Sunday, March 10, 2013

Akita Shamisen Concert... and Lessons?

Today I had the chance to go to a small, local shamisen concert by Akita shamisen player Houshuu Asano! He played, among other songs, Akita Obako and Akita Nikatabushi, two famous songs from the area.

It was fun, interesting, and it turns out I might actually have the chance to start lessons with him, but we're still trying to work out the schedule and details for now. Here's a sample of the Akita style:

The shamisen is a three-stringed instrument that is often compared to a banjo and is heard in traditional Japanese music. There are several main styles, but if you've heard of the Yoshida Brothers or their music, they play Tsugaru, a close relative to the Akita style. They're also famous for adding new and modern styling and instruments to the traditional shamisen sound. Here's one example:

After hearing so much shamisen during my traditional dance practices, it's grown on me and I've wanted to try learning how to play since I came back to Japan, but couldn't find any classes held during my off days. While talking with Asano after his performance, it came up that he teaches and he offered to be my teacher! So we'll see. :)

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