My Japan tour started off really well. The tour organizers, the Ray-Light-Japan and the volunteer group worked very hard for this important show on September 13 at Suntory Hall in Tokyo. The venue is considered one of the top concert halls in Tokyo.
The month started off with a very special Tibetan stupa inauguration in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The stupa was built in the Zuni mountain by Bhakha Rinpoche, head lama of the Virotsana Foundation and his students. I was there with a couple of Tibetan artists: Tsering Wangmo, Tenzin Wangdak, and Sherap Wangmo. We were extremely grateful to Rinpoche and his staff to bring us there to make a musical offering. Rinpoche's vision in building this temple is to bring peace to all those who are suffering from war and violence. There were about 200 people gathered for the consecration.
On September 9, Michel Tyabji, my manager/percussionist, and I flew to Tokyo. We were met at the airport by Tak Kanda la and and Chinatsu Kanaeda. The weather in Tokyo was warm and little humid. We went to our Tokyo host Kunchok Sithar-la, a founding member of Ray-Light-Japan, and his family. It was very nice to see Kunchok la's family members, Naoko and Gyatso and their son, who prepared a hot Thukpa, or Udon in Japanese, for us. The jet leg didn't kick in so hard on us. From next day we were to get busy with rehearsal and preparation for the Suntory Hall concert. We met up with Tomoko Amon-la, the director of Ray-Light-Japan, and her friends, who took every bit of work seriously and with utmost care. They formed a Team Tibet volunteer group of about 40 people headed by Anrie Kitagawa.
On the day of the show, the team members, especially the Japanese ladies, all in Tibetan dress and looking gorgeous, gathered at the auditorium and started their tasks until the show ended. They were like professionals taking care of the merchandise, sound, lighting, back stage, MCing, and looking after the children. The Tibetan-Japanese children sang two songs from my next Tibetan children's music album Semshae. The 400-seat auditorium was almost packed and the show started off with a Namthar, Tibetan opera song "Gangri Rawai Kor wai Shing kham su" and a couple of traditional songs, and then weaved into my own compositions.
We ended the evening with a "Kham Lu". I with eight ladies from the Team Techung volunteers tossed lung ta papers in the air and created an atmosphere of being up on a sacred Tibetan mountain. We got two anchors and bunch of bouquet flowers from the audience. The show was a big success.
The next day, we learned that a popular Japanese singer by the name of Hikaru Utada was at the concert and wrote a very nice piece about the concert in her blog showing my cd. That was very special. Thank you Hikaru for doing that. I hope we get to play together one of these days.
Kunchok Sithar-la and Anrie M Kitazawa-la took Michel and myself for sight-seeing of Shinto and Buddhist shrines at Kamakura, a sacred area near the Pacific Ocean. Next day we headed up to Osaka in the famous Shinkansen, Japanese bullet trains, to participate at a music conference and a small show next to a river in Osaka. We were hosted there by Tomoko Abo la, a close friend of Tomoko Amon la in her beautiful home. Michel went back to LA on the 22nd. I was in Kyoto with Professor Shunzo Onoda, from the Bhukyo University. Professor Onoda-la has supported Thangtong Lugar, Tibetan Performing Arts in Dharamshala for many years and is an avid Tibetan and traditional musician. I spent several days with professor Shinzo as his guest.
My concert on September 25 at the Osaka Minami Dotonbori went really well too. The title of the concert was ENJOY TIBET! ENJOY LIFE!! This is the Real EXILE MUSIC. Tenzin Dhundup, a local Tibetan musician, and Professor Shunzo Onoda la opened with DRE KAR and a couple of traditional songs. Then six of the Tibetan-Japanese children in Osaka sang "Chik Nyi and Shide-Peace" songs from the Semshae album and the audience loved them. The youngest singer was 2 years old. This was a benefit concert for the Semshae Project. The event was small, but a very enthusiastic audience listened to our music and stayed till the end. I had a fun evening.
I am heading to Tokyo tomorrow, September 27th, and will attend a special party organized by Team Techung, a group of volunteers who helped at the Suntory Hall concert. I am looking forward to it.
My gratitudes to Ray-Light-Japan and Professor Shunzo Onoda-la for making this tour possible. We had great shows and a wonderful experience. Thank you. May you all have a beautiful life.
Thank You and Do Arigato Gozai mus!
Here are photos from Suntory Hall.
Another good news to share with you is that I am one of the recipients of the 2009 Creative Work Fund, a prestigious funding provided by the renowned Bay Area foundation, the Walter and Elise Fund and other foundations, in the traditional arts. I will be collaborating with Door Dog Music Production and other Central Asian traditional artists to create "Spirits of the Steppes". We will explore the music of ancient rites and rituals.
I hope you have a nice fall season.