We are a mom and son team _ musician Isaku Kageyama and poet Yuri Kageyama. And we were featured in this delightful and tasteful show called “Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry,” hosted by Mr. Clay Corley, Sr., who lives in Philadelphia, and is a poet and writer himself. He’s putting us in great company. Among those he has featured on his show are Ornette Coleman, Sonya Sanchez, Quincy Jones, Amiri Baraka.
It was a true discovery to experience my work in a show like this, especially juxtaposed with Isaku’s music. I thought I was so familiar with all the material. But everything felt so fresh, seeing one’s own work through someone else’s perspective.
Please click HERE to hear how Clayton has put together our poetry and music, and HERE for the conversational interview by Clayton and his poet partner Donna Kirven, about our backgrounds, feelings, lives and intentions of our art.
One question I was asked was: If I were to describe my work as a kind of food, what would that be?
So I said, “Water,” something that is everyday but essential, shining in the light into whatever color, tasteless, but becoming part of our bodies.
And Donna said that was a very unusual answer, and she liked it.
Later, I happened to look on Isaku’s blog and I saw he was likening his taiko playing to mineral water. So I guess we are a mom and son team.
Thanks for having us on the show: www.sojpradio.com And thanks for supporting our work.
HYBRID SOUL brings together the West and the East/minyo tunes with rock/jazz fusion with Isaku Kageyama on taiko, Pat Glynn on bass and Chris Young on guitar. And their music keeps getting better and better as evident at Roppongi Edge in Tokyo May 29, 2009. They play again at the Daikanyama Loop June 4, 2009 _ their last performance for this series that began in April. They will be starting up another round of concerts later this year, where they will present their further evolution. Among the songs they play: “Yagi Bushi,” “Tanko Bushi,” “Soran Bushi,” “Nikata Bushi,” “Hachijo” _ and “Dear Prudence.” It’s moving to see how these men, who happen to be living in Tokyo and love music, have come together. Meeting one another halfway, they have created something that’s positive _ a new sound that’s fun, intelligent, tasteful. It is moving because everyone knows that kind of understanding is what this divided world needs. The music isn’t smug or insular. It is sincere and unafraid. It doesn’t pander. And it doesn’t pretend to be anything that it is not, or even really know what it is yet.
NOT YOUR GRANPA’S TAIKO Eclectic and electrifying, Hybrid Soul brings rock ‘n’ roll to the world of taiko (traditional Japanese percussion) to deliver a totally modern version of “Bon” (summer festival) folk tunes, breathing new life into a down-home but complex Asian tradition with psychedelic sounds, the blues, funky rhythms and American-style rock. The music of HYBRID SOUL is evolving _ with fresh tunes with every appearance.
Isaku Kageyama, an award-winning drummer with Amanojaku taiko ensemble, is also giving a TAIKO WORKSHOP at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space B2 Rehearsal Room 1-8-1 Nishi Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0021 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. (!!!Your first lesson is free if you tell Isaku you saw it on this blog!!!)
San Francisco-born Isaku Kageyama has been studying with Amanojaku founder and leader Yoichi Watanabe Sensei since he was 6 years old. He now plays with Amanojaku in concerts not only around Japan but also in Dubai, the U.S., China, Brazil, etc. He recently played with Japanese jazz trumpet legend Toshinori Kondo. He also collaborates frequently with Winchester Nii Tete, a master percussionist from Ghana. Isaku became the youngest player ever to win the Mt. Fuji Odaiko Contest in 2000 when he was 18. He also won the Hokkaido Odaiko Contest in 2003. He has helped Amanojaku teach taiko drummers throughout Japan as well as overseas. He traveled to Brazil five times since 2004 to teach more than 500 Nikkei Brazilians. In 2008, Amanojaku led the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil with a performance by 1,200 Brazilian drummers at the Sao Paulo samba festival space.
For more information on the concert or workshop, contact: Isaku Kageyama at Tel: 090-8506-9885, Fax: 03-3904-9434 or e-mail: email@example.com
THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2009. Shinjuku Takanoya doors open 8 p.m.; set starts 8:30 p.m. 3,000 yen (including one drink)
JAPANESE MUSIC NEVER SOUNDED SO GOOD! ISAKU KAGEYAMA is one of the principal drummers of premiere taiko ensemble Amanojaku. One of the finest players of his generation, Isaku became the youngest player to win Highest Honors at the Mt. Fuji Odaiko Contest, and became two-time National Odaiko Chmpaion in 2003. CHRIS YOUNG began electrifying the stages of Texas, Florida and New York as a professional guitarist at age 16. Chris has made national tours, recordings and performances with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Shirley Bassey, Angie Stone, Richard Bona and Sadao Watanabe. A multi-talented and extremely verstaile musician, PAT GLYNN has played a variety of musical styles such as jazz, Broadway, rock, electronic and Latin. His professional peforming experience includes the Walt Disneyworld Orchestra, as well as national and international Broadway tours. Since moving to Tokyo in 2007, he has continued performing in a variety of groups, backing up performers such as Konishiki, Iwasaki Yoshimi and Simon Cosgrove. Three different perspectives but one common vision. By experimenting with Western rock, jazz, blues and Latin elements, Hybrid Soul breathes new life into the culturally and musically rich tradition of Japanese folk songs.
