koenji_suiren

My Journey as a Flute Player in the Awa Dance Group

Japanese Traditional Dance: Music and Dancers in Sui-ren

→ Awa-Dance in Koenji "Sui-ren" official website
6 Mar

Sui-ren’s Costume

Sui-ren’s main color is blue. Women wear pale blue kimono. On one sleeve, you can see one Chinese character which means "cool" because Sui-ren’s “Sui” means “cool”.
IMG_3014


Men wear blue “Happi” and white short pants. “Happi” is a short kimono. They put a blue and gray Japanese towel (Tenugui) on their head. The women dancers of the “Men’s Dance” wear the same costume.
IMG_3015


Big drum players wear grey “Happi” and black pants. All musicians except these players use kimono. Both male and female musicians put the kimono in the same way.
IMG_3017
IMG_3016


Usually in Japan, male and female wear kimono in different ways. The women usually place the obi on their waistline, which is wider than the men’s obi. On the otherhand the men wear the obi around their hip. It has a width of about 8 to 10 centimetres.

3 Feb

Setsubun: getting of a demon

Today is Setsubun,which is a holiday for the change of seasons. On our calendar, today is considered to be the last day of winter and the beginning of spring. But it seems we still have cold days ahead! At Setsubun we do a ritual of bean throwing. We throw soybeans to in the streets or at demon to represent getting rid of bad luck.

IMG_2943
IMG_2951


Suiren had the first performance of the new year! We visited a nursery school to join the Setsubun party. A man dancer played the role of a demon. Kids were so excited and threw balls at him! Some little kids are scared of the demon, though. We hope that we were able to get rid of the demon and bring good luck to the school.

IMG_2946
IMG_2949
IMG_2948


IMG_2950

IMG_2945
29 Jan

About Musical Band : Narimono

Each Ren(Team) has their own musical band. It is called “Narimono.” “Narimono” usually consists of some instruments such as the bell, drum, Japanese flute, and Shamisen(Japanese guitar). The “Kane”, which is the dish typed bell. The “Kane” player is the conductor of the band. He or she unifies the performers, including dancers. He/She sets the tempo, dynamics, and the beats. Other members always listen to the bell sound as an indication for them to start and follow the instructions. For example, when the bell player rings a slow and big sound, the other musicians will know if they will slow down with their beat. When the music becomes slow, the dancers will also start to move slowly too. The bell player takes control of the musical band and dancers.

The drum also has an important role in the team. A dancer always follows its rhythms and make the steps. A big drum, called “Odaiko,” makes big and low sounds. A musician carries the drum and plays with two wooden sticks. A small drum called “Shime-daiko” makes the high sounds. This drum creates an accent.

Along with the Japanese flute called “Shinobue”, which makes a beautiful melody. In Awa-odori, there are several typical songs. Each Ren(Team) has a slightly different melody line. When dancers compose their sequences, they sometimes follow the tune of the flute. If the song has a melancholy melody, they will dance slowly.

“Shamisen” is the different type of guitar. Shamisen can play melody, rhythm, and beats. It can add great accent in the music.

As for Suiren, Narimono consists of a bell, big and small drums, and Japanese flutes.
IMG_2878
IMG_2883

IMG_2877
IMG_2881
IMG_2880
About the writer
Mayuko Kurosaka

She is a member of Sui-ren. She is a flutist. She's been performing for more than 6 years for the group. She was born in Kawagoe an old city in Saitama. She learned to play traditional instrument when she was a young or a kid. She works as a freelance writer.
inquiries
you can join and be part of our dynamic and fun group. You are very much welcome to join, so don't hesitate!

For bookings of cast requests and tours, please contact me.