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
In 2011-2012 I lived in Naha (那覇市), the main city of Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県) in Japan (日本).
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.
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.