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Tall Poppies

 

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 TP (1-900)

TP044

Like a Bird

Satsuki Odamura (koto)
Ian Cleworth (percussion)
Riley Lee (shakuhachi)
Cleis Pearce (viola)
Kazue Sawai (koto)

$23   (Australian dollars)

   

buy at: AMC - Buywell - iTunes

cover
This is Odamura's first CD. Since arriving in Australia less than a decade ago she has introduced the koto into contemporary performance here, and she is now in great demand. Her playing is dramatic and engaging, successfully integrating traditional and modern techniques. For this CD she has gathered around her some of the musicians in Australia most fascinated by the meeting of East and West in music.
CONTENTS

SawaiFlying Like a Bird
SawaiVoices of Water
SawaiA Sound of Sands
Cleworth/Odamura/SawaiKotobayashi
 ... Bridges in Darkness
 ... Shadows ... Echoes
 ... Fugitive Voices
 ... Arcane Visions
KuribayashiDuet for Bass Koto
MatsumuraPoeme No 1

REVIEWS


I became a devotee of Japanese traditional music first through the broadcasts and London concerts of the British based shakuhachi virtuoso Yoshikazu Iwamoto (Almeida Festival, City University etc), who also developed his instrument in association with electronics. It is as unique, in its different way, as the Indian bamboo flute.

Later I had opportunities to relish the koto, most recently through the playing of Etsuko Takezawa (koto, bass koto, shamisen) who flew in from Tokyo to join the London based group Okeanos Plus. These are all wonderful instruments, and there are pockets of activity to be found in several Western countries.

Australia is nearer to Japan than UK, and the Tall Poppies label features several examples of japanese traditional and contemporary music. This is Satsuki Odamura's first CD, devoted entirely to 20th-century music, and it features the instrument in various and varied settings. Since arriving in Australia less than a decade ago she founded an Australian branch of the Sawai International Kot School and introduced the koto into contemporary performance there, her playing successfully integrating traditional and modern techniques. For this CD she has collaborated with some of the musicians in Australia most fascinated by the meeting of East and West in music.

It is a lovely CD and whets the appetite for more from that source. It is varied, including two bass kotos duetting, and pieces with violin, percussion and Riley Lee's shakuhachi, which is less characteristically breathy than Iwamoto's, as I remember his from a series of BBC broadcasts in the '80s.

Well worth seeking out.

Peter Grahame Woolf
Musical Pointers


Satsuki Odamura has called Sydney home since 1989, when she arrived to establish an Australian branch of the Sawai International Koto School. Tadeo Sawai is composer of three of this CD's nine pieces and his spouse and cofounder of the School, Kazue Sawai is this CD's second koto player. Satsuki begins alone with Tadao Sawai's Flying Like a Bird which is at once recognisably Japanese, very lyrical and immediately pleasing to Western ears, nicely unusual and beautifully played. The other pieces are each unlike the other, and all are interesting. Voices of Water is a duet for koto and bass koto and is much more stark and austere, whilst Duet for Bass Koto is driving, jagged and hypnotic. A Sound of Sands is a duet with Australian violinist Cleis Pearce, with a great deal of room for improvisation and widely varied moods and textures. The four trio improvisations are not for the fainthearted and feature kotos bowed as well as plucked, plus some remarkable playing by percussionist Ian Cleworth. The CD ends with a much more traditional pairing - that of koto and shakuhachi. Poeme No 1, composed by Teizo Matsumura, is a demanding but not forbidding duet with Rily Lee playing the shakuhachi and both players improvising a good deal and making effective use of the silences surrounding the notes played.

As is usually the case with Tall Poppies releases, the music has been recorded and presented well, and its producer and recording engineer, Tony Lewis, has written informative and unpretentious notes in the CD booklet.
Doug Spencer
24 Hours. April 1994

< TP043   TP044   TP045 >
 TP (1-900)


 

 
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