Friday, June 09, 2006

Surf & Turf at Konton-Kan on June 8

On June 8th, Surf & Turf had a small live performance at Konton-Kan in Harajuku, Tokyo.

Surf & Turf consists of a seasoned bluegrasser, Mr. I. as the leader, Mr. H. who is one of the best banjo players in Japan, Mr. A. who is a promising young mandolinist、and Mr. O. as base fiddler. I am playing the fiddle here. The band has nice rhythms and tempos. It is a very pleasant experience to play with them.

On this night, we challenged a few new songs such as Tear My Stillhouse Down and Teardrops In My Eyes.

I upped some of the recordigs of the night.

Please click the underlined for listening to it. If you installed MP3 player, you can listen to it.

This is one of the famous Bill Monroe instrumentals but is not frequently played in Japan. Here, we had featured Mr. H's banjo.

Back Up And Push
This is also a typical fiddle tune. I am not good at double stop yet. Need more practice!

John Hardy
Mr. H. took a lead and his banjo sounds superb.

I Saw The Light
We conclued our session with this song.

-Redorder: Edirol R-09


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Harajuku Bluegrass Jam on May 31

On May 31, we had the regular Harajuku Bluegrass Jam at Konton-Kan, Tokyo.

This time, the jam theme was "bluegrass gospel." We played number of gospels like Angel Band, Are YouAfraid To Die, Are You Washed In The Blood, Drifting Too Far From The Shore, I Saw The Light, Little White Church, Old Country Church, White Dove and many more.

Of course, we played many other favorites as well.

This month the jam saw its 12th time, which means it lasted one year. Thank you for the support of all the attendants. We would like to continue to have this jam as long as possible and always welcome anybody interested in Bluegrass.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Open Mike Session with a Guest From U.S.

On May 14, I went to a bluegrass open mike session at a pub in Machida city, located in the west part of Tokyo, with a guest from the U.S.

His name was Bruce and he contacted me through this blog. He had a very busy working schedule in Tokyo but brought a guitar with him and was enthusiastic about jamming. He is a seasoned jammer in Oregon.

It was a first time for me to attend this open mike session. The session was managed by Mr. S. and he had set up “One Mike” with a lot of care. Around 15 people gathered on that day and they were all good players.

Bruce and I enjoyed a bit of open mike session and after that, we went out to try a Karaoke Box nearby. We had two men session for an hour or so there. (Most of Japanese Karaoke Boxes allow playing acoustic instruments.) We had a nice time.

Bruce was the second guest from the U.S. I met through this blog. Bluegrass unites us and internet unites us!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Small Concert of SURF & TURF on May 11, 2006

On May 11, 2006, Surf & Turf had a small concert at Konton-Kan, Tokyo.

Our band leader, Mr. I. attended Merle Fest and has just came back from the U.S. We were all glad to hear that Doc Watson, who was over 80 years old, was very very fine and competed 1.5 hour session every day without any problem. What a stamina!

We did some new songs for us this night, which included “Sweet By And By.” This is my favorite.

I recorded our session with a new recorder, Edirol R-09 and upped some of them here just for your reference.

★★★Small Concert of Surf & Turf on May 11, 2006 at Konton-Kan
Please click the underlined for listening to it. If you have installed MP3 player in your computer, you can listen to it.

Road To Columbus
My fiddle is a bit shaky. I need more practice.

Randy Lynn Rag
Banjo of Mr. H. is thriving.

Sweet By And By
This is a new song for us. I love it, though we need to work out our chorus. Lead vocal is Mr. I. with my tenor.

-Lead Vocal & Guitar : Mr. I.
-Banjo & Harmony Chorus: Mr. H.
-Mandolin: Mr. A.
-Base & Harmony Chorus: Mr. O.
-Fiddle & Harmony Chorus: NINO

○Recorder: Edirol R-09


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Harajuku Bluegrass Jam in Tokyo on Apr. 19, 2006

On April 19, 2006, we had a regular "Harajuku Bluegrass Jam" at Konton-Kan, Tokyo.

