next stop… Minyo Station

minyo_station2Last year I wrote a post about my inadvertent discovery of Minyo, a style of Japanese folk music, through an old record I got from a garage sale–and my subsequent realization that a friend of mine is in a band called Minyo Station, a “progressive folk music” band that fuses Minyo with jazz, rock, and reggae.

Well, as it turns out, I’m playing in the band now.  And we have a show this Saturday at 7:30pm in San Pedro.

Actually, I should say “concert” rather than “show,” because this isn’t just a quick set of music at some club; no, this is the whole shebang.  Two sets with an intermission, a full ensemble featuring traditional singers, folk dancers, and shamisen section, guest instrumentalists, and even a workshop before the show where you can learn folk dances from different regions of Japan.

What’s most interesting and unique about Minyo Station is that it is totally unlike other “fusion” groups that incorporate Western and Asian musical influences.  Usually it’s a matter of simply putting Asian instrumentation and/or melodies on top of a pre-existing style like jazz, funk, rock, etc.  But with Minyo Station, it’s almost exactly the reverse–instead, the base of the music is Japanese folk songs and the Western instrumentation and harmonies are added on top.  Because of this it’s been a real challenge for me to learn the music—the rhythmic structure, harmonic movement, and song forms are so different than what I’ve grown up listening to (but it seems to come naturally to the shamisen players!).  The experience has really helped me grow as a musician, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with others, so if you have a chance, check us out on Saturday!

Saturday, February 21
Minyo Station
@ The Grand Annex
434 W. 6th St. San Pedro, CA 90731
Concert: 7:30pm
$15.00 pre-sale / $20.00 at the door
Workshop: 5:00pm – $10.00 (Learn folk dances from different regions of Japan)

Published in: on February 20, 2009 at 4:17 am  Leave a Comment  

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