Classical Japanese musician wows audiences


The Embassy of Japan hosted a musical evening on Saturday evening featuring traditional and contemporary Japanese musician Sumie Kaneko at the Pakistan National Arts Council (PNCA). Sumie Kaneko, who currently resides in New York, flew to Pakistan at the request of Japanese Ambassador Hiroshi Inomata.

During Kaneko’s introduction, Inomata shed some light on traditional Japanese music and gave a brief speech on the tragic incident of the Gilgit crash.

“We lost our friends in a deeply tragic incident just two weeks ago. However, they will live on in our minds forever and now is the time for us to move forward with the power of music, ”he said.

Kaneko, who was dressed gracefully in a traditional Kimono robe, with her hair neatly pulled into a bun, sat on a stool and started the evening by playing the Shamisen, a three-stringed instrument made from animal skin. , rosewood and ivory.

Then she played the Koto, a long, flat instrument that rested on two chairs. Kaneko started playing Koto at the age of five and has perfected the art over time. She received her music education at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, after which she studied jazz singing at Berklee College of Music.

Kaneko has given several music workshops at Harvard and Princeton University.

“This is my first time in Pakistan and I am honored to play here. The people here are so friendly and the food is great, ”she said.

She sang Japanese classical music while playing the instrument. Each song tells an old mythical story, for example the Sagi-Minimay is the story of a Heron-Maiden who is angry and sad because she cannot be with her lover who is human.

Another song, which was played on the Koto, was about the beauty of the Sakura tree – how it blooms flower petals in the spring that slowly fall off in the fall.

Kaneko also performed a fusion piece with tabla player Ejaz Sheikh, which became more accessible and enjoyable for the local audience.

Posted in The Express Tribune, May 25e, 2015.

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