A meeting between improvisers from the Netherlands and Japan, celebrating centuries of Japanese-Dutch relations.
Ig Henneman (NL) - viola
Michiyo Yagi (JP) - kotos
In September and October 2009, the Amsterdam-based Duo Baars-Henneman (improvised music) is to play a series of concerts in the Netherlands and in Japan together with koto*-player Michiyo Yagi from Tokyo. The project will start in the Netherlands, in cooperation with Gaudeamus International Musicweek, Bimhuis Amsterdam and the SieboldHuis in Leiden, see concerts.
Floating Worlds offers compositions and improvisations - played, sung and spoken - including modern interpretations of traditional Japanese music, a Dutch nursery-rhyme, a haiku set to music and poetic lines of Japanese terms originating from the Dutch.
A source of inspiration for Floating Worlds is the so-called 'Hofreis', a journey from Dejima (Nagasaki) to the military rulers in Edo (Tokyo), undertaken annually from 1609 by successive Dutch commanders. Each commander paid his respects, offered gifts and informed the Shogun about developments in the Western world. These perilous journeys, which often took months and months, figure in several diaries and official reports. The exchange of information between Japanese and Dutch representatives proved to have a significant impact on science, art and culture.
The remembrance and celebrations of 400 years of trade relations between Japan and the Netherlands call for this new, 21st-century Hofreis, now undertaken by Baars, Henneman and Yagi. Their artistic cooperation reflects a longstanding and fertile interchange between two entirely different worlds.
* The koto is an oblong, thirteen-string Japanese zither. Michiyo Yagi plays 21- and 17-stringed kotos, both 20th century instruments. She refers to the koto as a "transverse harp."
** A Japanese bamboo flute.
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