Kenichi Gatayama 潟山 健一

Kenichi Gatayama 潟山 健一 plays English concertina, is a member of the EFDSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society) and has written a number of research papers on English Folk Song, particularly in reference to Sussex and the Copper family's repertoire. We met by chance whilst teaching at a local university.
We had grouped at the photocopier (aka village well) weekly since April 2007, and occasionally discussed a point of grammar, but we eventually discovered our common interest in traditional English song - Mr Gatayama spent time at the University of Sussex as a research fellow.
I had heard that there were some Copper Song enthusiasts in Japan (from members of the Sussex folk clubs) but, due slightly to UK data protection laws applying to EFDSS membership, and largely to my own lack of imagination in seeking them out independently (I should have asked a Copper), I only met Kenichi by coincidence.
His research papers are written in Japanese, on such topics as: A Note of the English Folksong Revival and Romanticism; A Note on Rottingdean, a Village of Folksongs and Songsters; A Note on the Englishness of English Folk Song, and another about the rhythm of Sussex songs.

There are currently 7 individual members of EFDSS in Japan, including Mr Gatayama and me, and one institution. Now to find the other five...

btw. It was at another Japanese photocopier (Lawson, Okazaki Hon-dori, 1992) that I first met my friend the English artist Charlie Foster-Hall who was subsequently commissioned to organise the Sussex Mural at Ardingly.

Atsushi Akazawa 赤澤淳

With characteristic modesty, Mr Akazawa aka 'Sush' (pictured R with Ken Matsusaka L) does not seem to have his own website, despite over two decades of playing Irish music. But a quick google on his name will reveal that he is a very busy musician of some standing in Kyoto and indeed in Japan as a whole four + several thousand islands. Besides playing Irish fiddle (apparently constantly if my occasional cycling past his old wooden house is anything to go by) he also plays bouzouki, Chinese fiddle and various other instruments. I met him 20 years ago - I remember it since his baby son (now a man) sailed in my first-ever bodhran, which he rowed as a charming coracle across the tatami mat sitting room, to everyone's great delight, except mine as I had paid a goodly sum for it to one Mr Eamon Maguire, craftsman, of Belfast (it was joyfully unscathed). I believe that he started playing Irish music after meeting Jay Gregg at a Blue Grass festival in Osaka around 1980. He also plays 'old' Japanese music which I believe is of the 1930s and which I think I might love and am hoping for. Though he is a man of few words, I plan to interview him if he will allow. To be continued. Click here for photos

Emergency Folk Song Survey Japan

This is rather old news but nevertheless significant. Cribbed from:
Asian Folklore Studies Date: 10/1/1994 Author: Groemer, Gerald: Fifteen years of folk song collection in Japan: reports and recordings of the "Emergency Folk Song Survey."
The Japanese Emergency Folk Song Survey, started in 1979, has taped 50,000 songs. Some 300 reports on various aspects of the collection have been issued, each divided into an introductory, song text and appendices sections. The Emergency Survey could be improved by a more holistic approach to its contents, but the nature of the collection mandates its piecemeal aspects. Better access to the collection and a more uniform copyright policy are also needed. Over the last fifteen years a major ...Read all of this article (with a free trial to HighBeam) at http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-16011903.html

Irish Music in Japan - History

See also postings: Sessions 'abroad' - Japan and Irish Pubs/Sessions Kansai
State of play: There is considerable interest in Irish music in Japan. Most record shops have an Irish section and the live circuit for visiting artists is pretty solid. Native Japanese players form a small but strong and wide-reaching national network via pub sessions, bands and players' clubs (incl. university circles), webmailing lists and SNS e.g. Facebook and Mixi. While some travel overseas to festivals others link to the international scene via internet (mainly from G4 mobiles).

History: The first Irish music in Japan was heard around 100 years ago, its seeds sown by government policy and focused on song. Irish song tunes were first introduced to the Japanese population by the Monbusho (Ministry of Education) during the Meiji Restoration (turn of 20th Century). New text books presented folk songs from all around the world, Ireland included, as part of a cultural expansion policy to counter previous national introversion. Melodies of such songs as The Last Rose of Summer and Sally Gardens were given Japanese lyrics and generations of school children sang them as part of the National Curriculum. As those kids grew up to be consumers - record collectors, concert goers, and soothed by background music - Irish melodies (particularly the pentatonic ones) fell into the 'nostalgia' bracket, the much loved songs of childhood, and homely rather than foreign. These can be regularly heard today as piped music in shopping areas, stations and hospital waiting rooms.

