We recently had the absolute pleasure to perform in Japan in April, this year. The first performance was in Tokyo at the Lyre on the 11th where we were joined by singer Shoko Abe and pianist Naruhiko Kawaguchi. This concert showcased a variety of Japanese, Scottish and Spanish music with collaborations from all four musicians. The encore consisted of the Japanese well known Hana (flower) into Auld Lang Syne; with the first verse in Japanese and the second in English finishing with both Alison and Shoko singing together. Even we found it rather an emotional performance. It captured the true sense of what those lyrics mean and of the friendships which can be had even though a world apart.
We met up with Toru Yamauchi, a Celtic music and Classical cross-over promoter. He thoroughly enjoyed our concert in Tokyo and we hope to meet him again soon. Here is his facebook page for more information.
We were also able to apply our knowledge of Scottish heritage, culture and music to a primary school in Tokyo with a workshop for over 100 children. Shoko translated for us thankfully, as our Japanese isn’t very good! We taught the children about traditional Scottish tunes, mouth music, a little Scottish history, Robert Burns and performed some of our Reely Jiggered material. However, our favourite part of the workshop was teaching the children how to ceilidh dance, which was a great source of hilarity to all!
Our journey to Minami Aizu (Fukushima) was beautiful. We saw the cherry blossom trees (sakura) in full bloom. While we were in Minami Aizu, we stayed in an authentic Japanese hotel – IZUMIYA. Kimie, the kind woman who owned the hotel, was 80 years young and did a spectacular job making us feel right at home!
Our last concert on the 13th April was in the amazing concert hall in Minami Aizu. Again with Shoko Abe and Naru Kawaguchi, and we were also joined by the Minami Aizu adult choir. It really was a fantastic experience and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the concert. We were greeted and congratulated by many at the end of the concert.
Our time in Japan really was unforgettable; the places we went, the people we met and the friends we made. We hope to be back some time soon!