[Hynavian] Japanese Traditional Music Concert at NUS

Last Friday, 3rd April, there was a Japanese traditional concert held at NUS Theatre 13. I got wind of this concert from my favourite sensei – the one whom I lent my raw Claymore manga to. I felt that the music concert was low key as not much promotion was done. I asked around the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and not many, except for the Japanese Studies and Japanese Language students, knew of it.

I arrived at LT 13 at around 5 minutes past 6 pm and it was way too early with few people there. After booking the best seat, I got the opportunity to snap shot some of the performers busy preparing for the concert.

For the concert, a total of three instruments were introduced to the audience and they were the:

Taiko 太鼓

Shakuhachi 尺八

Koto 琴

I feel that Koto seems to be the most complicated instrument out of the three. The strings alone were enough to confuse me (13 strings in total) and I noted that the performers had to adjust the bridges accordingly to the pieces that they were playing. Mr Ueno, who is a Shakuhachi master, blew the vertical flute with strength and displayed that body movement plays a big part in shaping music. Ms Sakai, who’s the leader of Tenko, played the Taiko with style and elegance that I felt like joining her Taiko club. Ms Sakai, can I, please?

While performing, power point slides of related photos and pictures were played in the background. Slides of cherry blossoms and the scenery of Japan were mesmerizing but the ones that caught my attention were those on Totoro. With traditional instruments, the performers played modern music like Sanpo 散歩 (Totoro’s OP) to entertain the audience. There was also a fun segment where the audience got to shout random verses after Mr Ueno.

Overall, it was an enjoyable evening and the concert ended after an hour. Oh and did I forget to mention, NUS has its own Koto club and if you’re interested, you might want to contact Ms Kitai sensei for more information.

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