Later, landmark contributors to Japanese interest in/exposure to Irish music include: 
- the 1960s/70s folk revival (incl. DIY music); 
- the 'Bubble' era (1980s) with its accompanying booms in travel, wealth, and English language learning;
The Chieftains in Japan (1992); 
- Universal Studios Japan in Osaka (1994-), modelled on New York, with its Irish pub Finnegan's hosting (resident and visiting artists') Irish sessions; 
- Riverdance (1999); 
- Celtic Woman (2006 (?));  
- the internet
- the Irish Embassy/ Irish Tourist Board
- and Guinness.

Pubs/Breweries: It is perhaps not surprising that Western pub culture plays no small part in exposure to Irish music in Japan. Japanese bars had long (since 1920s) been host to 'nagashi' or wandering minstrels leading japanese enka singalongs with accordions or guitars. 
Sapporo Breweries has been importing stout from Guinness since 1964, but the relationship between the two companies expanded in October 1995 when Guinness began manufacturing Sapporo Premium Lager in Ireland. To celebrate this intensified link, Sapporo employed the popular Japanese singer-songwriter and TV personality, Takaishi Tomoya, who had visited Ireland and played fiddle and banjo, to tour Japan in a celebratory musical marketing push (+). He had previously included Irish tunes and foreign players in his performances since the 80s. Some of those were from the small number of ITM players in Kyoto who were playing in each others houses, at the Pig and Whistle and occasionally in a restaurant or live house. Then the first officially 'Irish' pub in Japan, Murphy's in Osaka, was opened in 1992. The owner was a music lover who opened with the specific purpose of hosting Irish gigs and sessions. 
There are currently over 80 Irish pubs in Japan: six in Kyoto (the oldest is Field (1992) and the newest, Gnome (Nov 2007)) 45 in Tokyo, and others reaching from Hokkaido (the northern island) to Okinawa in the south. Before the Irish pubs, there were/are many other British and Scottish theme pubs - the 'British-style Pub' chain, Pig and Whistle's Kyoto branch (est. 1987) hosted Kyoto's first Irish music pub-sessions in the late 1980s. 
Session music in Japan is certainly buoyed up by the 'Irish' pubs, although it undoubtedly precedes them. It is also worth mentioning that the Irish label of a pub venue can cause other acoustic music, be it English, Scottish, Bluegrass, Scandinavian or Eastern European, to be perceived/assumed to be Irish.
Click here for photos of music at some of these venues. 
(Nov 2008 news - the Guinness-Sapporo partnership is due to end in 2009 to be replaced by a new partnership with Kirin Breweries).

Internet etc: Besides the obvious benefits of inter-Japan networking, publicity etc, the availability of internet and auto-translation software now enables Japanese players to exchange easily with overseas forums, artists, instrument makers, and has opened up previously inaccessible print. Some sites such as My Space, YouTube etc. automatically appear in Japanese, I guess translated at the server.

St Patrick's Day in Japan: There are widespread St Patrick's Day celebrations in Japan (in 8 cities in 2007 between 3rd March and 1st April). The first parade in Kyoto was 2002; in 2007 it included a team of beautiful Red Setter dogs dressed in green and orange kimono.
St Patrick's Day in Japan Links:
A brochure, "Ireland Festival" is produced by the Embassy of Ireland in Japan - it lists all the St Patrick's Day parades in Japan, and participating venues.
Article about St Patrick's day parades in Japan (Williams, Sean 1959-/Irish Music and the Experience of Nostalgia in Japan/Asian Music - Volume 37, Number 1, Winter/Spring 2006, pp. 101-119/University of Texas Press.)
Video: St Patrick's Day Yokohama 2005>
Kyoto Journal Article

Other info:

Pipefest Japan 2008

Pipefest Japan 2008 will be held in the Osaka area, 12-19 October 2008. The aim is to have 1,000 pipers/drummers marching together. This event aims to raise money for the UK charity RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) www.justgiving.com/pipefestjapan. The event is organised by Japan resident Maud Ramsay MBE, organiser of the Ramsay Pipe Band. Volunteers are needed. For dedicated website click title.
For info e-mail: ramsay atmark gol dot com
See also http://www.pipefest.com/japan.htm

Japanese Music Bargains

A lot of old/trad Japanese music is available here in 100 Yen shops (the equivalent of Pound Shops, except that Y100 is more like 50p) and CD shop bargain bins. I got a complete set called Folk Music of Japan - 11 regional CDs - for JPY100 each (that's about 50p), and all excellent and raw music (not synthesised or orchestrated). Today in a supermarket I got a Columbia label CD (Old Melodies (No 40 in a series)(JPY1000 (about GBP5)), and a Keep label DVD of Japanese Festivals (part of a 6DVD festival set)(JPY500 (GBP2.50) each). I'll check out the quality and report back (I lately bought two of the World Heritage Series DVDs here - England and Kyoto - and they were very bad indeed, so let's see about this new lot). Anyway, the cheap, high street, non-specialist availability of this material is something visitors might want to take advantage of. I guess it's down to market size and Asian production prices. What it might signify is that (non-copyrighted) folk/traditional music is so mainstream/popular in Japan as to merit mass-production in China. Or is it the opposite - an imbalance of production over demand? How do these Y100 shops work? Certainly the labeling is specific to the Y100 shop brands, and includes the Y100 price printed on the sleeve.

