Tanabata is the ‘Star Festival’ of Japan which commemorates the meeting of deities Orihime and Hikoboshi. As the legend goes, the two lovers are separated by the Milky Way and can meet just once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month. People celebrate this ancient festival by writing their wishes on small pieces of paper called tanzaku and hanging them on bamboo.
This year Rhythm Passport will bring Tanabata to London’s East End – treating you to the sounds, rhythms, colours and food from the Far East. The night will be centred around music, performed by both traditional and contemporary Japanese artists.
Representing the traditional side of Japanese music, we have London-based duo Hibiki Ichikawa& Akari Mochizuki. Hibiki Ichikawa is the only professional player of the Tsugaru Shamisen – a traditional 3-stringed instrument played using a large pick called a ‘bachi’ – in the UK, whilst Akari Mochizuki has been singing in the traditional enka style since the age of three. Showcasing a more contemporary style of Japanese music, we have the incredible French-Japanese artist Maïa Barouh, who plays a unique fusion of electro-roots-pop-punk, rooted in solid classical training.
After and between the live music it’s Shibaura Sound System,DJ Koichi Sakai and the SOAS Radio DJs playing irresistible J-grooves, keeping bodies moving on the dance floor. We’re excited to hear a dedicated Japanese set from Ghetto Lounge founder Koichi Sakai, as well as experiencing The Shibaura DJ crew, who piece together festive Japanese music and moods, and of course, Paola Laf (Furniture Music)of SOAS Radio will showcase the best electronic, experimental and ambient music from Japan.
Come and join us on the 8th of July as we turn Rich Mix Japanese for one night only – expect colourful decor, rare performances from niche artists, and delicious authentic Japanese food from an inspiring chef. And of course, Tanabata wouldn’t be complete without making a wish: simply write whatever your heart desires on a piece of paper and tie it to the picturesque ‘wishing tree’.
Every month, we bring you a collection of the best world music-related videos. That’s our way to give value to too often overlooked, rich and diverse artistic expressions. Listen with your eyes! Watch the full playlist:
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