Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Circle festival, Fukuoka, 19.05.12...

Will Newsome`s EP, Winter Shed, is available on iTunes and amazon...


Circle festival at umi no nakamichi kohen in Fukuoka had a brilliant lineup - i feel very privileged to have played alongside these musicians...



Aside from playing with harada ikuko (above), whose songs i now have on constant repeat in my mind, standing out for me was the music of UA with her raw, soulful voice and passionate anti-nuclear stance:


Salyu Salyu with their brilliant vocal arrangements reminiscent of the dirty projectors collaboration with bjork and the 'le fil' days of camille:


And akiko yano, an incredible pianist and singer:


Now back in England, on the train to Bristol after this unexpectedly long trip away, excited about seeing my friends and thinking about getting prints ready for the utrophia exhibition and recording a couple of covers of Harada's songs...

Monday, 14 May 2012

Pinon-Pinon and the happiness it brings part 2... (04/05/12 - 09/05/12)

Will Newsome`s EP, Winter Shed, is available on iTunes and amazon...






This time at pinon-pinon,

a different role...

Niwashigoto, pruning trees,

piano practice in the gallery.

More experiments with filming the kora;

I`m fascinated by how the frame-rate of my camera captures the movement in strings and shows them undulating like a sine wave.

It feels like there`s a lot of maths in motion here, a happy instance where the artificial inadvertently exposes a fundamental; an underlying system like the phi in feathers, the fibonacci in a fern...




Recently, since seeing Yanokami at Roppongi Hills,
I can`t get this song out of my head - 
Rei Harakami died unexpectedly last year but he left us with some beautiful music...
This song, `owari no kisetsu` - (the end of the season?) is a cover of a Japanese folk song;
listen loud, get lost in it:







Sunday, 13 May 2012

ノット・ア・デッド・バード / Not a dead bird

My friend Jun (喜多村 純) at Pinon-Pinon in Tsuruga has translated the lyrics to my song `not a dead bird` -



ノット・ア・デッド・バード


見あげてごらん
沈んでいるときは
森の中の空き地で
ぼくらは眺めている
月が木の葉を織りあげる
いろんな顔、いろんな石
星座、万華鏡みたいに


ちいさなものが
落ちてきたよ
木の葉の天蓋の
屋根裏部屋から
死んだ小鳥じゃない
でもちょっと驚いた
緑の目みたいに眩しくて
ぼくらのお喋りは
その歌の中で
ときにふと途切れ
ぼくらの言葉と鳥の歌が
降り積もる


迷子になって
高さの違うどこかで
飛び立つ予感と
目眩のあいだで


ぼくらの言葉と鳥の歌が
降り積もる
ぼくらの言葉ともっとやさしい歌が
降り積もる




★対訳に際して、Willさんと相談の上、部分的に意訳してます。原詞をあわせてご参照ください。

(original lyrics here)



Thursday, 10 May 2012

Playing kora with 原田郁子 (Harada Ikuko) 03.05.12 @ J-waves 'TokyoM.A.P.S', Roppongi Hills, Tokyo.


I first met Harada Ikuko at Kichimu in Kichijoji when we played a show there at the beginning of April - her set with Tonchi was beautiful and fascinating...



I ran out of CDs on the night, so a week or two later I posted her a copy of my new E.P, telling her how much I loved her set. Happily, she felt the same of mine and invited me to stay in Japan a few weeks longer to play a couple more shows - one in Tokyo and one in Fukuoka at circle festival on the 19th... (massive thanks to Eiichi-kun and Naoto-San for taking phonecalls, writing emails and interpreting...gomen nasai, yoroshiku onegaishimasu!)

So here I am, sat in cafe yugue in Kyoto for the 4th time this trip, reminiscing (reminiscing might sound exaggerated for casting the mind back a mere week, but that is one of the wonders of yugue, it has such a contemplative, timeless atmosphere, it could amplify any mundane yesterday into a cherished memory.) I'll have another of Dai-chan's delicious bagels and drink a cup of chai...





