Travelling overseas for holiday has become a luxury most of us can’t even dream of doing due to MCOs and Covid-19 having taken over our lives. Yet, despite this, the Japan Foundation KL still found a way to whisk us on holiday without having to leave the country.
In a magical display of extraordinary musical talent, the Japan Foundation KL organised a concert of MIN’YO (Japanese folk music) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Malaysian Government’s Look East Policy on the 4th and 5th of March.
The concert featured Tanaka Shiho and Kato Erina on vocals and the Tsugaru-Shamisen (three strings instrument), Tsukuda Koshi on the Shakuhachi (bamboo flute), Kato Takuya on the Wadaiko (big drum), and Kumagai Daisuke on percussion, as well as a guest musician from Malaysia.
Going into the concert, I wasn’t too sure what I was supposed to expect. I’ve never heard of Min’yo before that night, and I’m no expert in local folk songs, let alone folk songs from Japan. But the concert was one filled with raw talent. The musicians truly embodied a care-free nature into the songs they played, reminiscent of days spent chasing your siblings down your kampung. From beautifully harmonised singing to the steady beat of traditional Japanese drums, the concert was one filled with a childlike wonder as I was taken on a trip across Japan through their music.
Enhanced by the guest appearance of Malaysian singer and musician, Alena Murang, the concert truly brought both countries together in a way only music can. The familiar melody of rasa sayang mixed with the charm of traditional Sarawakian instrument, Sape, combined with the enchanting lyrics of traditional Japanese folk songs is an experience you can never truly forget.
While Covid-19 has stopped us from visiting Japan the last few years, the MIN’YO Concert by Japan Foundation KL reminds us that the beauty of culture transcends time and space and is something you can experience no matter where you are.
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