Akira Tana and Otonowa
Art HIRAHARA, piano
Masaru KOGA, saxophones, flute, shakuhachi, percussion
Noriyuki Ken OKADA, bass
Akira TANA, drums
Otonowa, or “Sound Circle” is comprised entirely of jazz interpretations of traditional Japanese folk melodies that date back as long as a century ago. The incorporation of these cultural elements is part of the long tradition of American jazz artists interpreting the American folk and popular songbook. In Otonowa’s interpretations, traditional Japanese instruments are also employed, like the Shakuhachi (the traditional Japanese flute) and the fan drum, along with the piano, acoustic bass, and drum set.
What makes this group unique is that the members learned their craft here in the US and seek to illuminate songs of their Japanese ancestry in a uniquely American way. Otonowa has visited the Tohoku region for four consecutive years concertizing and conducting clinics for youth in communities still rebuilding after the 2011 Earthquake/Tsunami. This group was formed inspired by the events of that time and the survivors who escaped the horrific events that claimed over 20,000 lives.
Otonowa will return to Japan on Sept 28 for the fifth time. The entire tour is self-funded and is in every sense of the word, a charitable outreach effort. Especially poignant of this group’s appearance at the Sequoia Room is that Otsuchi, a city Otonowa visits, is the ‘sister city’ of Fort Bragg. It is the hope that the group’s performance will inspire the city of Fort Bragg to continue their long standing relationship as sister cities.
Akira Tana’s OTONOWA/TOHOKU PROJECT
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