Felicity Greenland

Felicity is an English woman who loves singing and is fascinated by the stories behind songs and their place in the popular consciousness. She is based in Kyoto, Japan. She came back to Kyoto in 2005 from London where she had been a regular at folk clubs  (Sharp's, The Cellar Upstairs, Musical Traditions, and Islington), playing in Irish sessions and working for the English Folk Dance & Song Society. She lived in Kyoto in the 1980s too, and altogether has been in Japan for over 15 years. She sings solo and in various bands, and plays bodhran, guitar, tin whistle and ukulele. She runs song workshops and classes including a monthly singing and ukulele club. 
Music...Songs, mainly old, mainly from England, Ireland and Scotland; bodhran and bones; guitar accompaniment; tin whistle; jews harp; mouth music; unaccompanied singing; chorus harmony.
Current bands/projects 'MacFiddles' with Jay Gregg and Atsuko Kasamura; 'Kyoto Singing Around the Table and New Ukulele Club' at Gnome; 'Traditional and popular songs of the British Isles' and 'Culture Through Music and Song' university courses; Kansai 'Celtsittolke' project.
Other music...Felicity was featured in the song-themed May 2011 edition of Venetia's NHK TV programme 'Neko no Shippo Kaeru no Te'. In 2009 she taught bodhran and tin whistle to the parade performers for Universal Studios Japan, in Osaka. In the 1980s Felicity toured Japan with the folksinger-songwriter Takaishi Tomoya. More recently she has sung with Leslie Denniston as 'Gruesome Twosome' and 'Celtic Orlan with Taro Kishimoto'; vocals and percussion with guitarist Genta Fukue and Shunsuke Shimizu on flute as a quasi-trad band called 'Hardy & Heidi'; guest vocals for 'Mine' Samurai Celt Band (on the 'Ethno' album); mouth music, toys and percussion with Atsushi Iwata's band 'Mesuinu & Co'; English music sets at Hankyu Department Store British Fair and Dreamton English Village, Osaka.
Recent research... Western song repertoire in Japan; Japanese whaling songs as reflections of cultural attitude and practice; reception of song in language learning (at university and elementary school levels in Japan).
(English version updated July 2016)

Felicity Greenland イングランド出身 音楽に恵まれた家庭環境に育ち、ロンドンのパブで繰り広げられる伝統的なアイルランド音楽シーンでは、欠くことのできない人物の一人。活動の傍らロンドンにある『English Folk Dance & Song Society』で12年間仕事に携わり後に来日する。時にアカペラで静謐に、時にバウロンやギターを携えパワフルに歌いあげる歌は人を引きつけてやまない。評して『Sweet & strong』歌のレパートリーはソロやコーラスにかかわらずイングランド、スコットランド、アイルランド、フランスのブレトン地方の歌、また、ゲール語のmouth musicやアイルランドの流浪の人達(ジプシー)から習ったコミカルな歌まで多岐に渡る。これまでにイギリス、アイルランド、フランス、日本等のアーティストと共演、レコーディングに参加している。
マイ音楽...歌、大体イギリス、アイルランド、スコットランドの古い歌。バウロン(アイルランドの太鼓)、アコギ、ティンホイッスル。口音楽。今のバンド... 'MacFiddles' (Jay Gregg と傘村あつこ と)。
前のバンド...高石ともや と。レズリーデニストンのケルチックオールラン(伝統的なブリッチシュの歌)。ハージアンドハイジ(福江元太と清水俊介と)。メス戌&Co.
2009年USJのパホーマンス チームにバウロンとティン ウィスルを教えました。


Pete Cooper フィドル2008

ロンドンの ピーット クーパーさん という フィドルプレイヤー は 2008の四月に日本へ来ます、東京フィドルクラブと協力。
かっこいい先生のピートさんは English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) の Cecil Sharp House で 何百人にフイドルを教えています。四月2日−6日の間 大坂、東京でいろいろなライブや教室をするつもりみたいので、またれんらくします。
ピートさんはインドのジョッドプアルの新しい祭りからかえたばっかりで ー ”とても楽しかったです” というった。

London fiddle player Pete Cooper will be visiting Japan in the Spring (Click on title).
Pete plays many fiddle styles including English, Irish, Scottish and American and he is a great teacher.
The dates so far set up by Tamiko Kimura (of the Tokyo Fiddle Club) are:
2 April - workshop, Osaka;
3 April - concert, Osaka;
4 April - concert, Tokyo;
5 & 6 April - workshops, Tokyo
more information later.......


