Thursday, November 10, 2011

Music at Matsuri on Mobara

Well this is a little late (by a couple of weeks)... which says something about how busy I am right now, and also how distracted I've become. Still many of those distractions are positive, so I don't mind so much. Now every year around this time there's a bit of a Japanese Festival called Matsuri on Mobara down at the Mobara Park in Mawson Lakes. Mobara being the sister city to the city of Salisbury. If you want, check out last years post...

Like last year, I have to say the highlight was Noriko Tadano on the shamisen... but this time she had a friend, George Kamikawa. Now Noriko plays a mean shamisen - but George is just as talented as a blues singer - and their song set all had a distinctly Southern US feel to it. Definitely not what you'd expect from such a traditional instrument.

It's a good combination of east...

and west... but both with a distinctive Japanese flavour.

Noriko has been somewhat of a treat for Australia - having been performing with the shamisen since the age of 6 she's more than adept at knowing how far to take the instrument, and when to jump into hyperdrive into a whole other space. She's recently been transitioning the traditional instrument into a wonderful fusion music. She won the Head Judges Special Award in the 2009 National Japanese Shamisen Competition in Hirosaki.

George has been in Australia since 2001, busking his way through Melbourne with a gritty blues style. He even won the 2004 Country Music Busking Championship at Tamworth - not something you'd perhaps expect from a lad from Japan. Still - there's plenty of surprises here.

Press the PLAY button below to listen to one of the more traditional sounding samples, called Vertigo, from their latest album, "Staircase to the Moon".

Unfortunately for all the Adelaide folk that loved the music, both Noriko and George are from Melbourne, and they travelled over the border for the festival (and to visit family). So welcome back to Adelaide Noriko, and hope to see you next year!  

And George, who had his first Mobara festival this year - hope you enjoyed it and that we see you again too!

Even though the sets are energetic - there remains a wonderful stillness to the music

And the two of them really rocked it during the day with some energetic pieces.... and that shamisen was well and truly given a run for its money. Unfortunately - Noriko's second set in the afternoon would have to be missed as I had to depart early for a trip to Melbourne for work. On a Sunday *sigh*. So I only had bluesy songs to enjoy... with the one sort of Japanese flavoured song, Sake Sake Sake! Not a bad song - and it was certainly thirsty work.

To give a flavour of the days duet, I've included a shared video from the ABC that highlights one of their songs. In fact this was one of the songs that they played.

Well - it's been a busy few weeks, and we just attended the 2011 Adelaide Christmas Pageant today... so lots to blog about...


  1. It's a pretty good event - not that Adelaide has many. Still... I think that there's a bit of a few things that they need to consider to keep it fresh... and trying to expand people's ideas about what Japan is. Certainly the fusion of blues and shamisen did that this year.

  2. Looks wonderful! Glad the distractions have been positive.

  3. The distractions have been many and varied. Some very positive - others less so. What has been a challenge however is to find the time to do my blog. I guess I'm also at that point where blogging is taking a lower priority... hopefully not the beginning of the end.