Dec 29, 2011


While Sakaide Masami observing, Makigami Koichi played Shakuhachi in the Hikashu concert at National Drama Theatre, Golno-Altaysk, The Republic of Altai, on October 1, 2011.

This year, Makigami Koichi got a new bag to play with. It's Shakuhachi, a traditional vertical bamboo flute of Japan. Along with Shamisen and Koto, it is one of the most popular instruments for Hougaku, the generic term of traditional Japanese music. A wikipedia entry of Shakuhachi is here.

Shakuhachi has a long history. Some says its root could be traced back in 6th century. Legend has it that even Prince Umayado, a very famous Japanese politician from 6th century (wikipedia), played that one.

Shakuhachi also has an image closely connected with calmness, serenity, and tranquility. This is mostly because it has been traditionally played by Komuso (wikipedia), a school of Zen buddhist monk.

Shakuhachi is also widely used for contemporary music, in Japanese and western forms, especially classic and jazz.

Takemitsu Toru - Eclipse (1966), a composition for shakuhachi and biwa.

Yamamoto Hozan played Dave Brubeck's "Take Five." Yamamoto, living National Treasure appointed by Japanese Government, is one of the representative contemporary player of the instrument. He has also been very positive playing jazz, and has recorded with musicians like Helen Merill, Tony Scott, and Gary Peacock.

Kitajima Saburo - Yosaku. An immensely popular tune of 1978 by the great balladeer. Shakuhachi is often used for popular music and this one is a nice example.

In early 2011, Makigami prepared for the performance in Tuva in March for cultural exchange event, and he thought it's nice opportunity to start playing Shakuhachi because it's a representative instrument of Japanese music.

But his choice is unordinary - he got a shakuhachi made in plastic. Normally, Shakuhachi is made from bamboo. It was just recent that plastic shakuhachi was introduced. Certainly it has some merit; fairly affordable, its sound is bright, and most of all, it boasts outstanding durability. Shakuhachi is not easy to maintain - in particularly, it's very easy to crack if air humidity is low. This fragility is often problematical, especially for playing the instrument outside Japan. One need not to worry about that with plastic shakuhachi.

There's another problem; That is, shakuhachi is notorious being very hard to play. But this didn't apply to Makigami; he has been practicing a flute for more than 20 years (although he has never played it in public), and that helped a lot. He succeeded to made a sound immediately when he played it for the first time - and it's something exceptional. He soon started to use it at concert and recording, and we expect to listen to his shakuhachi playing on the forthcoming album of Hikashu which will be released in spring of 2012.

Makigami Koichi performed a voice shakuhachi with Ondar Mongun-ool in Tuva, March 2011.

Hikashu - Kawatteru (1996)

Hikashu - Kawatteru [Changing like Myxomycetes]

1. At the End of the 20th Century
2. Ningen No Kao [Human Faces]
3. Utaenai Uta [Unsingable Song]
4. Tengoku o Nozokitai [I Want to Grimpse the Heaven]
5. Teicho Na Omotenashi [Courteous Hospitality]
6. Pike
7. Mottainai Hanashi [A Waste of Inspiration]
8. Biro Biro
9. Chimera
10. Nihon No Egao [The Smiles of Japan and its 14 variations]

Makigami Koichi - vocal, cornet, jaw's harp
Mita Freeman - guitar
Nomoto Kazuhiro - reeds, flute
Torsten Rusch - sampler, piano
Yoshimori Makoto - synthesizers, piano, hammond organ, accordion
Sakaide Masami - bass
Niida Kozo - drums, percussions

Okura Shonosuke - otsuzumi
Isso Yukihiro - nokan, dengakubue
Yagi Michiyo - koto

The Drummers:
Kajiwara Tetsuya, Kobayashi Masayuki, Suzuki Toshiyuki, Tomita Kyoko - drums

Nagata Sachiko - marimba, percussions
Hasebe Novko - chorus
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava conducted by Robert Stankowsky

Recorded in September-November 1996

Released in December 1996
Remaster edition released on October 10, 2011

In 1996, Hikashu added two members, the drummer Niida Kozo and the keyboardist Yoshimori Makoto. So they became a septet. It is the biggest line-up in the history of the band, and "Kawatteru" is the one and only full album the band ever released.

"Kawatteru" is sort of the best album; it is a collection of new recordings of the songs selected from the band's entire catalogue. But all the arrangements is revised and some are so radically changed it succeeded to give a refresh impression on old songs.

For example, "At the End of the 20th Century" was recorded with five drummers playing simultaneously. This recording featured a group called "the Drummers," a percussion ensemble which Niida led at that time. Their participation gave the track thunderous effect.

"Ningen No Kao" features the instruments of Hogaku, the traditional Japanese music. This version was arranged by Makigami who intended to do "punk rock with traditional Japanese music feel." The result is a unique one indeed - you cannot hear the thing like this anywhere else.

"Nihon No Egao" has some delibarate variations of its theme composed by Torsten Rusch who also did the orchestration. This track was recorded in Slovakia - Mr. Rusch went to the country with the score and two ADAT recorders, managed to record the music with the orchestra in four hours, and returned to Tokyo. Then Makigami dubbed vocals.

Actually, the arrangement is pretty complicated and very hard to sing along. Of course Makigami nailed it but even he admitted it was difficult. Anyway it turned out to be a great reinterpretation of the composition which once seemed perfect and unchangeable. The whirling sounds coming out of orchestra is so thrilling.

The album's cover and artwork features the photos of myxomycetes. According to Makigami, myxomycetes and Hikashu has some resemblances in essence. Myxomycete could be categorized both animal and plant. It is a very strange being intrinsically - so is Hikashu.

The title's meaning - in Japanese, the word "Kawatteru" has two meanings: "strange; weird; peculiar" or "to change; to be transformed; to be metamorphosed." Makigami said both the meanings applied to the band, and the word was also appropriate for the album which is the re-recordings of the older tunes.

Certainly this album is so changing and so strange. But it's beautiful too. And, as usual, the remastering by Ono Seigen improved its sound a lot. A nice addition to your sound library. Grab while it's hot.

Available worldwide via HMV Japan. here

Related Entry:
Short Clip of "20th Century" (1996) a short PV from the album
What Happened in 1996 historical background of the album

What Happened in 1996

The year of 1996 looks prolific for Hikashu. There were three releases of the group related; "Retroactive" in August, "1978" in November, and "Kawatteru" in December. And one thing to be pointed out - all those releases were from Toshiba-EMI, one of the biggest labels in Japan, and the company which signed the band for their first record contract, back in 1979.

