I'm happy to announce that I've received a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Cou ncil to fund a four part concert series I'm calling JO | HA | KYU. The basic concept of the series is developing meaningful dialogue between Japan and other regions of the world through music, dance and art, while celebrating Brooklyn's rich cultural makeup. Details of all the concerts are still being hammered out but the first one is coming up very soon!
On March 28th, some good friends from Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM) will be joining my ensemble and me for a celebration of traditional and contemporary Indian and Japanese music. We will be exploring a huge variety of modes, rhythms, timbres and compositional and improvisational forms of the two countries. I've known some of the members of BRM since I first moved back to NY from Japan in 2007 and while I've played with many of their group over the years, this will be my first official collaboration with them. Please read more about them here (jumps to New York Times article).
Then, through an incredible stroke of good fortune, an old friend from Japan will be in town and will be joining us as a special guest. Ryutaro Kaneko was a member of the iconic taiko ensemble Kodo (yes, the same group that just finished a successful four-day run at BAM) almost since it's inception in the early 80's. Ryutaro was responsible for innovative developments of both instruments and playing techniques that are commonly used by taiko drummers across the globe today: the virtuosic soloistic use of the chappa cymbal and the cross-sticking technique used in katsugi slung okedo to name a couple and he composed some of Kodo's most beloved pieces such as Nobi, Maboron, Akabane, Bird Island and Aokikaze. This is a a rare opportunity to see this influential musician in New York. In a separate concert on March 25th, I will be performing in Adam Rudolph's Go:Organic Orchestra, another group I've been associated with almost as long as I've been back in New York. This is an ensemble of some of NYC's finest improvisors being directed by the legendary percussionist/composer Adam Rudolph, a huge influence and inspiration to me. Simply put, the music is conducted improvised music based on very specific rhythmic, melodic and textural concepts - every performance is wholly unique, thrilling and beautiful.