Archive for category music

Music, rhythm, joy, spontaneity, life

Take a look at this amazing movie (see the trailer below). I saw the movie this afternoon. It was followed by a live performance by the boy himself, Takeo. Both were brilliant. The movie is in Japanese with no subtitles, so for those who don’t understand Japanese, here’s a brief summary.

Takeo is now about 25 years old. He has Downs Syndrome. He still couldn’t walk at the age of 3. He loves music and has a good sense of rhythm. His mum noticed this and helped and encouraged him. Downs kids are not easily educable (tho there’s a wide spectrum of disability), yet we see Takeo learning complex rhythm patterns. When he was 11,  he encountered the Senegal Sabar drum. He was apparently taught Senegal drumming by a Senegal drummer, Wagan N’Diaye Rose, who has given many drumming workshops in Japan. The movie shows footage of a visit by Takeo to Senegal for a Senegal drumming workshop, which includes jam sessions with the celebrated African musician (and Wagan’s father) Doudou N’Diaye Rose. We also see scenes of Takeo playing the drums, marimba, xylophone, piano, and other instruments, both alone and with others, notably an elementary music school teacher who invites Takeo to his home/workshop/studio and lets him play with whatever he wants, and a jazz pianist who enjoys improvising with Takeo and lets Takeo do the same.

The movie ends with an extraordinary performance by Takeo under a baobab tree – he first approaches the tree slowly and bowing, he plays a drum underneath its boughs, pausing every now and then to sing or to pick up a stick to drum with but you get the feeling he’s still feeling the inner silent rhythm even when he’s not drumming, and he finishes by backing slowly away from the tree.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB3Y1YxoSqU’]

After the movie finished to loud applause, a troupe of musicians came in playing a variety of African percussion instruments, followed by Takeo himself. When they were all assembled on the stage, Takeo motioned to them all to stop, but they did not immediately obey. Takeo then took the mike and began talking, tho it was hard to understand what he was trying to say. One of the musicians eventually got tired and cut off his mike and started playing, but Takeo obviously didn’t like this and sulked, refusing to play.

The musicians were very good and the rhythm was infectious. A woman in the audience got up and began dancing, as did several children. She moved to the front and danced around Takeo. Slowly, he melted and began dancing with her, then playing the drum he was carrying. Suddenly the piece ended and the room erupted in applause.

My daughter was there right in the front row. At one point she stood up and approached the drum set Takeo was playing and began tapping on it.  She too has Downs Syndrome.

Here’s a 2006 video of Takeo playing the balafon:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRoNjAyA5Ys’]

Homepage for the movie: http://www.takeo-cinema.jp/preview.html

Here’s a similar performance to the one we saw, with the same musicians “Malaika”, playing in Osaka, Japan, earlier this year. It’s really interesting to see how musicians and audience react to an unpredictable player! It looks like he’s just doing his own thing, following his own drum as it were, and then he and all the other players come right into sync and finish all together. Astounding.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2_LDv8A1g’]


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tags: , , , ,

Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan | Marketing Japan

A Japanese professor of English was lamenting to me that Japanese young people these days are not interested in going abroad to study English. (He thinks this presages the end of Japanese civilization.)

Today, I read a post that I think goes some way to explaining this phenomenon.  For better or worse, I think  the days of “admiration” for the West “akogare” (longing and admiration) are over.  Mike Rogers’ main point is “You might think that major Japanese artists all suck and I might well agree. But I will add that they suck no more or less than most big western (especially Top 40) artists! But no one can sneeze at Japanese bands that can sell out an entire week at the Tokyo Dome. And the list of bands that do is long.”

For many years, Japan and Japanese rock stars have had an inferiority complex towards western artists as they deservedly should have. But nowadays, things have changed in Japan. And, when they can make this kind of money playing in Japan – and never make near that amount in the west – all the while western artists come here to make big money – why bother going to play in the USA?

Sure, the big name artists still dream of becoming big in the west too, but the west doesn’t hold the allure it once did for people. And that’s not just people in Japan, but, I think for people all over the world.

Sure, some dream of Hollywood and New York, but when it comes to the big name Japanese artists (who don’t sing in English anyway) it’s no longer practical to even consider trying to break into the USA market… Most certainly isn’t profitable.

These big name Japanese artists can stay at home, in their comfy chairs, and copy the western artists that they are inspired by and make those musicians’ music their own.

The domestic audience doesn’t know the difference.

via Marketing Japan: Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Other Western Artists are Minor in Japan.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tags: , , , , ,

The two of us

When I first came to Japan, I stayed in a small house belonging to a local worthy. His son was about my age, and we soon struck up a friendship, tho he didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak any Japanese. On the first or second meeting, he gave me a cassette tape of a compilation of Beatles songs that he’d put together himself. I took it home and played it, and got a blast from the past. There were a couple of songs on there in particular that I hadn’t heard since the first time I’d heard them back in the 60s. They came through with a gentle yet shattering force.

This was one of them, played here in a studio version.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1Y3PlmwnRM’]

The YouTube comments tell me that Paul and John weren’t really speaking to each other by this time, which gives this song a particular poignancy: as you watch and listen and remember that they weren’t on speaking terms (I think none of them were, by this time), the words to the song “the two of us” and “going home” and the general “happy nostalgia” feeling of the song stands in marked contrast to the complex cooperation going on as they play this song, flawlessly.

However, comments on another performance of this song reveal that the song was never about John and Paul, but about Paul and Linda.

The comments are added to the video of a performance by Paul McCartney in Red Sqaure in Moscow  in 2003.  Having had several glasses of good wine by the time I watched this, I was struck again by some sentimental aspects: there are young people enjoying this song who are young enough to be Paul’s grandchildren, yet this song speaks to them, too (watch for the two dancers in yellow).

The song is performed by Paul playing the acoustic guitar, as he did in the first video. The bass is played by someone else, but in any event it IS a bass, whereas in the original performance, the “bass” was played by George on a regular, not a bass, guitar. I think George’s bass line was more musically interesting than the one in Red Square, but then I’m a sucker for complex melodic lines.

Here’s Paul in Red Square. Those opening sixths are unmistakable and instantly recognizable, even thousands of miles and over 40 years away:

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-x4yjb5Hsw&feature=related’]


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tags: , ,

Hallelujah

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKnxmkOAj88′]

I like this song, but this is a remarkable performance by any standard.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”