The contract expired in 1983, upon the release of a single "Watashi Wa Baka Ni Naritari" [I Want to Be Like a Fool]. In 1998, Makigami Koichi produced a tribute album of Kraftwerk for the label, and it included two tracks of Hikashu, but it was a one-shot deal.

In October 2011, the remaster edition of "Kawatteru" was issued and it included a note written by Makigami. It revealed some interesting facts so we would like to paraphrase it here for you. By the way, the note's title is "Why we had to re-record our old songs in late 1996 - What we really wanted to do at that time was to record a new album, and actually we tried to do that but didn't succeed."

In spring 1996, an A&R man from Toshiba-EMI approached the band. He had an idea - releasing a remix album of early Hikashu recordings by up-and-coming techno artists.

At that time, the band had no record contract. Their last release then was "Acchi No Me Kocchi No Me" [Dazzling Eyes] in 1993. In the meantime, they performed regularly and wrote new songs. In beginning of 1996, the band spent some time at studio and tried to make some demos for an album, with no particular label for release in mind.

So there was no contractual obstacle for that remix thing. At first, Makigami was dubious. To him, the whole idea just sounded not worthwhile. But he finally agreed and consented to access the original multi-track master by the remixers. He was still reluctant, but thought that it might attact new audience from younger generations. Also, there was a tacit understanding between them - if it turned out good, a new album might be recorded and released from the label.

Around that time, Makigami was preparing to release their famous demo tape from 1978 for themselves, but Toshiba-EMI undertook the title as a publisher. Then, releasing a best album was proposed. Makigami was hesitated to that idea, too. It just sounded silly to him, and his top priority was a new thing. But he agreed to do that in time. He dared to commit, hoped it to taking the band's turn for the better. There was a tacit understanding between them - if everything went good, a new album was to be recorded.

The remix album, entitled "Retroactive," released in August. It had nothing to do with the band, except being the original artist. All the Hikashu members did nothing on the album; selecting the artists for remix, supervising the sound and the artwork, all done by the record company.

"Retroactive," an ill-fated derivative

Makigami was not happy with the result. Actually, he disliked it and publicily said so. It was a understandable opinion because the album is just a remix for remix sake. Maybe good for the fans of the remix artists, but not for the original band's audience.

The following two releases were welcomed by the audience of the band, but that's it. Regarding the "Kawatteru" album, the band was so intent on making it but the commercial result was not satisfying. The A&R man looked unconvinced, the idea of recording new album fizzled out. And we had to wait another album from the band for ten years.

"I like being in band. Especially, I prefer band which plays a kind of music produced only by a close interaction between its members, to one-leader-and-the-rest thing." - Makigami Koichi, 2011

Related Entries:
Hikashu - 1978 (1996)
Hikashu - Kawatteru (1996)

The line-ups of Hikashu (Family Tree)

Formed in 1978, Hikashu has some changes in its personnel during their 30+ years of existence.

The following is a chronologically listing of various line-ups of the band. This is not strictly accurate, and provide here only for referential purposes. The work is still in progress, and subject to be revised any time when needed. Hope this helps.

Please note: "Release" is not complete, selected titles only.

Hikashu #0 (Winter 1977 to Summer 1978) also later known as Pre-Hikashu

Yamashita Yasushi (synthesizer), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), occasionally with 2-8? musicians on various ethnic instruments including Wakabayashi Tadahiro (sitar), Sakasegawa Seiji (tabla), and choirs

Pre-Hikashu (Transonic, 2004) a collection of live recordings in 1977-1978

Strictly speaking, this is the original Hikashu. The group played improvising ambient music, sometimes flavored with ethnic timbre. They had no leader, also the personnel and the instrumentation were always in flux (only Yamashita and Inoue were the permanent members). Dissolved after several performances in public, they had never been in recording studio, but some live recordings are survived and later issued. Pre-Hikashu is the name dubbed afterward for making a distinction of them from the -other- Hikashu. The partnership between Yamashita and Inoue still continues. Also, Wakabayashi and Sakasegawa has been active as musician and educator to this day.

Hikashu #1 (August 1978 to Fall 1980)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, bass, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Yamashita Yasushi (synthesizer), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Tobe Satoshi (alto saxophone, guitar)

This is the first line-up of Hikashu as we all know. From the start, contrary to Pre-Hikashu, the group had a leader, Makigami Koichi. All the members were Makigami's friends. At first he gathered them to make a musical accompaniment for his underground theater troup, Ulysses. They worked together nicely and Makigami decided to form a band instead of theatre, and concentrate on music. Upon a suggestion of Yamashita, the band called themselves Hikashu. In 1978, they rented a small house in residential area of west Tokyo, lived together, started composing, experimentating, and recording various demo tapes which were later issued as the 1978 album. Their communal living continued almost a year.

Hikashu (Toshiba EMI, 1980)
Natsu [Summer] (Toshiba EMI, 1980)
1978 (Toshiba EMI, 1996)

Hikashu #2 (Fall 1980 to late 1981)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, bass, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Yamashita Yasushi (synthesizer), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Tobe Satoshi (alto saxophone, guitar), Sensui Toshiro (drums)

There is a general impression that early Hikashu was a drumless group. But actually they employed several drummers at the first recording session for Toshiba-EMI in fall 1979, and started using a drummer for gigs in spring 1980.
Sensui Toshiro is a drummer, played for various new-wave bands including Halmens and 8 1/2, and he became the first regular drummer for Hikashu in autumn 1980. In late 1981, Tobe decided to quit the band, and retired from music.

Uwasa No Jinrui [The Human Being] (Toshiba EMI, 1981)

Hikashu #3 (early 1982 to late 1982)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, bass, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Yamashita Yasushi (synthesizer), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Sensui Toshiro (drums)

Minzoku No Saiten [Festival of Nations] (Toshiba EMI, 1982) Makigami's first solo album

In early 1982, Makigami recorded the first solo album with Hikashu, plus some guests.

In late 1982, Sensui decided to quit the group. Since his departure, the band had been using various drummers (and saxophonists). This mobilization of the personnel continued for several years.

Hikashu #4 (December 1982 to February 1983)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Yamashita Yasushi (synthesizer), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Sakaide Masami (bass)

Watashi Wa Baka Ni Naritai (Toshiba EMI, 1983) single
Watashi No Tanoshimi [My Pleasure] (Balcony, 1984) music for fashion show

Sakaide Masami, a young session musician, joined the group in December 1982. So Makigami no longer had to play bass and concentrate on vocal and cornet.

In Februrary 1983, Yamashita parted with the group and decided to pursue different direction of music. His partnership with Inoue continued under a new name, Inoyama Land.

