2006-05-29

I Don't Mean to HARP About This, But...

After the ball game, I raced home to change and get ready for a rendition of Kabuki (歌舞伎). Well, much to my surprise, it wasn't Kabuki at all, but a KOTO concert. Koto(琴) is the Japanese harp, plucked softly it has a rather dulcet soothing sound and most of the night was great. What follows is a blow-by-blow account:




First: 40 Koto (琴) players for 20 minutes--an average performance yet we managed to stay awake.
After a 10 min intermission, about 20 shamisen (三味線 a traditional lute-like instrument) players, 8 koto and 6 old guys on Japanese flutes (shako-hachi 尺八). Rocking for 6 minutes.
Then a young trio of 2 koto (bass and soprano) and one shimasen for 15 minutes and it was the coolest! A good mix and it sounded groovy. I'd love them to take on "Dueling Banjos"!
Wow, most boring yet! One old lady on koto and an ancient guy on flute for 10 min. So incredibly dull and the flute was off key! (They apparently told the story of Genji...an old myth about a monster--the performance was monstrous!)

Finally an orchestra leader came out and led: 15 koto, 1 shou
(a Chinese flute similar to a pan flute しょう), 1 ordinary flute, 1 shimasen, 1 Japanese flute, 1 kakko (鞨鼓) drum, and 1 percussionist (mini drum & triangle). All in all a pretty good performance and it was definitely worth the price of admission. (We had comped-tickets and got in for FREE!)

Thanks to Ando of Shaft fame for rounding up the tix and our companions were very pleasant. We ate at an intriguing Thai place and then headed back to Shaft.
But that's another story...

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