Musical delight in Sydney!/音楽の喜び in シドニー!

Following on from Sheila’s post, our branch too had a taste of musical delights like J-Rock!

Our first major event for 2013 saw listening series ‘Japan in Stereo' take flight.

Over five weeks, five guest presenters we invited to tell Australians more about J-music genres. Not only the well-known genres like Koto and Shamisen.
The genres we looked at were J-Rock, Onkyo-ha, Enka, Koto and Gagaku.

シドニーオフィスでの2013年の最初の大きなイベントは、「Japan in Stereo」という5週間に渡って、計5名の専門家ゲストをお招きし、琴や三味線などの有名なジャンルだけでなく、様々な日本の音楽(Jロック・音響派・演歌・琴・雅楽)についてオーストラリアの人々に語っていただく、というものでした。

What is ‘Gagaku/雅楽’ and ‘Onkyo-ha/音響派’? Ever heard of ‘Enka/演

I knew of Gagaku from a previous event however as Onkyo-ha, this was truly the first time to know it exists, let alone what it sounds like. Onkyo-ha is translated as Minimalist electro-acoustic improvisation. As our guest mentioned, not all artists like to use this title.
Guest speaker Oren Ambarchi, is a Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist who is insatiably curious about the possibilities of sound and resonance, and has collaborated with some of the foremost figures in Japan’s avant-garde Onkyo-ha scene.

Onkyo-ha won’t be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but after listening to examples of Oren’s work and the explanations of the processes, I definitely have a deeper appreciation for the musical genre.

The other genre that intrigues me is Enka. The English translation is post-war pop and for those fans of Roy Orbinson out there, we think that’s a good Western equivalent to get a visual of what Enka is.
We were lucky enough to have Dr. Shelley Brunt as guest speaker who has studied the infamous New Year’s Eve ‘Red and White Song Contest’ in Japan for many years.
その他のジャンルで私が興味を引かれたのは演歌です。英語圏では、演歌は、「戦後の日本のポップミュージック」と訳されます。ロイ・オービソンのファンの方は、演歌の西洋バージョンがロイ・オービソン、と考えていただければイメージしやすいと思います。ゲストスピーカーには、日本ではとても有名な、大晦日の「紅白歌合戦」について長年研究しているShelley Brunt氏をお招きすることが出来、とてもラッキーでした。

Brunt explained how Enka is a genre that not many people outside of Japan know of. This is due to the fact that this musical style and the artists have a deep connection and profile to their hometowns, thus appealing to a Japanese audience is perfectly in-line.
I was surprised to see that Enka is very popular with younger audiences and artists too, not just the older generations. From gorgeously dressed women in kimonos to young hip men, it is a fascinating world.

Fun start to the year - stay tuned for what Sydney gets up to next!