Hikashu #5 (March 1983 to late 1984)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Sakaide Masami (bass)

Nihon No Egao [The Smiles of Japan] (Spinoza, 1983) maxi single
Mizu Ni Nagashite [Forget and Forgive] (Eggman, 1983)

Around this time, Inoue started solo activity called Godzilla Legend. It was a reinterpretation of the music from classic Japanese monster movies, and all the Hikashu members participated in it. The response for the project was enormous, and it spanned three albums and a video eventually.

Hikashu #6 (early 1985 to late 1988)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mitama Masamichi (guitar), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Sakaide Masami (bass), Nomoto Kazuhiro (reeds), Taniguchi Masaru (drums)

Soba De Yokereba (Balcony, 1985) instrumental music for a ballet troup
Ningen No Kao [Human Faces] (Crown, 1986)
Live (Puzzlin, 1988)

Nomoto and Taniguchi already took part in recording sessions of Hikashu circa late 1983. It could be interpreted that they officially joined the band in 1985, because "Soba De Yokereba," released in that year, they were credited as regular member.

Unfortunately, "Ningen No Kao" is the only full album by this line-up since Taniguchi suddenly passed away in 1988. It was a tremendous loss for the band. "Live," a selection from various live recordings in 1987-1988, was a release dedicated to his memories.

Hikashu #7 (early 1989 - late 1991)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mitama Masamichi / Mita Freeman (guitar), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Sakaide Masami (bass), Nomoto Kazuhiro (reeds), Tsuno Ken (drums), Otomo Yoshihide (turntables, 1990 only)

Teicho Na Omotenashi [Courteous Hospitality] (Vap, 1990)
Hanauta Hajime (Vap, 1991)

Tsuno, a young jazz drummer, joined the group. In 1990, Otomo came to play with the band through Nomoto, his old friend, and had been a regular member only during that year. Around 1991, Mitama Masamichi renamed himself as Mita Freeman.

Hikashu #8 (early 1992 - late 1995)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Nomoto Kazuhiro (reeds), Tsuno Ken (drums), Torsten Rasch (keyboard)

Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me [Dazzling Eyes] (Tokuma Communications, 1993)
Orguss 02 OST (Tokuma Communications, 1993) soundtrack for an animation series

Inoue, an original member, left the group. His replacement was Torsten Rasch from Germany.

Hikashu #9 (early 1996 - 2002)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Nomoto Kazuhiro (reeds), Torsten Rasch (keyboard), Niida Kozo (drums), Yoshimori Makoto (keyboard)

Kawatteru (Toshiba EMI, 1996)
Carp and Gazpacho (Makigami, 2009) maxi single, overdubbed in 2009

Circa 1995, Tsuno left the group. Niida Kozo, a veteran rock drummer mainly known for his tenure with a popular rock band called RC Succession, and Yoshimori, a young keyboard player, became the regular members.

Shortly after leaving the group in 2002, Nomoto passed away by cancer. In the same year, Yoshimori left the band too.

Hikashu #10 (2003 - late 2004)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet, theremin), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Niida Kozo (drums), Shimizu Kazuto (keyboard, bass clarinet), Sato Masaharu (percussion)

Torsten Rasch decided to go back to Germany, then Makigami recruited Shimizu and Sato. They were veteran musicians, mainly known for their activities in progressive rock and improvised music scene. So, for a while the group had two percussionists. Then Niida left the group in late 2004.

Around this time Makigami started playing a theremin in public, after several years of preparation.

Hikashu #11 (early 2005 -)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, cornet, theremin), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (keyboard, bass clarinet), Sato Masaharu (drums)

Ten Ten (Makigami, 2006)
Ikirukoto (Makigami, 2008)
Ten Ten Ten (Makigami, 2009)

This is the current line-up of Hikashu. The history continues.

Dec 28, 2011


Charan-Po-Rantan is a sisters duo, consists of an accordionist and a singer, formed in July 2009. They performed at the Hikashu's Tokyo concert on December 25, 2011.

Koharu, the older sister, was interested in accordion at the tender age of 7. Soon she got a one for herself and started to play. Since then, as a proficient musician, she has got many awards. For example, she was chosen as the best Japanese player of the year at Roland's v-accordion contest in 2009. Shortly thereafter, she teamed up with her younger sister, Momo, to form a duo and billed themselves Charan-Po-Rantan.

Now they have been active as a live unit mainly in Tokyo area. In August 2010, Charan-Po-Rantan released their first album "Tada Soredake," recorded with a brass group called CanCan Balcan. The album is available worldwide via HMV Japan - see here.

Charan-Po-Rantan Official Site (Japanese)

Charan-Po-Rantan with Cancan Balkan - "Mustafa" A cover of a traditional Egyptian folk song called "Ya Mustapha." Japanese singer Sakamoto Kyu made this song a hit in 1961.

Charan-Po-Rantan - "Hymne à l'amour" on April 24, 2011 Yokohama.

Charan-Po-Rantan plays their original composition called "Jinsei No Parade" [Parade of Life]

Charan-Po-Rantan - "Parade of Life" video

Jintara-Mvta, Charan-Po-Rantan, and Cancan Balkan - "Lively and Happy" January 31, 2012 at Star Pine's cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo.

Koharu plays a series of popular tunes. See hear her virtuosity of button accordion. She was just eighteen years old then.

Dec 5, 2011

Kyushu tour 2012 announced

It just announced that Hikashu will do a Kyushu (wikipedia) tour in January next year.

The dates are:

January 27 - AT Hall, Oita
January 28 - Space Terra, Fukuoka
January 29 - Voodoo Lounge, Fukuoka
January 30 - CIB, Kumamoto

January 27, 2012
AT Hall
@ Oita
other acts: Akashi Momoka and others
open 19:00 start 19:30
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

(one drink order minimum)

AT Hall, Oita

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January 28, 2012
Space Terra
@ Fukuoka
start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)

ticket now avilable via Ticket Pia

Space Terra, Fukuoka

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January 29, 2012
Voodoo Lounge
@ Fukuoka
other acts: nontroppo, Kurachi Fumio, Adachi Sendensha, Denshi Takuan
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen
(one drink order minimum)

for inquiries, mail at (in Japanese)

VooDoo Lounge, Fukuoka

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January 30, 2012
Restaurant Bar CIB
@ Kumamoto
opening act: the Fruits
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)

for inquiries, mail at (in Japanese)

Restaurant Bar CIB, Kumamoto

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Dec 4, 2011

The 45 minutes restrained exhilaration - Makigami Koichi interpretation of Christian Marclay's Manga Scroll

Christian Marclay's Manga Scroll
interpreted by Makigami Koichi
October 22, 2011
@ BankART studio NYK

The place was packed. A corner of the ground floor, a huge warehouse at seaside in Yokohama. It was like a spacious gallery, but the ceiling was exceptionally high, and there was no art piece hanging on the wall.

