A memorable evening marked with Japan’s traditional music

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Embassy of Japan on Thursday organized a live performance of traditional Japanese instrument music “Koto & Shamisen” at the residence of Ambassador Takashi Kuraion. Noted Japanese artist Sumie Kaneko enthralled the audience with her wonderful performance.
Sumie Kaneko is an internationally recognized Japanese Koto & Shamisen player as well as Jazz singer and songwriter.
She has been recognized as a pioneer by her chromatic use of the Japanese instruments Koto and Shamisen. Sumie Kaneko has been collaborating with many of the world’s instrumentalists and has arrived in Pakistan from New York for the second time to collaborate with some Pakistani musicians.
The Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council and Pakistan Japan Cultural Association, Lahore has also organized live music performance of Ms. Kaneko titled “Japanese Traditional Music & Improvisation” at Alhamra Art Center on September 4, 2016.
Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, which is similar to the Pakistani Santoor or Swarmandal. The Shamisen is a three stringed instrument similar to a Banjo.
Sumie Kaneko studied Japanese traditional music at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music then studied Jazz vocal at Berklee College of Music in 2006. She started playing Koto when she was five years old. She was the first Shamisen player that won Pulitzer Prize Paula Vogel’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home”, and has collaborated with many of world instrumentalists such as Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe etc.
Ambassador Takashi Kuraiwhile welcoming the guests at his residence said cultural events help to build and strengthen people-to-people contact. This show is a great opportunity for the Pakistani people to experience the fascinating diversity of Japanese music.
Ambassador Kurai said “The Embassy of Japan wishes to further promote the cultural exchange and friendship between Japan and Pakistan by arranging such events in future”. Ambassador Kurai thanked Ms. Sumie Kaneko for coming to Pakistan and showcasing her talent of playing this unique Japanese music that is evocative of traditional Japan.

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