with didgeridoo by Keiji Kubo

Poetry on Noh Stage

Photos by Ryan Bruss.
Poet Yuri Kageyama.
Percussionist Winchester Nii Tete.
Poetry at Kuraki Noh in Yokohama.
Dec. 6, 2008

More poetry and percussion on the Noh Stage

Little YELLOW Slut
Poetry by Yuri Kageyama
Kpanlogo percussion by Winchester Nii Tete

You know her:
That Little YELLOW Slut, proudly gleefully
YELLOW-ly hanging on Big Master’s arm,
War bride, geisha,
GI’s home away from home,
Whore for last samurai,
Hula dancer with seaweed hair,
Yoko Ohno,
Akihabara cafe maid,
Hi-Hi Puffy Ami/Yumi,
Kawaiiii like keitai,
Back-up dancer for Gwen Stefani,
Your real-life Second Life avatar
Eager to deliver your freakiest fetish fantasies,
Disco queen, skirt up the crotch,
Fish-net stockings, bow-legged, anorexic, raisin nipples, tip-toeing Roppongi on
Stiletto heels.

Yessu, i spikku ingrishhu, i raikku gaijeeen, they kiss you,
hold your hand, open doors for me,
open legs for you, giggling pidgin, covering mouth,
so happy to be
Little YELLOW Slut.

Everybody’s seen her:
That Little YELLOW Slut, waiting at
Home, cooking rice, the Japanese
Condoleezza Rice,
Smelling of sushi,
Breath and vagina,
Fish and vinegar,
Fermented rice,
Honored to be
Cleaning lady,
Flight attendant for Singapore Airlines,
Charlie Chan’s Angel,
Nurse maid, gardener, Japan-expert’s wife,
Mochi manga face,
Yodeling minyo, growling enka,
Sex toy, slant-eyes closed, licking, tasting, swallowing STD semen,
Every drop.

Yessu, i wanna baby who looohkuh gaijeen, double-fold eye, translucent skin, international school PTA,
maybe grow up to be fashion model, even joshi-ana,
not-not-not happy to be
Little YELLOW Slut.

I recognize her:
That Little YELLOW Slut, rejecting
Japanese, rejected by Japanese,
Empty inside,
They all look alike,
Faceless, hoping to forget, escape
To America,
Slant-eyed clitoris,
Adopted orphan,
Dream come true for pedophiles,
Serving sake, pouring tea, spilling honey,
Naturalized citizen,
Buying Gucci,
Docile doll,
Rag-doll, Miss Universe, manic harakiri depressive, rape victim, she is
You, she is me.

Hai, hai, eigo wakarimasen, worship Big Master for mind, matter, muscle, money, body size correlates to penis size,
waiting to be sexually harassed, so sorry, so many,
so sad to be
Little YELLOW Slut.

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.

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
TEL: 03-5919-0228
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

Photos by Takashi Itoh.

Talking Taiko

Winchester Nii Tete and I presented our collaborative pieces of poetry with music Sept. 28, 2008 at Bunga in Tokyo.
Photo by Takashi Itoh.

Winchester Nii Tete and Isaku Kageyama

This and more Good Music FRI Nov. 14 at Buddy.