There were about 50 people sitting on chair, and they was surrounded by more people standing. Everybody was gazing a man at the bottom of the space. The man was Makigami Koichi, dressed in all black, making various non-verbal noises out from his vocal apparatus, while watching a wide paper in front of him. And everybody was silent and watching the man anxiously, including the author, Christian Marclay himself, who sat in the first row.

It was a premiere performance of Marclay's grandiose piece called "Manga Scroll" in Japan. Manga Scroll is a collage work. The author choose many onomatopoeia in comics, all from translations of Japanese comics, then placed them on a scroll which is 18 meters (60 feet) long. For public performance, a vocalist is to recite onomatopoeia watching on "the score," while two assistants are to roll up the scroll.

For the Japanese premiere, Makigami Koichi was chosen as a performer. It was taken as a matter of course. For such an important task, undoubtedly, he is one of the best persons around. Besides being a world-class vocal performer himself, he started a singing career professionally as a lead vocalist of a band called Hikashu, and the band's early repertoire included songs having onomatopoeia as its title, namely "Puyo Puyo" and "Doro Doro." Such conduct is pretty unusual, even for Japanese, and he has been singing them for over thirty years.

The event itself formed part of a big art event called Yokohama Art Triennale, and the demand was high. The numbered ticket for entrance started passing out a few hours before the event. People made a waiting line before then, and the tickets were quickly gone.

Apparently there was overwhelming demand, and the staff had to deal with the problem. And their action was pretty appropriate; They changed the policy to admission free.

So the place was congested. Everybody was quiet, but there was heated atmosphere.

It was a quite challenge, even for Makigami. He had to see the score while performing. His solo performance is usually based on improvisation, and the piece was exceptionally long, and written in English.

Eventually, the performance continued for 45 minutes. Many performers did the piece in the past, but most of them did it for about 15 minutes. Makigami's performance is one of the longest - probably only second to Phil Minton, who did it for an hour.

When Makigami finished it, there was a huge applause.

Fter the performance, the audience was allowed to see the piece in close, while the assistants rolling back it, and the people quickly flocked around it. It was like a graphic score. The characters were pretty decorated, and partly patterned. There were parts more than one stream of words. Although the piece was a reproduction, prepared for public performance, it showed clearly what it was like.

Shortly after the performance, Makigami and Marclay were interviewed with journalists on the spot. Marclay was apparently glad - his response seemed positive. The people stayed there for long time, conversing what they just experienced, while seeing the piece. And that's how it ended. It was truly the event of a lifetime.

Now an exhibition of the Marclay's works being held at Gallery Konayagi of Ginza. You can see "Manga Scroll," the real one, for yourself there.

"Christian Marclay: Scrolls"
October 25 - December 22, 2011
@ Gallery Koyanagi
Ginza, Tokyo

Note: closed on Mondays, Sundays, and national holidays
Gallery Koyanagi website (in English and Japanese)

Gallery Koyanagi, Ginza

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There is an article about the event. It was in Japanese but you can see some photos of the event. here.

Nov 18, 2011

The Intense Christmas Legend

"Godzilla, Radioactivity, Hikashu ... The Intense Christmas Legend"
December 25, 2011 (Sunday)
@ Daikanyama UNIT
open 17:00 - start 18:00
adv 4,000 yen
Ticket be available on November 19, 2011
via Ticket Pia (154-397), Ticket Lawson (78667), e+, Gamban
For inquiries, call SMASH at 03-3444-6751 SMASH website


Hikashu with Inoue Makoto
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin, cornet), Mita Freeman (guitar, vocal), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass-clarinet), Sato Masaharu (drums), Inoue Makoto (synthesizer)

Godzilla Legend
Inoue Makoto (synthesizer), Makigami Koichi (vocal), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (piano), Sato Masaharu (drums), Fuwa Daisuke (bass), Yoshigaki Yasuhiro (drums), Tatsumi Mitsuhide (trumpet), Yoshida Ryuichi (baritone saxophone), Koharu (accordion, vocal), Momo (vocal)

Special Session
Yoshigaki Yasuhiro [Vincent Atomics, Orquesta Nudge! Nudge!, ROVO etc.) wikipedia
Fuwa Daisuke [Shibusashirazu Orchestra] wikipedia
Mukai Shutoku [Zazen Boys] wikipedia
Tabu Zombie [Soil & "Pimp" Sessions] wikipedia

Koharu (accordion, vocal), Momo (vocal)

Semba Yuki

Since 2008, the year-end concert with guest artists has been an annual event for Hikashu, and as always, this year the roster is pretty impressive. Hikashu will be augmented with Inoue Makoto, an original member. Godzilla Legend, led by Inoue, will be also an extended line-up, with female choruses and all. Special Session with the members from the internationally-known bands is the first time performance, and it'll probably never be united again, an only-for-this-time formation. Charan-Po-Rantan is a bright singer-accodionist unit by real sisters, and Semba Yuki is that lady, graced the front cover of the "Hanauta Hajime" album.

Without a doubt, this will be an incredible night. The ticket will be on sale tomorrow. Be sure not to miss!

Daikanyama UNIT, Tokyo

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Nov 3, 2011

Currents: Winter 2011

Here's some updates about Hikashu.

The November Concert in Kichijoji: On November 15, Hikashu will perform at Star Pine's Cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo. Although the band did a few gigs in October, it will be the first full-set concert since the Russia Siberia tour. So naturally we can expect their reminiscences about the tour, plus some tunes from the forthcoming album. A must-see for any fans.

November 15, 2011
"Hikashu's Autumn, 2011"
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
adv 3,600 yen - at door 4,000 yen
(one drink order minimum)
Ticket now available via eplus or SPC office

Star Pine's Cafe

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The Reissue Project Continues: This winter it is planned that three albums of Hikashu from 1990s get reissued.

"Kawatteru," a 1996 effort, has already released on October 10 and available now. It is the sort of the best album - the band picked up some tunes from their repertoire, got them rearranged and rerecorded.

Maybe it sounds horrible, but do not misunderstand. It's not a hacked job, like ones done only for an A&R man's favor. The album is not like that at all. Yes, it's a commissioned work from the record company, but Hikashu gave remarkable treatment for their older songs. You'll be surprised that the familiar tunes of the band are radically, and successfully, changed. It's also an important work for being the sole full album by the late 1990s formation of the band, so-called "the Niida-Yoshimori period." And even the cover artwork is redone for the reissue. Get while it's hot. Available worldwide via HMV Japan here.

The other two albums, "Teicho Na Omotenashi" (1990), and "Hanauta Hajime" (1991) will be released on December 1, 2011. HMV Japan already lists them too. See here and here.

