Japanese Traditional Music: Songs of People at Work and Play - Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai 1941

WA 2019CD WA 2019CD

Restocked. The fifth and final volume of World Arbiter's Japanese Traditional Music marks the completion of the label's excavation and restoration of 60 10" 78RPM discs of Japanese traditional music, bringing a great body of lost music to light and offering in full a legacy that has been almost entirely unavailable until now, even in Japan. The original set was manufactured in 1941 by a company now called the Japan Foundation, and was intended to be presented exclusively to libraries (though the Japan Foundation now has no record of having produced it). There are only two known sets of these discs, both missing the same final 10". World Arbiter acquired one original set of 59 from Beate Sirota Gordon (daughter of pianist Leo Sirota) in the 1990s, and, after a ten-year search, finally located a test pressing of the 60th disc in a theater museum in Japan. Upon first hearing these recordings, World Arbiter's Allan Evans was shocked to hear that the discs contained every species of traditional music, from the court's origins in shamanic rites, Buddhist chant, Noh plays, kabuki, and blind biwa players' haunting songs of chilling epics, to the recordings presented here: a final volume full of folk songs that captures rice planters, weavers, tuna and herring fishers, and children, all funkier than one could imagine and with the presence of eternity in their every sound and breath. The sounds and intensity of Volume Five's folk music surpass anything heard in the classical music of Japan. With Japan's ongoing modernization and loss of its traditional music, World Arbiter's audio restoration removes artifacts from chronological chains to resonate in the eternal flow of sound that defies time and space, remaining vital and always in the present. Includes 24 tracks of performances by anonymous Japanese singers.