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Tradition, Communication and Composition

25 August 2021

09:00 - 10:00 hrs (GMT+7)

What is the border between traditional music and contemporary music? What is the border between Asian music and Western music? Is it possible for both contemporary and traditional music to coexist? How can Asian tradition happily meet Western music? As a composer I have explored how different notes, different instruments, different people, different cultures and different philosophies can coexist, and have organised many participatory music projects. One such project is Senju Pun-filled Music Festival (SPMF), an ongoing participatory project to connect different ideas through wordplay and music.

I launched SPMF in 2011 soon after the major earthquake in Japan. I felt nuclear disasters divide people into camps, such as capitalism versus environmentalism etc. People did not listen to other opinions. That was why my project focused on listening to each other and understanding other aesthetics. In 2014, SPMF organized a big participatory outdoor concert called “Music for 1010 people”, which included 3 new compositions for 1010 performers, including Javanese gamelan, Thai piphat, Japanese koto, tsuzumi drum, strings, winds, brass, percussions, various found objects, baseball players, etc. Anant Narkkong from Thailand composed “Super Fisherman” for storytelling, gigantic puppet and large ensemble. Memet Chairul Slamet from Indonesia composed and conducted “Senju 2014”. I composed “1010 people in Senju”, in which baseball players or rope-jumpers became conductors of the orchestra. For the rehearsal of “Music for 1010 people”, we divided 1010 people into 30 groups, each of which contained about 35 people.We also had 30 facilitators. After the event, these 30 facilitators became the core members of the Pun-filled Music Community Band(PMCB). PMCB visited Bangkok in 2015 and Jogjakarta in 2016 to engage in community music-making with other Asian musicians. Since 2020, together with PMCB, I have been engaged in creative music-making online.

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