And the New One: Then you might ask, "what about the new one?" Yes, we have announced here some months ago that the new album is near. We are sorry to say that, to begin from the conclusion, we cannot say anything concrete about it at this stage. We don't know any release plan or which songs will be in it. No information except "it will be out soon."

The recording for the album is completed. They have spent some time in studio since last summer, and in March this year, they recorded some tunes (and improvisations) at EastSide Sound Studio of New York City with Marc Urselli, the Grammy-awarded engineer, and the session for the new album is finished with that. Now they have enough recorded material to fill an album. So we assume that they are being in the process of selecting material.

The band knows we're anxiously awaiting and they're working on it. Give them some more time and see what happens. It will be surely great one.

The Christmas Concert: The year's end concert, a regular annual event of the band, is planned for this year and just officially announced. It will be held at Daikanyama UNIT in Tokyo on December 25, 2011. The precendent concerts were all featured some guest artists and the same goes for this year. And lots of them, including the extended Inoue Makoto's Godzilla Legend Ensemble, with female vocalist and all. This will be definitely an once for all event so be sure not to miss it. More on this later.

The Kyushu Tour 2012: It's likely that the band will tour the Kyushu Islands in January next year. Right now only two dates are informed - January 28 and 29 in Fukuoka, the largest city of the islands. The venue is unknown and maybe some more dates will be added. We'll let you know when more info is available so stay tuned.

Oct 31, 2011

The Living Room Trio Danish Tour with Makigami Koichi

Starting this week, the Living Room Trio, a Nordic jazz unit, will tour in Denmark and they invited Makigami Koichi for the tour.

The dates are:

November 1 - Odense
November 2 - Århus
November 3 - Wundergrund Festival, Copenhagen
November 4 - Makigami's voice workshop at Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium, Copenhagen

Note: some sources says that November 1 is Århus and November 2 is Odense. Be sure to check beforehand.

The Living Room Trio was formed by three Nordic musicians in 2009. The members are:

Torben Snekkestad - saxophone
Thomas Strønen - drums
Søren Kjærgaard - keyboard

Makigami has already played with the trio in Norway so this tour is a sort of reunion for them.

This time it will also be held a voice workshop of Makigami at a music school in Copenhagen, called Rytmisk Musikkonservatorium (Rhythmic Music Conservatory). It is a rare opportunity for European students so check it out. The institute's site is here (Danish, English).

Regarding the tour, refer to the following quote from the Wundergrund site:

The Living Room moves in playful shuttle between superior improvisational abilities and lyrical tonal experimenting. The trio consists of three of the most highly profiled musicians, pianist Søren Kjærgaard, drummer Thomas Strønen and saxophonist Torben Snekkestad, and tonight they are extraordinarily visited by none less than Japanese vocal artist Koichi Makigami. Makigami has worked with John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Otomo Yoshihide and David Moss, and is known for his abnormal, vocal span combining age-old Japanese throat-singing techniques with experimental improvisational patterns. There will also be an album-release of the debut album from The Living Room, published at ILK.

Wundergrund Festival (English)
The Living Room Trio Official Site (English)
The Living Room Trio MySpace

Oct 19, 2011

Christian Marclay's "Manga Scroll" Japan Premiere

This weekend, a Christian Marclay's piece, entitled "Manga Scroll," will be performed in Yokohama. It is to be held as a part of the Yokohama Triennale and this is the premiere performance of the piece in Japan.

The work requires a vocalist, and the one whom chosen is no other than Makigami Koichi.

The concept of the work is that the performer is to express oneself with voice while reading various words in the score, which is a long scroll with graphical onomatopoeias.

Christian Marclay's "Manga Scroll"
performed by Makigami Koichi on voice
October 22, 2011
at Bank Art mini
open 18:20, start 18:40
attendance: 50 people only
Note: The numbered ticket for entrance is to be issued on 16:00 at the venue. To obtain the ticket, you have to show a ticket of Yokohama Triennale 2010.

For the venue and access information, see the official site of the Triennale.

Yokohama Triennale 2011 official site (in English)

See the following clips to get what it's actually like.

We all know this kind of thing is Makigami's field of expertise indeed.

One more thing: Wallpaper, a UK's art magazine, will feature a lengthy article about Marclay in current issue and Makigami contributed it, along with the people like David Moss, Phil Minton, and Shierry Hirsch.

Wallpaper Magazine

The Russian Siberia Tour Completed

The Russian Siberia tour successfully finished.

Except for Makigami, all the members visited the country for the first time. They are utterly impressed with the people and the country, and hope to revisit there in the near future.

Sep 22, 2011

Alexey Aygi - special guest of the Moscow concert

alexei aygi

Alexey Aygi is a violinist and a composer based in Moscow. He's known to be a member of a musical group called Ensemble 4'33 and wrote a lot of film music.
He was scheduled to play in Japan in mid March but it didn't happen for the reasons we all know.

His playing is so fierce and explosive as you could see it from the video clips as follows.

With him, the first Moscow concert of Hikashu will surely a great one.

Related Entries:
DOM in Moscow
The Russia-Siberia Tour

Sep 10, 2011

Jazz Byobu After Dark

Club Jazz Byobu, "the smallest jazz venue in the world" operated only at Jazz Art Sengawa, are mainly placed outside during daytime. After the dusk comes, the byobu would be moved inside the Sengawa Theatre and opened for musicians.

The video quoted here is recorded on July 11, 2010 - the last day of the year's festival. The musicians, including Mita Freeman and Shimizu Kazuto from Hikashu, were jamming and amused themselves.

Club Jazz Byobu continues this year. Experience the intimacy with musicians, and nice acoustics of the space.

Related Entry:
Jazz Art Sengawa 2011

Sep 8, 2011

Shiraishi Kazuko - the Great Dame of Japanese Literature

It has been known that Jazz Art Sengawa features literary figures in its program. The tradition continues this year: Jazz Art Sengawa 2011 has a reading of Shiraishi Kazuko.

Simply put, she is one of leading poet in Japan. Her work is renowned outside the country and many of her pieces are translated in English and other languages.

She is also known to be deeply connected in jazz. She wrote about the music many times and performed with jazz musicians in public.

Recently turned 80, she is alive and kicking. Her voice is strong, her presence is so huge, and her reading is eloquent and imaginative.

For those who are interested, there are biographies of her in English available online:

Kazuko Shiraishi - Poetry International Web

Kazuko Shiraishi — internationales literaturfestival berlin

There is an interesting article about herself and her connection with jazz in Japan Times:

POETRY'S LONE STAR Kazuko Shiraishi does it her way (Japan Times)

Don't miss the opportunity. Just come to Jazz Art Sengawa this friday and listen to Shiraishi Kazuko, the Great Dame of Japanese Literature.

