Photos by Ryan Bruss.
Poet Yuri Kageyama.
Percussionist Winchester Nii Tete.
Poetry at Kuraki Noh in Yokohama.
Dec. 6, 2008
African and Japanese Percussion
ISAKU KAGEYAMA, award-winning taiko drummer, and WINCHESTER NII TETE, acclaimed African percussionist, meet for a conversation using the universal language of music. The duo’s music, deeply rooted in the traditions of Japan and Ghana, flows like a conversation between two close friends, with jokes, laughter, questions, and their answers scattered throughout the evening.
EDO BAYASHI CONVERSATIONS
Taiko and African Percussion Performance
Isaku Kageyama (taiko), Winchester Nii Tete (African Percussion),
Daisuke Watanabe (taiko), Chris Holland (taiko)
FRI Jan. 9, 2009 20:00 (Doors open 19:00)
Shinjuku Live Takanoya
5-2-3 Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0022
3,600 yen (includes one drink)
All seats are non-reserved
For Tickets and More Information: Shinjuku Live Takanoya
Sponsored by The Embassy of Ghana
ISAKU KAGEYAMA – http://www.isakukageyama.com
Isaku Kageyama is one of the bright young stars of premiere drum ensemble Amanojaku. Introduced to the traditional Japanese art form at the age of 6, Isaku is an expert at playing the Odaiko (large drum), and is a two-time National Odaiko Champion.
WINCHESTER NII TETE – http://www.niitete.net
Master percussionist Winchester Nii Tete hails from the honorable Addy-Amo-Boye families of drummers in Ghana. A complete and versatile musician, Winchester has performed with the Ghana national troupe, Sachi Hayasaka, Yoshio Harada, Takasitar, Naoki Kubojima, Tsuyoshi Furuhashi and many other artists.
Noh Theater Stages Percussion and Poetry
Winchester Nii Tete and I are at a tiny Tokyo cafe in this photo.
On SAT. Dec. 6, we take centerstage at a Noh Theater in Yokohama called Kuraki.
The organizers wanted “something different” _ and so they got US!
Violinist Yumi Miyagishima, Keiji Kubo on didgeridoo, filmmaker Yoshiaki Tago, Tago’s cameraman Terada, Ghana singer Robby and photographer Ryan Bruss will join us.
I must confess it feels good to read in artistic spaces (as opposed to smoke-filled dives).
Many, many years ago, I read among Isamu Noguchi sculpture pieces at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
As far as arty spots to read in, it’s hard to top that, wouldn’t you say _ with his signature “akari” lights and well-like pits he created with textured wood.
I worked with Japanese American artists _ actor Marc Hayashi and jazz saxist Gerald Oshita for that event _ which seems such a long time ago _ but strangely like yesterday.
The memories of those friends are as dear to me as our collaborations.
I have lost touch with many of these people.
If anyone comes across this blog and wants to reconnect _ poets, dancers, musicians, filmmakers _ please leave a comment.
Edo Bayashi Conversations: A Heart-to-Heart Talk Between Japan and Ghana
Winchester Nii Tete, master percussionist from Ghana, joined a fascinating exchange _ quite literally, the talking drum _ with Japanese taiko by Daisuke Watanabe and my son Isaku Kageyama at Buddy in Tokyo Nov. 14, 2008.
It was still the first performance for the trio _ Edo Bayashi Conversations _ but that made it so fresh, totally titillating and fearlessly provocative.
How taiko rhythms sound juxtaposed with African rhythms is like savoring neo-cuisine gourmet _ the blend of the unexpected that’s utterly delightful.
The more these young musicians learn from each other and apply the lessons to their own genre, the more wonderful the Music can be that springs from this disarming group.
Just seeing how well they play together _ and so naturally _ gives listeners a good feeling _ maybe even hope for world peace, if that’s not saying too much.
The three young men have so much in common, although they are from different nationalities and musical backgrounds.
They share the same challenges of making their own the tradition of their musical legacy.
They also share the mission of trying to surpass the masters who came before them to add their own mark on that legacy.
It’s a wonderful idea that the men from Ghana, Japanese and Japanese-American backgrounds may hope to help each other achieve those goals.
Musicianship is not about competing with other players, Winchester says with a far wiser look than his 20-some years might be expected to bring in his eyes.
Music is about giving your 100 percent to make listeners happy.
Too many musicians make the mistake of seeing a stage as a place for proving you’re better than someone else _ when no one really cares about that.
And so if you play your heart out, the rest will take care of itself.
Poetry and Percussion on the Noh Stage
Winchester Nii Tete and I will be at the Kuraki Noh Theater _ a beautiful place that’s been the stage for Japanese National Treasures.
SAT Dec. 6, 2008. 7:30 p.m.
Click here for directions on how to get there.
We may seem so different at first glance but I feel that we are one and we share so much.
Our statement is unique and shows we can all come together in self-expression and understanding in music, literature, truth and integrity.
You have to hear his music live to feel the tones and the depth of the sound that spans back generations from Ghana.
I don’t want to get carried away and call it a Miracle.
But it’s special that his African Sound will be on a Noh Stage of all places with my Japanese/American Word.
