Japanese Music Program in Brooklyn: Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, and Sumie Kaneko Play Taiko, Fue, Koto and Shamisen
My family's Taiko instructor, former Kodo member Kaoru Watanabe, will be performing in Brooklyn at the Shapeshifter Lab along with Kenny Endo and Sumie Kaneko:
Tuesday, March 5 @ ShapeShifter Lab (NYC)
Music From Japan presents Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe, and special guest Sumie Kaneko (koto and shamisen)
7:30pm, $12 at the door
18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215. R train to Union
Honestly this should be an excellent show. And the train stop is near some excellent restaurants like Oaxaca Taqueria, Palo Santo and Fort Reno BBQ. Kaoru is an amazing musician and all around good person...and a very patient teacher!
Upcoming Japanese Music Performance, Feb 23, 8pm @ Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Performing Arts Center
Kaoru Watanabe teaches Taiko drumming in Brooklyn and my wife, son and I all take lessons from him. I recently posted my son showing off his still developing Taiko abilities. Kaoru is sitting in the back.
Kaoru used to play with the world famous Kodo drummers, an amazing Taiko group I head in concert back in the mid 90's I think when they performed in Los Angeles alongside a famous gospel group...yes Taiko and gospel together. Pretty amazing.
Kaoru and another famous Taiko performer, Kenny Endo, are teaming up to perform at the Baruch Performing Arts Center :
Saturday, Feb 23, 8pm @ Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Performing Arts Center (NYC)
“Rhythms of Japanese Drums and Flutes — Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe: Taiko and Fue” juxtaposes arrangements of traditional Japanese music with original compositions and improvisations by the two performers themselves. Both born in the United States, Endo and Watanabe each spent ten years honing their craft in Japan and are leading exponents of their instruments; as Endo explains, their work “is informed by the traditional music of Japan as well as the improvisational characteristics of American jazz.” Their new collaborative album, Convergence, is due for release in February.
Kenny Endo, taiko (drums); Kaoru Watanabe, taiko and fue (bamboo flutes)
Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Ave, NYC
7:15pm: Pre-concert lecture-demonstration by Kenny Endo and Kaoru Watanabe
I highly recommend it!
To give you an idea what these two musicians can do, here is a video of Kaoru Watanabe and Kenny Endo in NYC back in 2009:
Continuing my occasional musical themed diaries, Wednesday is for Tom Waits.
He's gritty, he's weird and he is among the most creative musicians ever. Love him or hate him, he is a force of nature.
Tom Waits goes way back and has been extremely influential in the deep, dark recesses of music. And sometimes even on more popular songs.
Tom Waits originally wrote and sang Jersey Girl long before Springsteen made it popular:
And an amazing moment: Tom Waits and The Boss doing Jersey Girl together:
(hey my wife was born in Jersey, though raised in NYC...and hey, I never called my step-daughter a brat, though we did drop her off with her mom and went out...)
Now even Johnny Cash sang songs written by Waits:
Tom Waits on Letterman 1983: (includes Frank's Wild Years and On the Nickel)
Tom Waits on Letterman 2012:
Time for Thursday Blues at Daily Gotham.
This guy is a new find for me, thanks to Pandora Radio. James Booker was born in 1939 in New Orleans and was part of the long and ongoing tradition of kick ass music in that town. He died in 1983. He died waiting in an emergency room from renal failure, something that could probably have been headed off if we had us some decent healthcare in America. Booker's most famous student is Harry Connick Jr.
I only learned about him today, proving there is always more great music to find. His piano work is excellent. His singing is okay but it is his piano work that stands out.
James Booker doing St. James Infirmary, a song that goes WAY back, and which I mostly associate with Cab Caolloway, though Louis Armstrong made it popular:
James Booker in action, singing "True":
And playing "Sunny Side of the Street": (shows off his piano skills particularly well on this one) read more »
Okay, so not keeping up EVERY day with the musical themes. Been busy and been sick. So sue me.
But back to Thursday Blues! Last week was Koko Taylor, one of my favorites.
Today I want to go back to the real basics of Blues. WAY back.
There was one time I saw someone on the usually very liberal political website Daily Kos arguing that once a person kills another person they have given up the right to be treated like a human and so should face the death penalty. The person arguing this was NOT a rabid Republican. Nor is support of the death penalty only a radical Republican position (I do not oppose it per se, merely the horrible and unfair way it is applied). But the statement was horrible and I responded by asking if THIS person had given up the right to be treated like a human:
Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter) was a founding force for a great deal of modern music. For those who have no room in their heart for people serving prison terms, Leadbelly was sentenced to at least two prison terms. The first was for illegal gun possession (he escaped from that prison term), and the second for killing a relative, ostensibly over a woman.
He was pardoned from his murder sentence partly because of his musical talent. Is it right that he only served seven years for killing a man? Perhaps not, but his pardon allowed him to set the foundations for modern music from blues to R and B to Rock and Roll. I believe American music would have been far less than it was without this one man's voice.