Related Entry:
Jazz Art Sengawa 2011

Jazz Art Sengawa 2010 video digest

The video clip of Jazz Art Sengawa 2010 is just surfaced.

The following is the listing of the people in the clip, in order of appearance:

Art Parade

Tanikawa Shuntaro (poetry) at Jazz Byobu

Tanikawa Shuntaro (poetry), Tanikawa Shunsaku (piano) plus Sasaki Mikio Voice Space

Haco (vocal, electronics), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello), Arai Ryoji (live painting)

Nanao Tavito (vocal, guitar), Makigami Koichi (voice)

Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass), Komatsu Reiko (percussion)

Umezu Kazutoki (alto saxophone), Tanaka Min (butoh), Yamashita Yosuke (piano)

Right now there is only the video of day one uploaded. We'll post here if the clips of other days are available online.

Jazz Art Sengawa 2011 is coming this weekend. See here for information.

Aug 17, 2011

DOM in Moscow

On September 23, Hikashu will perform at the DOM cultural center in Moscow, Russia.

There is already a notification of the event in the center's site: (Russian) (English)

DOM was founded in May 1999. Its aim is to present performing arts, especially avant-garde and ethnic music.

In November 2000, Makigami Koichi performed there as a duo with a pianist Hojito Ryoji. It turned out quite a success, much-acclaimed performance. In 2002, the recording from the concert was released as an album called "Idu Tuda - Over That Way" by Long Arm, the recording company based in Moscow.

Idu Tuda - Makigami Koichi & Hojito Ryoji

There is an article in English about the history of the center by a DOM's staff:

Official culture centers of parallel cultural activity

To the fans in Europe: How about considering to attend the DOM show? Moscow could be reached by about 4-hours flight from most major cities in Europe. It's uncertain when the band come to Europe next time and it's a nice chance to see them in action.

DOM Cultural Center
Bolshoi Ovchinnikovsky Pereulok, 24,
building 4
113184 Moscow
Tel: 7 095 953 72 36
Fax: 7 095 953 72 42

DOM Cultural Center, Moscow

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Aug 16, 2011

The reissue project reconvenes

Since the re-release of the remastered "Ningen No Kao" album last December, there has been no release from the band. And finally we'll see some, very interesting material.

The reissue project of Hikashu will reopen this fall and it's going to be a huge deal. Three albums have already been remastered and now waiting to be released.

In October, the "Kawatteru" will be reissued. Originally released in 1996, it's a sort of the best album, the popular tunes of the band were re-recorded with new arrangement, and some of them were drastically altered. It contains "Pike" "Ningen No Kao" "At the End of the 20th Century" "Teicho Na Omotenashi (Courteous Hospitality)", "Biro Biro" et al. It's notable that it comes with a booklet containing English translation of the lyrics.

The other two titles are also to be out later this year.

"Hanauta Hajime" is the album originally released in 1991 and features the original version of the ever-popular track, "Biro Biro." It's very jazzy album, and filled with ungrounded, impenetrable happiness. Pastoral. Or some might feel it's euphoric. Anyway, this is their representative piece of work in 1990s, so you have to get a copy.

"Teicho Na Omotenashi" is the 1990 effort and it opens with a 5-minutes totally improvisational piece of music called "Kashiwade" (The Clap). The title track is a very tight, immaculately constructive funk tune, penned by Mitama Masamichi. An album cut "Chimera" set the album's tone - dark, serious and monotonous, in a good sense. Also "Daikoukai" (The Grand Voyage), written by Inoue Makoto, is outstanding - its grandiosity only rivals to "Nihon No Egao," the other masterpiece of Mr. Inoue.

Of course, all the titles are remastered by Ono Seigen under the supervision of the members and come with a cardboard paper sleeve.

Those 1990s albums are hard to find for a while and it's advisable to get them as soon as possible. In fact, some recent reissues are now scarce and not available, especially the "Hikashu Super" album (Fortunately, the album is going to be pressed again but it takes some time.) So get them while supplies last.

Aug 15, 2011

The Russia-Siberia Tour

It's official. Hikashu just announced that they set to embark on a Siberia tour at the end of this summer. The dates are:

September 23 - DOM, Moscow (guest: Alexey Aygi on violin)
September 27 - Kyzyl, Tuva (guest: the Masters of Khoomei)
September 30 - Altai (with Bolot Bairyshev)
October 1 - The National Drama Theatre, Gorno-Altaisk, Altai (with Bolot Bairyshev)
October 3 - a camping site near Gorno-Altaisk, Altai (the band will perform at a cultural event as guest)
October 4 - Club Agarta, Balnaul (with Bolot Bairyshev) venue info
October 5 - Club Tass, Novosibirsk (with Bolot Bairyshev) venue info

(note: the tour info updated on September 14)

This is the first time to be in Russia for the band. Makigami has been visiting the Siberia region every year since early 1990s, but the band themselves have never been in the country.

It's also the first time for the band to play with throat-singers. Especially a gig with Bolot Bairyshev is notable. He has been a frequent collaborator with Makigami and Sato for years, and throughly interesting to see him perform with the band. It's gonna be a majestic show.

Take the opportunity and experience the band!

Related Entry:
DOM in Moscow

Hikashu in Shibuya, 2011

Jul 9, 2011

Jazz Art Sengawa 2011

The 4th Jazz Art Sengawa, simply the best Jazz and Improvising Music event for the advanced minded in Japan, will be held on September 9-11 in Chofu, Tokyo. The producers are Makigami Koichi, Fujiwara Kiyoto and Sakamoto Hiromichi.

The festival will take place at the three venues in Sengawa: Sengawa Theatre, Kick Back Cafe and Jenny's Kitchen.

The ticket plan is much simpler this year. You buy tickets for each day and it's valid for all the venue, all the program (there are some exceptions - see notes below)

The line-up, which shown below, is a killer.