Dale Russ フィドル2007

デール ラッス という USA から フィドルプレイヤー は 2007の11-12月に日本へ来ます。
京都Irish Pub Field でいろいろなライブや教室をするつもりです。
News from Dale Russ...
11/29 Pub Field workshop in Kyoto (introductory)
11/30 The Gael Gion Pub in Kyoto (525 0680)
12/1 Molly Malone`s in Hiroshima 8:30 start (082 244 2554)
12/2 Kell`s Pub in Mitto (029 224 2631)
12/5 Dress Cafe in Akihabara (Mr Nagahama 090 9676 4719) 7:30pm
12/6 Pub Field workshop in Kyoto (intermediate students)
12/9 Gnome Pub in Kyoto nijokawamarachi (075 212 2101)
12/13 Pub Field workshop (intermediate and advanced students)
For information: please e-mail Jay Gregg at kyoja atmark mbox.kyoto-inet.or.jp


Diary 2007

My gig diary 2007
2007/12/29 Kyoto, Nijou NANO:
FG w Mesuinu&Co http://www.eonet.ne.jp/~nano2003/
2007/12/23 Kyoto, Sain, Nanahei:
FG w Les Denniston
2007/12/20 Kyoto, Urban Guild:
Hardy & Heidi, Hakka Happa, Butterdogs at 'Toshi's Big Gig'
2007/12/15 (Sat) Kyoto, Gael Gion:
FG w Dale Russ (fiddle) & Jay Gregg (gtr, fiddle) 8.30-11pm
2007/12/07 Wakayama, Trinity&Unity: w Dale Russ & Jay Gregg
2007/12/02 Tokyo, Kells Bar: w Dale Russ & Jay Gregg
2007/12/01 Hiroshima, Molly Malone's: w Dale Russ & Jay Gregg
2007/11/15 Kyoto, Irish Pub Field: with Les & Hideko Denniston
2007/11/02 Kyoto, Gael Gion: with Mesuinu & Co
2007/10/28 Ashiya, Main Bar: with Les & Hideko Denniston
2007/10/19 Kyoto, Gael Gion: with Hardy & Heidi
2007/10/06 Kyoto University BoroFest: with Mesuinu & Co.
2007/09/22 Kyoto, Hill of Tara: with Les Denniston
2007/07/27 Ashiya, Main Bar, Scots Night
2007/06/03: Kobe, Japan Scotland Soc. w Les & Hideko Denniston
2007/05/04 Osaka, Expo Park, World Music and Sports Day
2007/04/07 Toyohashi, Gamagori Laguna
2007/03/21 Kyoto, Field w Les & Hideko Denniston
2007/01/25 Kyoto, Field w Les & Hideko Denniston
(partial list - to be completed)
Click here for photos


2007/12/20 URBAN GUILD

アイリッシュ祭り with 薄花葉っぱ ~ゆくトシくるトシ~
京都市中京区木屋町三条下ルニュー京都ビル3階 075-212-1125
BUTTER DOGS(ハタオ・トシ・ゲンタ) 
Hardy & Heidi(フェリシティ・ゲンタ)


This blog is a notebook on...

- traditional English/Irish/Scottish music/dance/song in Japan
- Japanese translations of English/Irish/Scottish trad music info
- Japanese-English musical crossovers
- popular Japanese songs, singers and musical traditions
- Kyoto Singing Around the Table and New Ukulele Club
- Kansai Shanty Crew

+ more!
Thanks for visiting


Diary 2005-6

(partial list - to be completed)
Click here for photos
2006/3/17 Molly Malone's Hiroshima
2006/5/4 Osaka Expo Park World Music & Sports Day
2006/9/10 C Coquet Kyoto
2006/7/9 At the Cross Roads with Nanth Kumar at Kurodani temple
2006/7/8 C Coquet - Hardy & Heidi
2006/9/10 C Coquet - with Butterdogs
2006/12/23 Hill of Tara - Gruesome Twosome
2006/12/02 Kyoto, C Coquet - Hardy & Heidi
2006/11/20-29 Kyoto, Four song workshops Venetia International School
2005/12/10 Kyoto White Band Day (Make Poverty History)