The King’s Singers Stream “Finding Harmony in Japan: Heiwa” Music with a message for their fans.
“Finding harmony in Japan: Heiwa– the concert series in Japan that could have kicked off the King’s Singers world tour this fall – may have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the British a cappella group made sure their fans in Japan weren’t completely disappointed.
Starting Saturday, October 24 at 7 p.m. JST, the internationally acclaimed sextet will broadcast a concert specially recorded for its Japanese audience. and fans from all over the world on the e + platform.
Hosted by JAPAN Before, with support from Sankei Shimbun, the concert will be available for streaming until 7 p.m. JST on October 31.
New music from Japanese composers
The title of this year’s tour of Japan, “Finding harmony in Japan: Heiwa, “ has special meaning for The King’s Singers. Word heiwa, Who roughly translates to “peace”, best represents the idea behind the tour, which is “uniting people through music”.
This program has been specially designed for Japanese audiences, to start with the Japanese national anthem, “Kimi Ga Yo”, as arranged by the group’s baritone, Christopher Bruerton.
The concert will feature the very first interpretations of new music by famous Japanese composers, commissioned by The King’s Singers.
A particularly moving piece to be created by the eminent teacher and composer Eisuke Tsuchida, winner of the Japan Music Competition and the Hasegawa Prize, among others, and professor at Toho Music University. In her song called “Shinda Onnanoko” (sometimes called “The Girl From Hiroshima”), The King’s Singers will sing the words of a young girl who died in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945.
âThe play is very moving, the words are from the point of view of the little girl, so in themselves quite childish and innocent. But the music is somehow pretty scary, âsaid frontman Julian Gregory.
Another world premiere will be âAshita no Utaâ (or âA Song for Tomorrowâ), composed by Makiko Kinoshita. It’s a nice contrast to Tsuchida’s play, because it’s about hope for a better tomorrow, Gregory told us.
Gregory explained how these pieces fit into the program: âBoth commissions were in line with ‘finding harmony’, which is bringing people together through music despite the hardships of the world.
The group will also sing “Nemunoki no Komoriuta”, which was compound as a musical tribute based on the poem by Empress Emeritus Michiko.
Other music the sextet has chosen for the program include some songs by popular composer Toru Takemitsu, and the ever-popular “Furusato, “ originally a children’s song about longing to live far from his hometown. This time around, the sentiment is more likely to be linked to the feelings of families and friends who had to limit travel to avoid spreading the virus during the pandemic.
Plans for the post-pandemic Christmas tour in Japan
“It’s really sad that we can’t do the concerts [this year], and, in fact, in 40 minutes we would have started the first gig of the tour in Hiroshima, âsaid a nearly dejected Gregory when we spoke on the evening of October 9.
It is particularly sad that the last stop on the tour was canceled, as it was to include a charity concert in Fukushima in conjunction with a local children’s choir. All of the procedures would have served to support local recovery after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake.
Thinking of the fans who have come for the band over the years and ways to bring the band closer to their Japanese audiences, Bruerton also sent an exclusive message to Japanese fans when he spoke to us on October 9th.
“I really hope that [the fans] enjoy this concert. Japan is so important to us, we wanted to make sure that one of the four concerts we give online was dedicated to them and Japanese culture, which is the cornerstone of the program. There are other great songs in there that I hope they will enjoyâ¦. We love Japan and can’t wait to come back! â he said.
Gregory told us that there is a possibility, albeit slim, that the band could tighten up a few gigs in Japan at the start or end of their tour of other parts of Asia in the fall of 2021. If that does not happen, the next possibility would be a year-end Christmas tour in 2022.
“It is our deep wish [to visit Japan in 2021], but it looks like our next tour in Japan will be in December 2022, it will be our Christmas tour in Japan, which will be really cool, âsaid Gregory.
Bruerton added, âThe next opportunity to come back will be all the more special as we couldn’t make it this time around. Look forward to this. Hope everyone in Japan is safe, well, we love our Japanese fans, and we can’t wait to see you soon.
Stay tuned JAPAN Before for updates on the concert online.
Which: The king’s singers
What: “In search of harmony in Japan, Heiwa” (online concert)
When: October 24, from 7 p.m. (broadcast available until 5 p.m. JST on October 31)
Price: Â¥ 3,000 JPY
Country ticket sales are available: Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Australia, Canada, United States
Hosted by: JAPAN Before
Additional assistance: The Sankei Shimbun and the Japan-British Society
Supported by: Yamaha Music Europe, Yamaha Music London
In collaboration with: Tempoprimo, Chorus Company, UK Japan Music Society
* Japan Information and Culture Center, Japanese Embassy in the United Kingdom
Author: Arielle Busetto
Click here to read this article in Japanese.