Back in April we performed Dave Black & Snake Beings: East to West at the Audio Foundation in Auckland. Here’s a first excerpt from the show, which took the audience all the way from NZ to Portugal. This chapter is set in mainland Japan, and takes in Kyoto, Mount Fuji, and 1990s Tokyo. The soundtrack was performed live.
We’ve recorded an album’s worth of material, which is now available: Ngumbang
As (south)westerners living in Asia, we had our minds blown all over again by new and fascinating forms of music.
This is an album of sound recordings, made in six different countries, edited into sonic short stories and soundscapes – from
ハイサイ! イチャリバ チョデ! よろしく おねがいします。 きょ-ねん 那覇市に すんでいました と にほんご ちょっと べんきょしました。
In 2011-2012 I lived in Naha (那覇市), the main city of Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県) in Japan (日本).
The Ryukyu Islands are a whole other world from mainland Japan – there’s no Mt Fuji, samurai, sumo wrestling, geisha or shinkansen. They have a different culture, food, climate and music – more tropical and laidback, the Hawaii of northeast Asia, with jungle, sugar cane, beautiful sea and coral – umi to sango wa totemo kirei desu ne – and wonderful people and tragic history.
The soundtracks to these videos are snippets of live Okinawan music I recorded there, such as eisa drum dancing and shima uta island songs. Spot me on sanshin (traditional 3-stringed banjo) and harmonica in the Iriomote one, and having a drumming lesson in Ishigaki – the two Yaeyama Islands, in the remote southwesternmost corner of Japan.
Special thanks to the staff and students of Naha Kokusai and Naha Kogyo senior high schools – Nifei daebiru!
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Videos from a solo trip across Kyushu (in March 2012, on holiday from work in Okinawa). Accompanied by Japanese music such as koto, shakuhachi, yokagura and hip-hop, recorded live.
Four videos –
1) from sugi (Japanese cedar) forest with 3000-year-old trees on Yakushima Island,
2) heading north via Kumamoto and its castle, to
3) a yokagura dance performance reenacting the legend of how the sun goddess returned to the world in Takachiho,
4) to the city of Fukuoka (score by Dave Black & Nat da Hatt – free download)