Contemporary Interpretation of Japanese Ghostly Ritual by the Kitsune Ensemble


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In Edo-era Japan, a popular recreation known as The Gathering of 100 Ghostly Tales involved gathering around candlelight to tell ghost stories. At the conclusion of each story, a candle would be extinguished, until the final story was told in pitch black, and legend held that a ghost would appear in this moment. These Japanese seances were performed by Samurai to test their courage and by peasants to create chills through their bodies on hot summer nights.

New York City’s Kitsune Ensemble, an improvising chamber ensemble comprised of Japanese and America musicians under the direction of composer Billy Fox, revives this practice in “The Kaidan Suite.” The 13-movement suite combines Koto tunings and Shakuhachi flute stylings with modal jazz, contemporary classical music, and free improvisation to convey moods of progressive darkness and terror.

For this performance, the Kitsune Ensemble is collaborating with theatre director Tomi Tsunoda and a team of theatrical stagehands who will create a visceral design installation (using organic materials and video projection) that evolves along with the music. The theatrical team will be present onstage in the manner of kuroko, the black- shrouded stagehands of Kabuki theatre.

“The Kaidan Suite” will be performed on Friday, June 5 at 7:00pm at the Robert Moss Theatre at 440 Studios, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, NYC. Subway: 6 to Astor Place, R to 8th Street, FVBD to Broadway-Lafayette. 440 Studios is just south of Astor Place on Lafayette on the west side of the street. Tickets are $15 and available through breedinground productions

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz.
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