2009/4/30 LIVE ( HYBRID SOUL) “Mostly Minyo” at Shinjuku LIVE Takanoya 20:30 (Doors open at 20:00) Shinjuku LIVE TAKANOYA TEL: 03-5919-0228 5-2-3 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0022 http://www.takanoya-records.com
2009/5/15 LIVE (HYBRID SOUL) “Mostly Minyo” at Ekoda BUDDY 20:30 (Doors open at 20:00) Ekoda BUDDY TEL: 03-3953-1152 1-77-8-B2 Asahigaoka Nerima-ku 177-0005 http://www.buddy-tokyo.com
2009/5/29 LIVE (HYBRID SOUL) “Mostly Minyo” at Roppongi EDGE 20:30 (Doors open at 20:00) Roppongi EDGE TEL: 03-3505-4561 5-18-21-B2F Roppongi Minato-ku 106-0032 http://www.club-edge.net/
2009/6/4 LIVE (HYBRID SOUL) “Mostly Minyo” at Daikanyama LOOP 20:30 (Doors open at 20:00) Daikanyama LOOP TEL: 03-6277-5032 13-12-B1 Hachiyama-cho Shibuya-ku 150-0035 http://www.live-loop.com/
He also offers bilingual taiko workshops:
2009/03/31 WORKSHOP 19:00 – 20:30 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space B2 Rehearsal Room 1-8-1 Nishi Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0021
2009/4/16 WORKSHOP 19:00 – 20:30 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space B2 Rehearsal Room 1-8-1 Nishi Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0021
2009/4/23 WORKSHOP 19:00 – 20:30 Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space B2 Rehearsal Room 1-8-1 Nishi Ikebukuro Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-0021
Your first lesson is free if you say you saw this on his mom’s blog!
Eclectic and unexpected, Hybrid Soul (photo by Ryan Bruss) brings together rock ‘n’ roll with taiko (traditional Japanese percussion) to deliver a modern version of “Bon” (summer festival) folk tunes. ISAKU KAGEYAMA (center) on taiko; CHRIS YOUNG (right) on guitar and PAT GLYNN (left) on bass. The group made its debut at Mandala in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo, Nov. 11, 2008. (Another clip.) Stay tuned for more.
Hybrid Soul delivers electric “Souran Bushi” _ Dokkoi dokkoi!! Hybrid Soul brings together: ISAKU KAGEYAMA, an award-winning traditional Japanese taiko drummer from Tokyo, Texan guitarist CHRIS YOUNG and PAT GLYNN, an accomplished Broadway musician hailing from the wilds of New Jersey. Three different perspectives but one common vision. By experimenting with Western rock, jazz, blues and latin elements, Hybrid Soul breathes new life into the culturally and musically rich tradition of Japanese folk songs.
Hybrid Soul made its debut Tuesday Nov. 11, 2008, at Minami Aoyama Mandala in Tokyo _ bringing together the rock guitar of Chris Young and bass of Pat Glynn with the taiko beat of my son Isaku Kageyama. They played Bon songs of Japanese traditional minyo folk music _ Soran bushi, Yagi bushi, Tanko bush, etc. (The top is a studio recording _ not from the concert _ but gives you a bit of an idea of what’s cooking.) The evening was an eye-opener in showing how the songs sounded different when played in that context _ but also how freshly and genuinely good they sounded _ simply as tunes. Japanese tend to tune out with these old songs, heard over and over again, and associated with old people and old times _ songs that blend into oblivion. But rearranged and electrified as “gaijin” rock, they suddenly commanded attention. And one realizes how well crafted they are and how beautiful they are as pieces of modern music. Juxtaposition/hybrids/marginality do tend to have a convenient knack for highlighting what gets otherwise overlooked. This may sound like a contradiciton. But in being non-Japanese did Bon songs turn Japanese! It’s great. The band got a grand reception at Mandala _ pretty good for a first performance. We hope there will be more performances ahead to hear new takes, new ideas, new solos. One of the teachers suggested maybe one tune could have had Isaku on bells in “a battle” against the guitar and bass. The club owner suggested filling out the program with more straight-ahead taiko, including a trademark o-daiko (giant drum) performance. I thought they could use minyo calls like “oi oi,” “sore sore” (or whatever they are) as a very easy way to get the crowd roused up in the obligatory audience-participation shtick of live-house concerts. Maybe guest soloists and singers will join the group in future concerts. Ideas abound. The performance felt really short _ we wanted more. Isaku grew up hearing the electric guitar of his father, who worships Jimi Hendrix as well as studied Wes Montgomery, Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell and other greats. And so it was probably a natural choice for him to bring together that childhood sound _ still ringing somewhere in his subconscious _ with the beat of taiko, which is his life. It was moving to see that as parents. It was also a lesson _ as all parental experiences tend to be. It was a reminder that all we can hope for in our art is to be ourselves. And that is, after all, the sole purpose of art.