“Japanese Traditional Music & Improvisation” performance held at National Art Gallery

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ISLAMABAD : The Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Pakistan-Japan Friendship Forum organized an enchanting performance of traditional Japanese instrumental music Koto and Shamisen by the visiting Japanese artiste Ms. Sumie Kaneko here at the auditorium of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

The music performance was titled “Japanese Traditional Music and Improvisation”. Ms. Kaneko is a pioneer in musical innovation as she blends traditional Japanese music with the improvisation of Jazz. Together with the Pakistani musicians, Ms. Kaneko enthralled the audience by creating ear-soothing improvisations of traditional Japanese music with jazz.

Ms. Sumie Kaneko is an internationally recognized Japanese Koto & Shamisen player as well as a Jazz singer and songwriter. She has been recognized as a pioneer by her chromatic use of the Japanese instruments Koto and Shamisen. Ms. Kaneko has been collaborating with many of the world’s instrumentalists and has arrived in Pakistan for the fourth time to collaborate with some Pakistani musicians.

Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, which is similar to the Pakistani Santoor or Swarmandal whereas Shamisen is a three stringed instrument similar to a Banjo.

Ms. Kaneko studied Japanese traditional music at the 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 who 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 Kurai speaking on the occasion said that the Japanese Embassy has long been organizing different cultural events in Pakistan and wishes to further promote the cultural exchange and friendship between Japan and Pakistan by arranging such events in future also.

Ambassador Kurai thanked Ms. Kaneko for travelling to Pakistan for the fourth time and showcasing her talent of playing this unique Japanese music that is evocative of traditional Japan. Ambassador Kurai hoped that this show will provide a great opportunity for Pakistani people to experience the fascinating diversity of Japanese music as tonight’s performer, Ms. Sumie Kaneko is well- known for her unique style, which is a blend of traditional and contemporary Japanese music.

Ambassador also thanked the Pakistani musicians who collaborated with the Japanese artiste Ms. Kaneko, adding that events like this contribute towards the promotion of already existing friendly relations between the two countries.

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