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Japan: Semiclasssical and Folk Music CD

Japan: Semiclasssical and Folk Music CD

  • $1529

The traditional music of Japan comprises a rich variety of styles developed over the course of more than a millennium. Among them are ancient imperial court music (Gagaku), the 14th-century form of musical drama patronized by feudal lords (Noh), and “semiclassical music.” Despite its name, this last category, created between the 16th and 19th centuries, consists of various genres that are closer to what we would think of as “popular.”

This 1974 recording features three traditional Japanese semiclassical and five regional folk music compositions, also from the late feudal period. The semiclassical performances feature the shamisen (lute), koto (zither), and shakuhachi (flute). Folk songs come from the mountains, the coast, Okinawa, and Tokyo. The liner notes refer to contributions from other cultures—India, China, Korea, Indonesia—that were assimilated to Japan’s highly original civilization, and also describe the performance traditions.

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track listing

1. Naga-Uta "Kanjincho" - Shamisen Music - 7:04
2. Koto Duet "Godan-Kinuta" - 6:02
3. Shakuhachi Duet "Shika-No-Tone" - 10:26
4. Tsugaru Yama-Uta - Moutaineer's Song - 2:53
5. Awa-Odori - Bon Dance - 3:26
6. Tairyo Utaikomi - Fishermen's Song - 4:57
7. Hatoma-Bushi - Okinawa Islands - 2:28
8. Edo Matsuri Bayashi - Festival Ensemble of Tokyo - 9:59

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