In December 2014, Hamamatsu joined UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network, the first city in Asia to do so in the field of music. As more cities joined the network at the end of last year, there are now 19 cities around the world connected to each other through this network, exploring together the unlimited potential of music. This year, top artists representing their respective regions from thirteen of these UNESCO Cities of Music will come together in “Hamamatsu, Japan’s music capital”, to take part in “the World Music Festival in Hamamatsu 2016”. At this new type of music festival, a diversity of instruments and musical cultures will transcend boundaries and merge together. The inspiring performances of the musicians who have gathered here from across the seas, from Africa, Europe, South America, and Asia, will breathe new life into Hamamatsu, a city that has made music a driving force in its urban development. Four days to experience the music of the world will now begin.
I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the wonderful support and cooperation of many people in holding the World Music Festival in Hamamatsu, 2016.
In December 2014, Hamamatsu was the first city in Asia to join the UNESCO Creative City Network in the thematic area of music. In commemoration, we held the World Creative City Forum in Hamamatsu, 2015 in December last year where we deepened discussions with the world’s cities of music regarding diversity, creativity, and the new possibilities of music. In addition, the participants adopted the “Hamamatsu Agenda: in pursuit of diversity and creativity in music.” The World Music Festival in Hamamatsu, 2016, is held as a realization of the agenda’s statement that “we will cooperate to create a new music culture, based on deep cross-cultural understanding, which respects diverse music cultures around the world.”
This festival, with the theme of creating a new music culture that resonates with the world, is a new form of music festival in which the world’s diverse musical instruments and cultures transcend genre, fusing and crossing over. As our musical director, we have invited the composer Mr. Jun Miyake. Without restricting himself to a single genre, Mr. Miyake’s work seeks new musical expression, and he actively collaborates with top artists from other fields, including visual art and design. The key word of Mr. Miyake’s work is “cross-pollination,” a mix of different music to create a hybrid. I believe that this festival will create new musical value through “cross-pollination” of Hamamatsu’s world-renowned resources, including the lively musical activities of its citizens and the many music culture projects prefaced on its concentration of musical instrument industries, with the world’s various music cultures, including from the member cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
The festival program includes the World Music Concert, in which unique musicians who pair the traditional and the innovative will come together, the Folk Music Concert, in which musical instruments with links to the Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments—which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year—will be introduced, and the Exchange Concert, in which choirs and wind bands from Hamamatsu will take part in musical exchange with the music groups invited from other countries. I hope you can all enjoy the wonders of music through these various programs.
To conclude, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have worked so hard towards this festival and I ask for your cooperation and support in the further promotion of “Hamamatsu: Creative City.”
Mayor of Hamamatsu
Thank you very much for coming to the World Music Festival in Hamamatsu 2016.
To mark Hamamatsu’s affiliation with the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the thematic area of Music in 2014, the World Creative Cities Forum in Hamamatsu 2015 and the Hamamatsu Musical Instruments Makers Festival were held last year. It was further decided to hold the World Music Festival this year, in 2016. Artists from thirteen cities in twelve countries of the current nineteen UNESCO Music Cities have been invited to take part in the Festival. The various concerts, with a central focus on the World Music Concert, will provide an invaluable opportunity for people to encounter world music. Local artists from Hamamatsu and other parts of Japan have also been invited to perform folk music and various genres of world music all over the city. The overseas guest artists will participate in music exchange concerts with groups from Hamamatsu, contributing to mutual cultural understanding and international exchange through music. Opening up an opportunity to connect with the world through music and to discover new values in music culture, the Festival serves as an event that embodies the Creative City of Hamamatsu.
Last year, the 9th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition concluded successfully. This year as well, the large-scale music events, Yaramaika Music Festival and Hamamatsu Jazz Week, will be held. These ongoing projects that range from international to citizen-run events account for one of the major contributing factors to Hamamatsu’s designation as a UNESCO Creative City. Next year in 2017, we are planning to hold the Sound Design Festival as one of our Creative City projects. I hope that the city of Hamamatsu will grow and prosper more than ever by sharing the diversity and potential of music together with music lovers through these musical events and projects, and by using the power of musical culture to invigorate the city,
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who was dedicated to organizing the Festival, and to conclude with my fervent hopes for your continued support and cooperation towards Hamamatsu’s sustainable creative activities into the future.