September 9, Friday

@ Sengawa Theatre

Art Parade

Opening Ceremony

Shiraishi Kazuko (poetry reading), Ino Nobuyoshi (bass), Makigami Koichi (theremin)

Hosoe Hidenori (photo screening), Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass), Umezu Kazutoki (reeds), Yoshida Ryuichi (baritone saxophone), Ono Yoshito (butoh)

@ Kick Back Cafe

Sato Masaharu and his friends - Jazz Art Special
Sato Masaharu (drums, voice, guitar), Ota Keisuke (violin, voice), Kido Natsuki (guitar), Kira Tomohiko (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Yanagiya Koharu (shamisen, vocal), Izumi Kunihiro (alto saxophone)

September 10, Saturday

@ Sengawa Theatre

Voice Play for Children
Hachiya Maki (voice), Rocket Matsu (keyboard), Ishikawa Koji (percussion)

Saito Ryo (drums), Kouketsu Masayo (alto saxophone), Suga Dairo (piano), Sato Erika (bass), Atami Houko (secrecy)

Christian Pruvost (trumpet), Tamura Natsuki (trumpet), Fujii Satoko (piano), Peter Orins (drums)

Free Improvising Open Session moderated by the producers #1

Fujiwara Kiyoto Jump Monk Bass Band Special (Jump Monk BBS)
Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass), Kuriyama Yuuki (trumpet), Miyaki Kensuke (baritone saxophone), Hirose Mariko (guitar), Ito Kazuki (guitar), Matuyama Osamu (drums), Endo Osamu (bass), Kakimoto Ronri (bass), Suzuki Hajime (bass), Kato Hisashi (bass)

Sakai Shun (vocal), Ishibashi Eiko (vocal, piano), Yamamoto Tatsuhisa (drums), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

Hikashu with Fujiwara Daisuke
Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin, cornet), Mita Freeman (guitar, vocal), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass clarinet), Sato Masaharu (drums), Fujiwara Daisuke (tenor saxophone)

@ Kick Back Cafe

Arai Ryoji (guitar, vocal), Moon Mama aka Pika (guitar, vocal, drums), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

NON BAND - Hirosaki Unit
NON (bass, vocal), Ishida Hajime (guitar), Tsushima Shouta (percussion) with the guests: Tamagishi Rinnnosuke, Tamagaki Mitsuru, Sasaki Emi

@ Jenny's Kitchen

Oncenth Trio
Kurita Taeko (piano), Iwami Keigo (bass), Ikezawa Ryusaku (drums)

Hachiya Maki (voice), Rocket Matsu (keyboard), Ishikawa Koji (percussion)

Soejima Teruto Jazz Art Talk Session "Japanese Free Jazz and the World"

Giovanni Di Domenico (piano), Takaoka Daisuke (tuba) duo

September 11, Sunday

@ Sengawa Theatre

Sunday Matinée Concert:
Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

Free Improvising Open Session moderated by the producers #2

Yagi Michiyo Double Trio
Yagi Michiyo (koto), Tanaka Noritaka (drums), Sugawa Takashi (bass, cello), Honda Tamaya (drums), Todd Nicholson (bass)

Sakata Akira (reeds, vocal), Jim O'Rourke (guitar), Pika (drums, voice), Takaoka Daisuke (tuba)

Sato Masahiko (piano), Ota Keisuke (violin, voice), Imabori Tsuneo (guitar), Makigami Koichi (voice, theremin)

John Zorn's Cobra "Sengawa Operation" Kanda Yoshiko Unit
Arima Sumihisa (computer), Ohishi Masanori (saxophone), Kanda Yoshiko (percussion), Kinowaki Dougen (flute), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello), Sato Masahiko (piano), Shiba Tesu (pianica), Tanaka Yumiko (gidayu, shamisen), Nakamura Hitomi (hichiriki), Hashimoto Shinya (tuba), Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass), Matudaira Takashi (baritone saxophone), Honda Tamaya (drums), Makigami Koichi (prompter)

@ Jenny's Kitchen

Izumi Kunihiro (alto saxophone) solo

Katayama Hiroaki (tenor saxophone), Fujikake Masataka (drums), Makigami Koichi (voice, theremin)

Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello), Kita Naoki (violin), Pearl Alexander (bass)

Sakata Akira (alto saxophone) solo

1 day Ticket:
4,000 yen for September 9
5,000 yen each for September 10 and 11
The 1-day ticket applies for all program (except "Voice Play for Children" on September 11, which required 500 yen separately - Free admission for children under 5 years old. Free Improvising Open Session and Sunday Matinee Concert are admission free.). The prices here are for advance - plus 500 yen each at door.

Sep 7 update: 1 day ticket for September 11 (Sunday) is now sold out. You can still buy the ticket for each program of the day. Its price is 2,500 yen and available at the Sengawa Theatre office (open at 10:00 AM). The quantities are strictly limited (and each person can buy up to 2 tickets only), so come early.

Please note: you can't see the shows if you have just the 1-day ticket only! You need both a pass (issued for each day) and a numbered ticket (issued for each program).

To see the shows, follow the step:

1. Exchange your 1-day ticket with the day's pass at the Sengawa Theatre office. Don't hurry - You should get the pass if you have the day's ticket.

2. Get a numbered ticket for the program you'd like to see, at the venue of the program. If you want a good seat, be in a hurry - it's "first come, first served" basis.

3. Wait in a line at the venue. When your turn comes, show your pass and numbered ticket at the entrance.

The 1-day tickets are now available at Sengawa Theatre office. For details, call the office at 03-3300-0611 (Japanese Only)

Here's the manifest for this year's festival;

Get back the life!
That's the theme for the festival this year.
It's a core of improvisational performance;
Disappear when it's born,
and bore when it disappears;
It's a sense of magic.
Pump up the shrinked world.
Fill up the earth with the vitality.
The music is not to heal.
The music is not to help.
The music is not to deceive.
The music is not to be over.
The music is not to de defeated.
The music is to stir up the soul.
The soul of jazz refuses to be an economic slave.
The future is here.
Or try to pretend a prophet who says;
There comes a time generating electricity with music.

Makigami Koichi

Jazz Art Sengawa official site (in Japanese)

Sengawa Theatre

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Kick Back Cafe, Sengawa

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Jenny's Kitchen, Sengawa

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Related Entries:
Jazz Byobu After Dark
Jazz Art Sengawa 2010
Jazz Art Sengawa

Jul 2, 2011

An electro rendition of Puyo Puyo

プヨプヨ by Les Rois Tourbillonnants

I just found that les Rois Tourbillonnants, a French electro unit, did a cover of Puyo Puyo.

Surprisingly, they sang it in Japanese. A nice effort.

Jun 10, 2011

Mori Ikue 'Kibyoshi' Japan Tour

Next week, Makigami Koichi will participate in the Japan tour of Mori Ikue's "Kibyoshi" performance.

It's a mixed media presentation based on Kibyoshi, a genre of Japanese picture book produced from 1775 to the early 18th century (wikipedia).

About 20 years ago, John Zorn gave her a book regarding Kibyoshi and she was soon fascinated with it. She vaguely envisioned for making a piece of work about it some day. In 2000, she started making music and animation with computer. At first she used a Bali art for motif and gradually turned to her roots, Japanese Culture. "Kibyoshi" is the latest project she committed.

For "Kibyoshi" DVD, Mori created animation and laid the basic tracks for herself, then Makigami and Marc Nauseef overdubbed their parts.

