Four Winds – OzAsia Festival 2011

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre

Reviewed Saturday 3rd September 2011

Venue: The Space, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: Concluded
Duration: 1hr 30min incl interval

Master ōtsuzumi performer, Shonosuke Okura, who is a Japanese Intangible Cultural Treasure, played this hourglass shaped drum, with its very tight heads, as well as singing those abstract voice calls that go with the playing of that instrument. This type of drum, and the similar but smaller kotsuzumi, are used both in Noh theatre and other traditional arts. Four instruments, adding a large taiko drum and a flute to these two smaller drums, are accompaniment to Noh and known as the hayashi.

These largely unfamiliar sounds, are blended with the more commonly heard instruments of the three Australian performers in this concert. Steve Falk plays the Marimba, and a large range of percussion instruments, Andy Bevan adds a very Australian influence with his didgeridoo, as well as soprano saxophone, flutes and a fair amount of percussion, and Slava Grigoryan, who should need no introduction, completes the group on guitar.

Much of the music was composed by Falk, alone or in conjunction with Bevan, with one piece from William Lovelady, another from Leonard Grigoryan, and one piece from Japanese composer, Kousaka Yamada, as well as one from Shonosuke Okura himself. Falk and Bevan both live in Japan and so there are strong influences in some of their compositions, too.

It was a well-balanced concert, with constantly changing focus to each of the musicians. One of the highlights was Slava Grigoryan's guitar solo, playing his brother's composition, Distance., and another was Shonosuke Okura with his piece, Sanbaso.

This merging of traditional Japanese Noh performance with western and indigenous Australian influences, along with a mix of music from both Japanese and Australian cultures, resulted in an enormously varied concert. Yet again, it is Adelaide that offers the platform for four masters of music from entirely different backgrounds to come together in this way to present an exciting and absorbing evening of music.

This is the strength of the OzAsia Festival, offering audiences traditional Asian performances, modern performances based in traditional Asian techniques and styles, and the meeting of Australian and Asian performers to create new forms.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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