2021/12/20

“17th Fujimoto Akiko Concert”

Fujimoto Akiko is one of today’s leading performers of Jiuta, the genre of vocal music accompanied by the shamisen created originally in the Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka) region. Her intricately inflected playing of the shamisen and her wide-ranging, lustrous voice have gained her prominence in this exquisitely subtle genre of classical music, a genre that was brought to perfection in the hands of blind musicians and whose attractiveness she reveals in full measure. The performers of the koto and shakuhachi who accompanied her at this concert are all among the leading exponents of their respective instruments and genres. Particularly worthy of mention is Yonekawa Fumiko, a Living National Treasure in the field of koto music and aged 94 at the time of this concert, who reveals her overwhelming presence in her performance.
The performances are given by the sankyoku ensemble consisting of shamisen, koto and shakuhachi, with both the shamisen and koto players also called upon to sing. It is only when all three players are present that a full ensemble comes into being. The present concert consists of two much-loved masterpieces in this genre that have been transmitted down to the present day. Both pieces demand a high level of virtuosity, as is evident in the thrilling instrumental sections known as tegoto. Zangetsu was composed as a memorial to one of the composer’s students who died at an early age. The emotional character of both the song and the shamisen is particularly affecting. In contrast, the song text of Yaegoromo is taken from five waka verses including the word koromo (‘costume’) contained in the famous collection known as Hyakunin isshu (Single Poems by a Hundred Poets) compiled by Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241). The heights of virtuosity on both the shamisen and the koto are attained in the tegoto sections with their evocation of the mood of autumn. Particularly noticeable are the imitations of the sounds of fulling blocks and the chirping of insects. The pieces performed at this concert were selected to the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the performances themselves were full of joy and tension. The concert was awarded the Grand Prix at the 2020 Arts Festival sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

2020
Kioi Small Hall

Presented by: The Japan Foundation (JF) (https://www.jpf.go.jp/e/)
In cooperation with EPAD (https://epad.terrada.co.jp/)

<Performance Credits>
Minezaki Kōtō: Zangetsu
Voice and Sangen : FUJIMOTO Akiko
Voice and Koto : OKAMURA Shintarō
Shakuhachi : FUJIWARA Dōzan

Ishikawa Kōtō: Yaegoromo
Voice and Sangen : FUJIMOTO Akiko
Koto : YONEKAWA Fumiko
Shakuhachi : ZENYŌJI Keisuke

the 75th ACA National Arts Festival for Music : Grand Prize

<Subtitling Credits>
Chinese Translation (Simplified): Shu LIN
Chinese Translation (Traditional): Muju TSAN
English Translation: Robin THOMPSON
French Translation: Edouard L’HERISSON
Russian Translation: TARASOVA Ekaterina
Spanish Translation: José Antonio AMBRIZ

<Promotional Text>
TANIGAITO Kazuko

End date of distribution: 19/12/2022