Japanesque

Authentic Japanese Classical Music presented by a trio of experienced performers.

Surprisingly pleasing to the Western ear, Japanesque offer a guided tour of the colourful and little-known Japanese repertoire. Pieces range from the 18th century chamber classic Kurokami (Black Hair), to the well loved popular song China Night. Twentieth century Japanese compositions are also featured, showing the influence of Debussy, Ravel and other European composers.

The clear, ringing chords of the Koto (Japanese harp) and the ethereal purity of the Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) will delight even the most jaded listener.

Rié Yanagisawa (koto, shamisen, voice) wears full formal kimono and headgear.

Akikaze No Uta (Autumn Melody)

Haru No Umi (The Sea In Spring)

The Members
Rié Yanagisawa – koto, shamisen, voice
Rié Yanagisawa’s father was a professional Japanese singer, and Rié has studied the koto since the age of eight. Since settling in London she has performed and given masterclasses all over Europe, including the Royal Albert Hall and St John’s Smith Square.

Clive Bell – shakuhachi, flute
Clive Bell is a musician and composer specialising in Far Eastern musics. He studied the shakuhachi in Tokyo with Kohachiro Miyata. Recently he has played live on Radio Three’s Late Junction, and worked with Jah Wobble, Complicite Theatre, the BBC Singers, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Clive’s solo shakuhachi CD was reissued on the ARC label in 2005. He writes for The Wire magazine.

Stuart Jones – cello
Stuart Jones was a member of seminal electronics group Gentle Fire, touring internationally and working with John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He now composes and teaches at the London College Of Communication.

The Instruments
Koto

A harp-like instrument whose history spans twelve centries. The six foot long wooden body has moveable bridges to facilitate turning. The strings (originally of silk) are plucked with plectrums worn on the right hand.

Shamisen

This Japanese lute has a box-shaped wooden body covered with skin, a long fretless neck, and three strings struck with a large plectrum. Traditionally the shamisen is used to accompany singing or theatre.

Shakuhachi

This is the haunting, five-holed bamboo flute, still used today by Buddhist Zen monks as a meditation tool. Also popular in the past with samurai warriors, its eerie sound is heard in both folk and classical music.

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