We started from 7 p.m. which was rather early and finished at around 10:30 p.m.

We usually set “Themes for the Jam”, in order just to give some accent to our jam. This time, it was the songs of Jimmy Martin, Jim & Jesse, Osborn Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs.

We could play some of the songs that were rarely played among us and as well as usual tunes.

Examples are as follows;

Blue Ridge Cabin Home
Banks Of The Ohio
Foggy Mountain Top
Footprints In The Snow
On My Way Back To The Old Home
Kentucky Waltz
Y'all Come
Sunny Side Of The Mountain
Mr. Engineer
My Baby's Gone
Foggy Mountain Breakdown

They are only a part of it. We have done a lot more.

The next jam is scheduled on May 31, 2006.

If you happened to come to Tokyo, please join us!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Session of NINO's Bluegrass Jam Band (March 24, 2006): Continued

Today, I would like to upload the recording of the 2nd stage of our private picking party on March 24, 2006 in Tokyo.

★★★Please click the underlined songs for listening.

Shuckin' The Corn
We started 2nd stage with this famous banjo tune. Mr. H's banjo was shinining!

I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
This old country song is very popular among Japanese bluegrassers.

Blue Moon Of Kentucky
I tried this classic bluegrass song with the key of B and it seemed to be a bit high for my falsetto part.

You Are My Sun Shine
We included one of the popular country songs here.

Soldier's Joy 
I enjoyed playing this typical fiddle tune thanks to the nice backing-up of base and banjo.

Sunny Side Of Life (Hi No Ataru Michi)
This is a Japanese version of famous "Sunny Side of Life."

Orange Blossom Special
We conclued the second stage with this typical fiddle breakdown.

I had a wonderful time to share bluegrass music with my picking friends and bluegrass novises.

By the way, as the band name indicates, this member have never played together before this session and we did not have any releasal. Therefore this was a real jam and that seemed to give some kind of free and spontaneous feeling throughout the session.

Session of NINO's Bluegrass Jam Band (March 24, 2006)

On March 24, 2006, I had a private picking party inviting some of my colleagues at the company.

Fortunately, I could hold one of the top banjo players in Tokyo, Mr. H. for this session and also managed to have some of my picking friends, Mr. K. and Mr. M. The session was held at a small rental live space in Tokyo.

I would like to up some of the recordings of our session here. Although the quality of recording is not good, I hope you get a feel of our “hot” session.

★★★Please click the underlined songs for listening. If you have installed MP3 players in your computer, you can listen it.

Day Break In Dixie

Grand Father's Clock (with Japanese verse)
This song started with Japanese verse followed by instrumental.

Banks Of The Ohio
Most of the audience did not know bluegrass, but this classic bluegrass song seemed to appeal them.

Randy Lynn Rag
Mr.H's banjo had nice timing and rythme and we all enjoyed it.

Red Wing & Turkey In A Straw
I explained to the audience how the fiddle is different from the violin.

(To be continued)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Live Performance of Surf & Turf at Konton-Kan, Tokyo

On March 9th, I joined the live performance of “Surf & Turf” at Konton-Kan, Tokyo.

This band is headed by a veteran bluegrasser, Mr. I together with our banjo teacher, Mr. H, a young mandolinist, Mr. A and a veteran bassist, Mr. O. I temporarily joined the band as a fiddler.

This day’s live was particularly good, because, we had Mr. and Mrs. Moriyasu, the famous duo of Celtic music as well.

I upped the recordings of some of our performance. The recording quality is not good but I hope that you can get to know how we are enjoying bluegrass in Tokyo.

Please click the underlined to listen to the recordings.

Little Rabit

This was a bit longer.

St. Anne’s Reel
Sorry. My fiddle is getting faster and faster. I need to control tempo!