Malaysia Celebrate Ties with Japan, Host Folk Song Concert

Tsugaru Shamisen Master Tanaka Shiro To Perform At Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre

Malaysia and Japan celebrate 40-year tie, host folk song concert at KL Pac. Music Press Asia

Tsugaru Shamisen master Tanaka Shiho to perform at KL Pac on 4 & 5 March 2022.

The Look East Policy 40th anniversary event is organising Min’yo – a Japanese folk songs music concert.

The Malaysian Government’s Look East Policy, which has greatly contributed toward strengthening bilateral ties between Malaysia and Japan, will mark its 40th year in 2022.

To celebrate this occasion, JFKL is presenting a live performance of Min’yo, Japanese folk songs. Having invited six professional musicians from Japan featuring Alena Murang (Sape’) as the guest musician from Malaysia.

Min’yo can be considered as Japanese “soul music.” It has long been sung amongst the townspeople such as farmers, fishermen, nannies, lovers and etc. Min’yo’s lyrics not only help you understand the daily lives of the Japanese people, but also their perception of seasons, and regional culture as well.

Min’yo is characterised by its special singing technique called “kobushi”, which employs the style of melisma. The conventional setting of a Min’yo performance consists of vocals, Shakuhachi (bamboo flute), Shamisen (three strings instrument) and Shime-daiko (small drum). This time, wadaiko (big drum) and percussion will be added to the usual setup of a Min’yo performance for a programme ranging from traditional renditions to contemporary arrangements. With a lively rhythm and intertwining serene melodies, the audience can be sure to join in and enjoy.

Pentas 1, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Center (KLPac)
Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, Off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 51100, Kuala Lumpur

8:00 PM, 4 March 2022 (Friday)
8:00 PM, 5 March 2022 (Saturday)

RM 50 & RM 30. Concession: 50% OFF for JFKL Members, Students, Seniors above 60 & Disabled.
Tickets are available online via CloudTix. No phone sales & over the counter sales. JFKL Members are required to bring their member card for verification purposes.

Click here for more concerts and events happening at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

The Japan Foundation, established in 1972, is Japan’s only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. The Kuala Lumpur office was established in October 1989 and its status was upgraded to Cultural Centre in February 1992. Three years later in April 1995, the Language Centre was formed under the umbrella of the Cultural Centre.

About the Artists & Musicians

TANAKA Shiho (Vocal & Tsugaru Shamisen)
Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa prefecture. Started learning Tsugaru Shamisen at 10 years old after hearing a concert by KAZE, a Tsugaru Shamisen troupe. Studied Minyo and Tsugaru Shamisen under Yukiji Takahashi, Yujiro Takahashi of the Takahashi School, and Mariko Nakahara. Studied accompaniment with Akiko Kiyono. Studied wadaiko and vocals under Shigeri Kitsu. Performs mainly Tsugaru Shamisen with vocals, and has introduced people to a variety of regional Minyo both in Japan and overseas. She is also the overall Champion for Japan Folk Song and Dance Association, North Tokyo Competition 2016 (Dounan kudokibushi) and winner for Female Division, All Japan Tsugaru Shamisen Competition, Nagoya 2019.

KATO Erina (Vocal & Tsugaru Shamisen)
Born in Obihiro, Hokkaido. Learnt Minyo since 3 years old, and Tsugaru Shamisen from her father from 10 years old. Although she worked as a certified care worker for a while her talent became evident at Minyo competitions where she won several awards. Currently heads the Tsugaru Shamisen Japanese Minyo Kato School Sangenkai, established by her father, and is dedicated to training the next generation as well as performing throughout Japan. Erina Kato’s vocals goes beyond the framework of Minyo, and has garnered her attention as a singer able to convey the scenery of her hometown, Tokachi, Hokkaido. Featured numerous times on radio and newspapers, she also produces many concerts. Working under the motto, “Songs that resonate in the hearts”, she has been highly rated not just in her hometown of Tokachi but at educational institutes, local festivals as well.

[Malaysian sape player Alena Murang to perform at the Japan and Malaysia 40th anniversary concert]

TSUKUDA Koshi (Shakuhachi & Fue)
Studied since early childhood under his father, Issei Tsukuda, a shakuhachi performer. Has widened the scope of his activities by working with shamisen, wadaiko, and musicians of various other genres to explore the possibilities of shakuhachi and shinobue. Has actively performed overseas, having visited more than 15 countries and 25 cities. Appears regularly in Minyo programs on NHK’s TV and radio. Participated as a shakuhachi performer at the MAGIC FLUTES concert, a gathering of the world’s flute performers, held at “tff rudolstadt 2013”, Germany. Champion of Shakuhachi Grand Prix, 53rd National Traditional Folk Song Competition.

KATO Takuya (Wadaiko)
Learnt wadaiko under his father, Osamu Kato. Debuted at 12 years old and a member of Tokyo Dagekidan since 2002. Provides composition for drums and teaches wadaiko to theatrical group EXILE and Musical Touken Ranbu. Also actively collaborates with other genres. Active both in Japan and overseas with performances that leverages on his technique and groove that allows him to play the odaiko with ippon-uchi as well as skillfully handle multiple drums.

KUMAGAI Daisuke (Drums & Percussion, Music Director)
Drummer/percussionist from Hokkaido. Moved to Tokyo and studied under Teruo Matsumoto, Kiyohiko Senba, Shigeri Kitsu to learn drums, percussion, geza ongaku (music and stage effects) for kabuki, Edo festival music, Minyo drums, etc. Active in various genres from rock, jazz, to pop and has performed with ZABADAK, METROFARCE, coba, Emi Shirasaki, Keita Egusa, Hirai Mamiko. Toured overseas with Kazutoi Umezu and others under a Japan Foundation project visiting Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic and Germany. Also active as a theatre and stage musician, having participated in such key works as “Yume no Sakeme” (2018, New National Theatre, written by Hisashi Inoue, directed by Tamiya Kuriyama); “Kuuchuu Cabaret 2019” (2019, Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre, written and directed by Kazuyoshi Kushida), etc.

Alena Murang (Guest musician, Vocals & Sape’)
Alena Murang is a musician and artist of the Dayak Kelabit people in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. She is the first professional female sape’ player, and sings in the endangered languages Kenyah and Kelabit, performing live across the world. Through music, film, and fashion, she works with other creatives to tell stories of the people and place, always honouring the past and contemporary times. She has won several awards for her work.

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