. The video also includes a link to an internet shop where it is possible to purchase postcards with bunnies in Noh costumes…