This year, the energy will reach new heights with the newest voice on the world stage, M.A.K.U.SoundSystem (featured at NY’s globalFEST 2011). They are one of my favorite bands of this year. Their driving rhythms are grounded in Afro- Colombian traditions and their gaitas come from Colombia’s indigenous heritage (like their name), as they present their music with the freedom of young Colombians hailing from urban Queens.
I interviewed them backstage for the second time after their show at the Encounter NYC Colombian Music Festival at Le Poisson Rouge, November 10, 2012. (First interview here.)
It took me 42 days in Tokyo to meet Andy Bevan, an Australian Jazz musician who’s been living and playing music in Tokyo for a long, long, long time. I heard about him through a NY music colleague who’s a friend of him. During the 42 days I missed two gigs of him, but finally on the 42nd day I had the time to go to his show at the Saravah Tokyo club in Shibuya. To get to the club I took the subway, the Ginza line, from Asakusa to Shibuya, crossed the famous intersection in Shibuya and walked a couple of blocks north towards the Bunka Mura. However it took me some time to find the club. Even the Google map couldn’t help me out?! I had to use my inspiration and feeling to find the club.
When I was at the door of the club a sign told me that Andy was playing with Masaki Hayashi ‘s STEWMAHN: Masaki Hayashi on piano, who’s also the leader, Toru Nishijima on bass and violin, Akira Horikoshi on drums and my brother Andy Bevan on soprano and tenor sax, didgeridoo and various flutes.
Who’s Marco Lienhard? What does he do here in NY? Oh, he’s a musician. No kidding. What makes him different from other musicians in NY? Many of these questions he’s going to answer in the video interview.
I have known Marco for more than thirty years. We met in Osaka, Japan, when we were thirty years younger. At that time I studied Kendo at a sports college and had just started playing sax. Marco, as far as I can remember, was an exchange student. We both were young and starting our adult lives far in the Far East. Both of us had no idea that we would stay in Japan for a very long time and would master a specific Japanese art. Marco is one of the first Europeans to learn and master the shakuhachi and taiko drum in Japan, and I myself become a Kendo master. In 2008 NY brought us together.
It is very interesting for you to know that people like Marco and me know more about Japan, the Japanese people and Japanese culture than the Japanese themselves. You might think, how can he say that? But it’s true because it’s a matter of fact that the majority of Japanese don’t know anything about Japanese classical music and their classical instruments? It’s unbelievable that a country like Japan lost track of many of its roots by the invasion of American and European cultures after the Second World War.
Date: September 14, 2011 – Venue: Drom (NY) Text, interview and video by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
Last month I got an email from Shampa Chanda inviting me to see her artist, the Indian guitarist Susmit Sen, for whom she had organized a concert at Drom in the Lower East Side. Reading the press kit which described Sen’s music as “…comparable to that of Jerry Garcia and John McLaughlin.” I thought “OK, let’s check the young Ravi Shankar out playing rock music on a guitar instead on his sitar!” When I entered Drom he had already started his show. Instead of seeing a young Indian rock musician I saw a middle aged “normal” looking guy. No long hair, no leather pants and no R&R attitude, no Marijuana, but a very polite speaking and behaving gentleman.