TATSU AOKI AND A 300-YEAR LEGACY OF JAPANESE CULTURAL ARTS
CHICAGO CD RELEASE/PRESS PARTY
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9th AT CAFÉ SUSHI IN CHICAGO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2012 (Rev. 3)
Lenora Lee/Asian Improv Records
Lenora (at) asianimprov.org (San Francisco)
info(at)enericom.net (National and Chicago)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA and CHICAGO, IL - - Asian Improv aRts, GenRyu Arts and Nihonmachi Little Friends are pleased to present the upcoming concert: TOYOAKIMOTO – Tatsu Aoki and a 300-year legacy of Japanese cultural arts. This special event celebrates the release of a new compact disc recording featuring music by Tatsu Aoki (shamisen – Japanese lute), Chizuru Kineya (shamisen), and Melody Takata (taiko – Japanese drums). Also performing will be special guests Francis Wong (saxophone) and Yangqin Zhao (Chinese hammered dulcimer).
The concert, free to the public, will take place on Sunday, July 29, 2012 from 1 p.m. -2:30 p.m. (a reception with the artists precedes the show from 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m.) in Nihonmachi Little Friends’ Tateuchi Auditorium, 1830 Sutter Street (between Webster and Buchanan), San Francisco, California. For more info visit www.asianimprov.org .
A Chicago CD Release/Press Party presented by ENERI Communications is scheduled for Thursday, August 9, 2012 at Café Sushi, 1342 North Wells Street, Chicago, Illinois from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by radio personality Rick O’Dell. Media wishing to attend should request credentials by e-mail to ENERI Communications at rsvp(at)enericom.net by August 3, 2012. The reception is being underwritten in part by Philip Wong, Esq and RKJ Legal. A limited number of tickets will be available to fans at the cost of $20 each, which includes the CD. For availability, please RSVP to rsvp(at)enericom.net by August 3, 2012.
Tatsu Aoki will appear and perform at the Chicago CD Release/Press Party, along with Amy Homma, Rika Lin and Lori Ashaikawa from Toyoaki Shamisen Ensemble. (In special appearance, Grand Master Shunojo Fujima from Fujima Ryu of Chicago, will take care of Kimono dressing for the Ensemble ladies that day, who will look spectacular.)
ABOUT THE MUSIC
The July 29th San Francisco performance (and the music on the CD) focuses on the music of Toyoakimoto, a geisha house in downtown Tokyo where Tatsu Aoki was born and grew up. The origins of the house and its arts date back to the famed “Edo” period, perhaps the most formative era in Japanese cultural history beginning with the ascendancy of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1603. Within this house, the ozashiki shamisen music that Aoki has reconstructed was mainly instrumental and used mostly as interlude music before the featured geisha ladies appear, or to fill time in large parties and gatherings. For Aoki, known both for his achievements as an experimentalist in music and film as well as in the traditional Japanese cultural arts, this legacy is at the center of everything he has done as an artist. Joining him for the concert will be Chizuru Kineya, Nagauta Shamisen artist and an accredited master of the instrument from the legendary Kineya Shamisen family in Tokyo. Chizuru Sensei, is a critical collaborator in Aoki’s process of recovering and re-presenting the historic Toyoakimoto music. On taiko will be San Francisco’s Melody Takata, a frequent Aoki collaborator in both his traditional and experimental projects and one of the City’s celebrated practitioners of Japanese cultural arts.
San Francisco-based Chinese artists Francis Wong (Asian Improv aRts co-founder) and Yangqin Zhao (Artistic Director of Melody of China) will join the ensemble for an excerpt of a new work composed by Wong and commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission.This new work, entitled “Reconciliation”
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES Please check pdf link below for full listing.
Tatsu Aoki is a prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate bassist and Shamisen Lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music.
Aoki was born in 1957 in Tokyo, Japan into an artisan family called TOYOAKIMOTO, traditionally categorized as OKIYA, meaning a booking and training agent for Geisha ladies in downtown Tokyo’s designated area. While the economy and social environment forced many of those traditional artisan family business to close down in the 60’s, Aoki was luckily able to receive some of the important essence of traditional Tokyo Geisha cultural training and studies at age 4, and became a part of the performing crew in early childhood. After his grandmother passed away, he had kept on with the Tokyo music training until early teens, and shifted his musical focus to American pop music and experimental music. Since his biological father was a movie producer at Shin Toho Studio, he had also began working in small gage films and started to produce experimental films.
Aoki was an active performer during the early 70’s in the mist of Tokyo Underground Arts movement. He became a member of the Japanese Experimental Music ensemble, GINTENKAI presenting mixture of traditional music and new western music. After coming to the U.S. in 1977, Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an adjunct Full Professor at the Film, Video and New Media Department, and teaches film production and history courses. During the late 80’s, Aoki became a leading advocate for Chicago's Asian American community and one of Chicago's most in-demand musicians on contrabass, taiko (Japanese drums) and shamisen (Japanese lute).
To this date, Aoki has produced and appears in more than 90 recording projects and over 30 experimental films and he has been working internationally. He is one of the most recorded artists in Chicago music scene.
As an Executive Director of AIRMW, Aoki has initiated and managed several programs to advance the understanding of Asian American culture and community through the arts, including the Annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and the JASC Tsukasa Taiko Legacy arts residency project. His work as an artist and educator in the cultural arts and as a leader in the Asian American community address as well as define the issues facing the community, including the need for quality artistic programs that reflect the Asian American experience. www.tatsuaoki.com
TOYOAKIMOTO pre-orders are available online via the website Amazon.com now .
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This is an abbreviated release; for images, sampler and more, see
LINK for full PRESS KIT: