Heading to opera today / Ryoko is purple kimono with silver obi & orange sandals. Stunnnning. Also complicated (it ain’t just “putting on a robe” – its a whole process choosing the right one for the occasion and then whoa putting it all on is an art (which is kinda the point).
Anyhow, furthermore, today is national holiday to celebrate and welcome crop of 20 years olds to adulthood with all sorts of dress-up ceremonies & events. [Read about Seijinshiki}
Should be real colourful in the city / we’re riding bus, i’m having a warm bevvie.
Note: to be clear, this wasn’t a full opera production but rather a variety of songs by a troupe (is that the right word?) or a company of singers doing various ensembles, bits, songs, snippets from opera. I have the program and would share notes but hey… it’d just be a tease right.
Note: In the day’s between / around New Year’s – there are plenty of activities… today’s activities include hanged up the New Year’s decoration, drinking all the coffee to try to wake up & thwart headache, then going to an afternoon friends party/talent show where we will be singing a duet with Ryoko on piano.
Our selection is a modified (taking out the sort of dodgy creepy lyrics) version of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” with an arrangement vaguely based on this lovely scene in TV programme “The Crown”￼￼ season 1.
Do not expect video documentation of our performance though we diligently practiced and made a special vocal arrangement with some trade offs and whatnot.
However, I will present some insta-photos as evidence and to provide a bit of flavour of the 5th annual Kojo Piano Club (there was even a theme song) party / event in which all the friends (many of whom, perform or learn together) perform music in various ensembles, plus usual eating, drinking and frivolity.
Konnichi-Mae! To complete the trifecta of tunes from Saturday’s Matsuri comes my favourite!
Ryoko’s band Mae Maes played at a community outdoor festival (you can see video some of the other performers elsewhere in this archive) and several of the usual supporters were out on a sunny and surprisingly hot day, including the effervescent Tadanori Suzumura-san – “the Shacho” (boss) is a singer himself and a huge supporter of local music.
Rollin on with albums from the archive, I present these treats for your amusement:
The Jam, Snap!- 2 LP This seminal trio at their finest – well it’s a collection of their finest. Sounds so fresh and explosive even now. Great gatefold deco and liner note copy-writing. Explodes out of speakers and especially love the ambient tube sounds of “Down in Tube Station at Midnight”.
Oingo Boingo, Only A Lad 10 inch, 4 song EP
No other band sounds anything like Oingo Boingo — started as something like a 15 piece, whittled down to more like six, with marimbas and percussive elements along with electronics to make a completely new and extremely danceable heady brew (for you youngsters, this was Danny Elfman of every Tim Burton soundtrack fame)’s band. Also the 10inch 4 song EP is the best music format ever created.
The Specials, The Specials From the opening track “message to you Rudy”, the drum sound is massive and hollow and upfront, the guitars are crisp and restrained, and the stories are all songs (or vice versa) — while they lost their drummer this year, this band is touring, played the Warfield in San Francisco just recently. As an aside, I was fortunate to share a speaking gig with the guitarist Lynval Goulding at SxSw.
Life in the European Theater, Compilation Opens with The Clash’s London Calling and just rocks on from there with aforementioned the Jam & the Specials, plus XTC, Au Pairs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Madness, The Beat, The Undertones (all of the above of UK bands of course), with The Doors’ almost forgotten Peace Frog as (somewhat inexplicably) the only American entry. This was released in 1981 so the first sample of a lot new sounds for this West Coast kid.
For the record, in Sept 2016, picked up a couple of crates of vinyl which I left in a friends dad’s basement in Salt Lake City when I left Grateful Dead tour in 1991 and ended up in Europe, Japan, Micronesia, Cascadia and many departures between. Collecting them now, feels like 20-year-old self wrote a letter for me to receive just when I needed it most. #MusicHeals