Monday, 6 October 2008

Event Aftermath: Friday's koto concert

On Friday, my new study table was supposed to arrive, but didn't... Apparently, they didn't ring the doorbell, but instead just left a note saying no one was in -____-" And that was at 12.40pm - right when I was pacing around my bedroom wondering why it wasn't there yet! How irritating.

Anyway, later on that evening, Hong, Mel and I were planning on going to a koto concert near Camden Town. Hong and I had decided to wear kimono! In the afternoon, Hong came over and we both helped each other dress. I'd read that the weather that night was going to be rainy and cold at 6C, so we also put on ama-coats (raincoats). Thank goodness we did, because although it didn't rain, it was absolutely freezing out there! It was as though we were time-warped to early December or something.

We left the flat a little late, but managed to reach Camden Town station in time to meet with Mel, who was half an hour early. The walk to Cecil Sharp House took us about 20mins, and we got there just in time to buy tickets and get settled into our seats.

The koto concert was in aid of the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) Northwood Sunshine House School and was held by the Kakehashi Koto Ensemble. The Ensemble itself was created by a koto and sangen sensei (master, teacher) who lives in London. Her name is Ayako Hotta-Lister. Some of the ensemble players flew in directly from Kyoto.

They played 12 songs according to seasons, as follows:
1) Nara no Shiki (Four Seasons of Nara) - 4 people on the koto, with traditional Japanese singing
2) Hana Fubuki (Flower Blizzard) - 2 people playing the sangen (a type of shamisen)
3) Tori no You ni (Like a Bird) - a koto solo. I loved this one! So beautiful and uplifting

4) Natsu no Hi (A Summer's Day) - 3 people on koto
5) Fuurin (Wind Chime) - a koto solo played by a British man
6) Yuugao (The Evening Glory) - a quartet of 2 koto and 2 sangen, with traditional Japanese singing. This was in tribute to The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, which was the world's first novel, written exactly 1000 years ago.
7) Itoyuu (Playing with the Strings) - a koto solo


8-1) Mizu Umi no Uta (Poem of the Lake) - a duet with koto and piano. Absolutely lovely! Combining two of my loves! *heart*
8-2) Tsumugi Uta (Weaver's Song) - another duet with koto and piano. Breathtaking piece! It was soft and slow, calm and gentle at the beginning, then fast-paced and incredibly cute from the middle to the end. I'm making this one my theme song! XD
9) Touginuta (Sound of Beating the Washing) - quintet of 3 koto and 2 sangen, with traditional singing. I must say, that after reading the description in the booklet, I finally understand why my birthday furisode is an Autumn kimono.

10) Yuki Hana (Snow Flowers) - a quintet of 5 koto and traditional singing
11) Fuyu no Kyoku (Winter Music) - a koto duet with traditional singing
12) Hokkai Minyou-Chou (The Fishermen's Autumn Harvest) - a koto sextet. Not a winter piece, but a cheerful Autumn piece to reflect the season and finish off the evening on a light note.

The pieces were ALL lovely :) I particularly enjoyed the piano and koto duets!

During the interval, we were allowed to touch the koto and play a few notes. None of us dared to, of course, but we did ask a few questions. We also got to take pictures with Hotta-Lister-san!

When it ended (an hour later than scheduled!), we went home to collect Hong's stuff so she can go home as she had to work on Saturday. Unfortunately, we ended up sitting around the kitchen and talking for nearly 2 hours! I ended up sleeping at nearly 4am that night haha. Tiring but fun.

Anyway, here are the pictures!
Hong and I had just finished dressing

A picture of how my back looked like

A picture of how Hong's back looked like

Hong, Ayako Hotta-Lister and I during the interval

Ayako Hotta-Lister tuning her koto before Mizu Umi no Uta

Kazuko Tsuchiya playing "Tori no You ni"

I'm not quite sure who this is, but I just love her kimono! It's shibori butterflies!

My kimono was a pale yellow silk awase komon with maple leaves drawn in red, blue, green, orange, and gold. I paired it with a black chrysanthemum and peony obi which was a little out of season, but what the heck. Accessories were red obiage and obijime, with red juban sleeves peeking out the back to match them, and red zori as well as black haneri and black tabi.

Hong's kimono was a purple silk hitoe komon with white bangasa on it. Her obi was a tsuke obi with chidori. So cuuuuute!!! And her kimono is actually waaaaay too big for her! I'm jealous ;_;

Did I mention that the Japanese women kept speaking to me in Japanese? Hehe. Ah, and one of them gestured at my kimono and said it was iki! (Iki means stylish. I assume it was because my ensemble actually reflected the season quite well) I'm absolutely ecstatic about that! ^______^

On Thursday 16th October, there is another koto concert the three of us are going to. It's more expensive than Friday's (Friday's was £8, the next one will be £20), but it'll also have Nihon Buyo (traditional Japanese dance) and Japanese snacks. All I need to do now is coordinate another ensemble! Hehehe..

What to wear, what to wear...

1 comment:

Petrina said...

Chocolate mousse.......

Huei Suen took me to this place in HK called Cova and it's some famous patiserie from Milan and the choc mousse there was really good.

And I dont even like choc mousse!!