In this tour, Mori and Makigami are the regular member, and there are some musicians participated as guest so the personel is different for each date.

The tour dates are:

June 15 - Oriental Hotel Chapel, Hiroshima
June 16 - Dainana Geijutsu Gekijo, Osaka
June 17 - Uplink Theatre, Shibuya, Tokyo
June 18 - Uplink Theatre, Shibuya, Tokyo
June 19 - Cinema Maebashi, Maebashi, Gunma
June 21 - Hinoki Charity Hall, Yugawara, Kanagawa
June 22 - Shimokitazawa Alley Hall, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

The work and performance sound pretty interesting and it's surely a must-see.

June 15, 2011
@ Oriental Hotel Chapel
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Yoshimi (percussions)
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen
call for reservation at 082-240-9463 (in Japanese) 11:00-20:00

Oriental Hotel, Hiroshima

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June 16, 2011
@ Dainana Geijutsu Gekijo
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Yoshimi (percussions)
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
Tickets now available at Ticket Pia

Dainana Geijutsu Gekijo, Osaka

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June 17, 2011
@ Uplink Theatre
Shibuya, Tokyo
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar, daxophone), Jim O'Rouke (guest)
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 2,500 yen - at door 3,000 yen

June 18, 2011
@ Uplink Theatre
Shibuya, Tokyo
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar, daxophone), Nakahara Masaya (guest)
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 2,500 yen - at door 3,000 yen

Uplink Theatre, Shibuya, Tokyo

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June 19, 2011
@ Cinema Maebashi
Maebashi, Gunma
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar, daxophone)
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
call for reservation at 027-231-8000 (in Japanese)

Cinema Maebashi, Gunma

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June 21, 2011
@ Hinoki Charity Hall
Yugawara, Kanagawa
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar, daxophone), Motonaga Taku (shakuhachi), Kanda Yoshiko (percussion)
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen (student 1,000 yen)

Hinoki Charity Hall, Yugawara

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June 22, 2011
@ Shimokitazawa Alley Hall
Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
personnel: Mori Ikue (animation, electronics), Makigami Koichi (narration, theremin, mouth harp), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (guitar, daxophone), Motonaga Taku (shakuhachi), Kanda Yoshiko (percussion), Jim O'Rourke (synthesizer)
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 4,300 yen - at door 4,800 yen

Shimokitazawa Alley Hall, Tokyo

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note: Jim O'Rourke (June 17) and Nakahara Masaya (June 18) are talk session participants and will not perform.

Godzilla Legend 2009

Tomoda Shingo, the drummer of the Godzilla Legend concert in this June, also uploaded a set of clips from the Godzilla Legend performance in 2009.

In some of the clips, the percussions are rather high in the mix. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the event was originally planned for demonstrating Highleads, an electric drum kit which Tomoda designed.

Related entry:
The Godzilla Legend Concert in Kichijoji

The Godzilla Legend Concert in Kichijoji

This month, Inoue Makoto will play a set of the repertoire that he loved most, the soundtrack from the early monster movies including Godzilla. It will be held as an attraction of the film festival called "Bakuon Film Festival."

The performance itself will be a 40 minutes set and then a screening of the first Godzilla movie follows.

Tomoda Shingo, the drummer, uploaded a video from a rehearsal for the concert. In it he played Highleads, a percussion kit which he designed.

In 2009, Inoue did a small gig of his Godzilla music for the first time in over 20 years. It wasn't much publicized and many fans didn't even notice it. It's unsure he will do it again near future, so don't miss the opportunity.

June 27, 2011
"Godzilla" with the Godzilla Legend Concert
Inoue Makoto (synthesizer)
Tomoda Shingo (Highleads electric drums)
Yoshida Tomomi and Bukimisha (choir)
@ Baus Theatre
Kichijoji, Tokyo
20:15 open - 20:30 start
adv 2,500 yen
Tickets now available via Ticket Pia

Kichijoji Baus Theatre

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Jun 4, 2011

Das Nasobem and Hi-Ai-Ai Island

In the 2011 spring tour, Hikashu regularly played "Hi-Ai-Ai Island," an album cut from the 1988 "Ningen No Kao" album. The song was revived at their gig after a long absence.

The arrangement was basically the same with the live version found in "Hikashu History," but this time it preceded a recitation of a poem by Mita Freeman. The poem is "Das Nasobēm" by Christen Morgenstern (wikipedia). Mita read it in original German.

Das Nasobēm

Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
einher das Nasobēm,
von seinem Kind begleitet.

Es steht noch nicht im Brehm.
Es steht noch nicht im Meyer.
Und auch im Brockhaus nicht.

Es trat aus meiner Leyer
zum ersten Mal ans Licht.

Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
(wie schon gesagt) seitdem,
von seinem Kind begleitet,
einher das Nasobēm.

The Nasobame

Striding on its noses
there comes the Nasobame,
with its young in the tow.

It isn't yet in Brehm's
It isn't yet in Meyer's
And neither in Brockhaus'

It trotted out of my lyre
when it came first to light.

Striding on its noses
thereon (as I've said above),
there goes the nasobame.

The lyrics of the song, penned by Makigami, was based on a strange book called "Bau und Leben der Rhinogradentia" by Harald Stümpke (wikipedia). It's about Hana Aruki, an imaginary creature described in the book. "Hana Aruki" is the Japanese name, endowed by Hidaka Toshitaka, the renowned scientist and the translator of the book. In original German, it's called Nasobēm. In English, it's called Rhinogradentia (wikipedia).

The original notes on the album, uncredited but probably by makigami, explains the song as follows:

Based on a book called "Bau und Leben der Rhinogradentia" by H. Stümpke, the song is about the descriptions and the impressions of Rhinogradentia, a creature walking by its nose.

The island which completely browned out by an atomic bomb experiment and the study of Rhinogradentia make a mockery of the common sense vividly. Also pretty inspiring. A mysterious song.

The Japanese edition of the book was published in 1987 and soon recognized as a minor classic by the connoiseurs. Makigami, an avid reader, was quite impressed with the book and wrote a song based on it.

Hi-Ai-Ai Island
words - makigami, music - mitama

The amazing nostrils
The spur of life
The warmness of nature
Hana Aruki

The living nostrils
Morgenstern was surprised
and wrote a poem about it.
Hana Aruki

The island was full of noses.
I wanna know your nice secrets.
Tidings on noses

Hana Aruki in despair
A pointless experiment was executed,
Then everything sinked
and disappeared.

The poem Morgenstern wrote referred in the song is no other than "Das Nasobēm."

Related Entry:
Hikashu - Ningen No Kao (1988)