YURI KAGEYAMA’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in “Y’Bird,” “Greenfield Review,” “San Francisco Stories,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Breaking Silence: an Anthology of Asian American Poets,” “Other Side River,” “Yellow Silk,” “Stories We Hold Secret,” “MultiAmerica” and many other literary publications. She has read with Ishmael Reed, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Geraldine Kudaka, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Russel Baba, Seamus Heaney, Yumi Miyagishima and many other artists. Her short story “The Father and the Son” will be in a January 2009 anthology, “POWWOW: 63 Writers Address the Fault Lines in the American Experience,” edited by Reed with Carla Blank. She has a book of poems “Peeling” (I. Reed Press). She is working on a movie of her readings with Japanese director Yoshiaki Tago. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University and holds an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Master percussionist Winchester Nii Tete hails from the honorable Addy-Amo-Boye families of drummers in Ghana. He is the absolute performer delivering a finely textured repertoire of songs and dance centered around exuberant traditional rhythms that are a true testament of technical finesse and sensitive expressiveness. He has performed with the Ghana national troupe, Sachi Hayasaka, Isaku Kageyama, Yoshio Harada, Takasitar, Naoki Kubojima, Tsuyoshi Furuhashi and many other artists. He has played in various genres, including jazz, hip-hop, reggae, pop and world music. Accomplished on the kplango, talking drum and many other instruments of Ghana, he is a brilliant young star who is certain to follow in the footsteps of his legendary uncles Obo Addy and Aja Addy in gaining international acclaim. He has a CD of his music “BAA JO.”
More Talking Taiko
Winchester Nii Tete and Isaku Kageyama
This and more Good Music FRI Nov. 14 at Buddy.
Talking Taiko Again
EDO BAYASHI CONVERSATIONS
A COLLABORATION OF TRADITIONAL JAPANESE AND AFRICAN MUSIC
The Talking Drum takes an innovative turn when Isaku Kageyama, of Tokyo “taiko” _ or Japanese traditional drumming _ ensemble Amanojaku, gets together with Winchester Nii Tete, master percussionist from the Addy-Amo-Boye families of Ghana, for some serious heart-to-heart exchange in the universal language of music.
Isaku is my real-life son, and Winchester is dear to me like my son.
They have so much in common.
They are about the same age (in their 20s), both still man-child, grappling with the challenges of life.
They have both been playing music since they were children, and music is their passion and their life.
It’s fascinating for me to see how the rhythms blend and form counterpoints to each other.
Isaku puts it like this: the music is like “a conversation between two friends, with jokes, laughter _ questions and answers.”
I thank God Isaku has met someone like Winchester.
Artists are alone.
But they need peers _ fellow spirits.
Artists can endure all if they know at least one other artist he/she respects thinks what you’re doing is pretty darn good.
And collaborating with Winchester gives you all that and more.
Daisuke Watanabe, also in his 20s, and son of Amanojaku leader and master composer Yoichi Watanabe, on taiko joins the Conversation.
Their first-ever collaboration “raibu” is at Ekoda BUDDY Friday, November 14.
20:00 (Doors open 19:00)
Futaba Kaikan B2F Asahigaoka 1-77-8 Nerima-ku 177-0005
3,000 yen admission.
For more information, call 090-8506-9885, or e-mail Isaku at email@example.com
Reading Sunday, Sept. 28 in Tokyo
We are doing a reading with music later this month at a place called Bunga near Ogikubo station (Chuo Line) starting 6:30 p.m. (Poster design by Annette Dorfman/Winchester photo by Takashi Itoh)
Poet YURI KAGEYAMA and percussionist WINCHESTER NII TETE present “TALKING TAIKO,” a multicultural evening of the spoken word with music that challenges the boundaries of continents, genres and generations.
Yuri Kageyama’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in many literary publications, including “Y’Bird,” “Greenfield Review,” “San Francisco Stories,” “On a Bed of Rice,” “Breaking Silence: an Anthology of Asian American Poets,” “Other Side River,” “Yellow Silk,” “Stories We Hold Secret” and “MultiAmerica.” She has read with Ishmael Reed, Shuntaro Tanikawa, Geraldine Kudaka, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Russel Baba, Seamus Heaney, Yumi Miyagishima and many other artists. Her short story “The Father and the Son” will be in a January 2009 anthology, “Pow-Wow: 63 Writers Address the Fault Lines in the American Experience.” She has a book of poems, “Peeling” (I. Reed Press). She is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University and holds an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Master percussionist Winchester Nii Tete hails from the honorable Addy-Amo-Boye families of drummers in Ghana. He has performed with the Ghana national troupe, Sachi Hayasaka, Yoshio Harada, Takasitar, Naoki Kubojima, Tsuyoshi Furuhashi and many other artists. His repertoire is expansive, including jazz, hip-hop, reggae, pop and world music. Besides playing original compositions with poetry, he will deliver a taste of his exuberant, refined and eclectic sound with guest musicians and his students. He is a brilliant young star who is certain to follow in the footsteps of his legendary uncles Obo Addy and Aja Addy in gaining international acclaim.
Winchester Nii Tete and Yuri Kageyama met in Tokyo last year and have been working on collaborative pieces. Director Yoshiaki Tago (“Believer,” “Worst Contact”) joins as another collaborator in filming “Talking Taiko.”