I was worried about communication at the beginning of our rehearsal on the 2nd of may, but by the end of the day, Harada, Tonchi and I had three songs ready to play together - ginga (milky way), ao I Yama (the blue darkness) and ai no kodomo (child of love?)

There's a lot of deep feeling and expression in these songs, and the third one we played, Ginga, is intended to be like a bridge between the people here now and the people lost in the earthquake and tsunami last year. So many people's hearts are broken by what happened and this new version of the song is upbeat, reflecting the necessity for (and inevitability of) onwards movement and aiming towards reconciliation of sadness with the spirit and memory of the victims which lives on inside people; now, as I write this, something clicks and it occurs to me that in describing, there's a symbiosis between my learning and this song going on, in that through it's sentiment, it might have enlightened me a little on the essence of two words I was introduced to a couple of days ago, and these words, ripe with meaning and defiant of direct translation, may have enlightened me a little on the song in the context of its native tongue:

"setsunai" (loosely - heartrending, trying, painful)

&

"mujou" (a Buddhist concept which, naturally, there is much to - but loosely - of mutability and transience; of everything without exception being in a constant state of flux).

If you're a fluent bilingual JapEnglish speaker, please tell me if I'm misconstruing (or enlighten me further).
It's a deep-seated sentiment and a beautiful song:




The original of this song is by Kiyoshiro Imawano, a Japanese Rock musician who died of cancer in 2009. He was much a much loved artist and a powerful force in campaigning against the construction of nuclear power plants.    



Harada's a great pianist and inspired me to try and play my piano pieces again with more feeling and less restraint... Here's one I recorded a few days ago:







Massive thanks to Matsumi-san for putting me up in her flat and taking me out drinking with Mitsuru Tajika... I might never have experienced the down-town tokyo drinks of choju with hoppy and Ume-boshi Chu-hi otherwise! Tanoshkata.



















If you're a Kyushu dweller or fancy a trip down south, don't miss the show in Fukuoka on the 19th at circle festival!











Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Matsue show at carre, 31.04.12...

Takashi runs a bakery named `carre` in the gentle, airy town of Matsue, and we played in the yard behind his shop - see the people grinning ear to ear at Naoto's guitar wit...

After the show we headed over to a friends house overlooking the river - a beautiful and very traditional Japanese house - here we drank shochu and ate dinner whilst me and the amazing Noguchi Atushi took it in turns on the guitar. He's got a beautiful voice and he's a great guitarist - naoto filmed this video of us playing Diane Cluck's song 'dilapidalliance'... If you're not aware of Diane's song of the week subscription project, join up or have a read about it: it's a really inspiring and innovative idea, both from the perspective of being a big fan of hers and from myself being a musician aiming towards a subsistence lifestyle through music...


It's a shame I didn't get any film of Noguchi's songs but I'll post one up here soon...


This show marked the end of me and Naoto's tour together, we were up at 5 the next morning to drive back to Kyoto, choto futsukayoi (a little hungover...) We have one more show together on the 12th, a house show in Kyoto; I'm happy it's not too final...




Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Nokonoshima and noconico cafe, 30.04.12



I've been really excited about returning to nokonoshima for ages and it's boyish, but a large amount of my excitement was about going on the ferry and getting to ride on the back of shibata-san's pickup truck again...

Noconico cafe is a great little outdoor cafe next to nokonoshima's ferry landing, selling delicious drinks like vodka with blood orange and banana rum smoothies. They've got a kind of souvenir shop which sells music by friends of the owners and people who've played in the cafe, postcards by local artists and a few quirky nokonoshima souvenirs like flatpack cardboard ferry boats...

Naoto's great at coming up with unusual or innovative ideas for live performance and the concept this time was based on there being a market outside the cafe on this day...thinking of a market in a traditional sense - as not just a place to buy and sell but a place to meet people and exchange ideas.

So people sold their goods and we played our music in a relaxed fashion, stopping to chat when people were inquisitive and attracting passers-by on their way to and from the ferry...

Photos from the day below...