Chairperson, UNESCO City of Music Hamamatsu Executive Committee
(Chairperson, Hamamatsu Cultural Foundation)
It is many years since I first heard the term “World Music.”
As this very broad-based concept became more established, someone casually asked me more than once, “What sort of world music does Japan have?”
It was a question for which I struggled to find an answer.
I wonder why.
Certainly, the fusion of traditional Japanese music with Western beats has produced some wonderful results. At the same time, in some of these attempts, the two separate traditions seemed to be traveling in parallel lines, never to cross paths. Melodies that do not require complex harmonies, a sense of timing that values interval and tempo, the spirit of charging each note with one’s heart and soul ... These are some of the hallmarks of Japanese music tradition, but merely overlaying them onto Western musical formats may not be enough to cause a groundbreaking chemical reaction to occur. In that respect, the legacies left by such greats as Masabumi Kikuchi, Toru Takemitsu, and Hozan Yamamoto may, in fact, come closer to representing Japan’s world music in the true sense of the word.
Let’s hypothesize for a moment.
Perhaps the reason why I found it so hard to answer that question can be found in the way in which musical traditions were segmentalized in music education after Japan’s Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century. Once Japan’s pentatonic scale was segmentalized as “traditional music,” the Western scale became far more familiar to us. Because the existence of the music that we could consider as our musical roots has been diluted, it has become increasingly difficult for us to discover the origins of our own music. Perhaps this is what has made it so difficult for us to clearly define the world music of Japan. My understanding of traditional music is as something that is inherently born from an attachment to a region’s culture and lifestyle, but that has gone through a process of natural selection over time, so that what remains has a certain inevitability.
Let’s look at it from a different angle.
I have always been extremely interested in distribution maps of folk music, which are deeply influenced by many factors, such as ethnicity, race, religion, sect, geography, and climate. The diversity of music in large metropolises, which have become a melting pot of races, is even more interesting. In that respect, the state of music in Japan is truly fascinating.
The music that we Japanese learned in the classroom and the ubiquitous J-Pop all have a mixture of influences from many different countries on a plane that operates quite separately from that inevitability. Moreover, festival music and taiko drums overlap those genres without a hint of incongruity. All of these things have blended together to create our own musical origins. Adjusting foreign cultures that have come into Japan, incorporating them into our lifestyle and assimilating them with our traditions has always been a special skill, a special trait of the Japanese that we have developed over many, many years. If we stretch that argument out further, we could say that the Japanese people of today are actually already living right in the midst of world music. It goes without saying that the premise to this is a willingness to accept foreign cultures flexibly.
If we think about it in those terms, then this Festival of World Music, held in this immensely musical city of Hamamatsu, becomes veritably steeped in inevitability. After all, this city is home to so many global manufacturers of instruments (Western instruments), including Yamaha, Kawai, Roland, and Suzuki. It has its own, highly successful music (Western music) education program and continues to inspire musicians from all over the world.
I might sound like some kind of expert on world music, but the truth is that I have never actually thought of my own music as belonging to that category. In this modern age, which is saturated with musical styles, I have walked a lonely path of “cross-fertilization” of genres, with the aims of the hybridization of music and encroaching into different fields. My goal has been to see the sound that is released in that single instant become etched in eternity. As a consequence, I had thought that I had strayed far away from Japan in my work, but as I write this, I have started to think that my work so far is actually extremely Japanese in nature.
As such, I feel immensely proud to have been asked to act as Musical Director of this Festival in such a musical city as Hamamatsu, in a country that possesses these foundations of world music. I hope to be able to take advantage of even a little of the wonderful experiences that I have had interacting with a richly diverse range of creators from all over the world. With such a receptive audience, I am sure that the sound that the musicians gathered in this city will produce will take on a new resonance.
Thank you for allowing me to share a few of my random thoughts in such a roundabout way.
Jun Miyake has provided music for the productions of the likes of Pina Bausch, Wim Wenders, Philippe Decouflé, Robert Wilson, Jean-Paul Goude, and Katsuhiro Otomo. He has received international praise for his unique sound, with its frequent use of “cross-fertilization” of different elements of music. His albums, Stolen from Strangers, Lost Memory Theatre act-1 and Lost Memory Theatre act-2, were awarded Best Album of the Year by French and German music magazines, as well as major music critic awards. The Wim Wenders-directed film, pina, was named Best Documentary in the European Film Awards in 2011, and was nominated for an Academy Award and BAFTA in 2012.
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