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Happy Spring!


Weblog of Kaoru Watanabe, NY based Flute/Fue player

Happy Spring!

Fumi Tanakadate

Hello friends and family,

Hope everyone is staying healthy and happy so far in 2019. I have already been through two bouts of 103ish degree fever, including catching the flu. Despite it all, I've been able to enjoy all the music making and traveling that has come my way.

In the last few weeks I enjoyed a wonderful first time collaboration with Sameer Gupta and Parul Shah at the Rubin Museum. The fantastic designer Dan Ichimoto provided some elegant images that were projected during key points of the performance. Sameer experimented with a seven tabla set-up - usually tabla refers to two drums- and I experimented by playing the koto - a thirteen string zither that I have no formal training on- as well as with my usual array of shinobue and Japanese percussion. The music reflected the themes of Nature/Love/War, three elements that abound in both Indian and Japanese literature and folklore.

Last week I was in Spain for just a weekend trip- rehearsing in Dos Hermanas, just outside of Seville and then heading to Jerez de la Frontera for a concert with Eva Yerbabuena, one of the stars of the flamenco world in Spain. It's always a humbling experience working with such high-caliber musicians, deeply entrenched in their tradition but with forwarded-thinking minds, open to push and experiment. 

Just a few days ago, I performed with the pipa virtuoso, Wu Man at the Met Museum. We debuted a piece of mine as well as another older piece that I arranged for this group. 

Coming up, I'll be giving (another) workshop to students at the Boston Conservatory through Silkroad Ensemble, then will be deep in rehearsals for a bunch of upcoming shows: another concert with Wu Man, back to Spain with Eva, a new trio called Borogusakagu (ratty smelly furniture) with Sameer and the great Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Boccato in Brooklyn, a few duo performances with Fumi in El Paso, Texas, a few shows with a new trio featuring percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and Celtic harpist Maeve Gilchrist, a private concert with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble in Manhattan. Then in April, a performance with Fumi and the fantastic Korean musician Gamin in Philadelphia, a tour with Silkroad Ensemble on the West and East Coasts and then another show at the Met Museum, this time a new opera by Michi Wiancko about Murasaki Shikibu.

Finally, The Wes Anderson Collection, Isle of Dogs book came out last year, with the Japanese version just coming out recently. There's a whole eight page spread dedicated to me in there. It's available on amazon here!

As always, I feel a sense of honor that I'm able to make a living as an artist and have the opportunities to work with folks that also approach their work with passion, dedication and integrity. I hope to see many of you somewhere during my travels!