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Japan: Koishimaru Izutsuya: Master of the Kawachi Ondo Epics

Japan: Koishimaru Izutsuya: Master of the Kawachi Ondo Epics

This is a recording of Koishimaru Izutsuya (1932–1992), a master of Kawachi Ondo, the little-known genre of epic-based song performed at large Bon Odori festivals popular in the industrial Kawachi plain. Accompanied by a double-sided taiko drum, a plucked string instrument called the shamisen, and occasional vocal interjections, Izutsuya performs three epic stories in sung verses and dramatic spoken passages. Beautifully recorded in 1991, the timbre and melisma of the singer’s voice and the contrasts between the regular rhythm and melody of the drum and shamisen reveal the beauty of a popular art form that continues to evolve in the 21st century. 70 minutes, 16-page notes, full-length epic transcripts in Japanese and English.

This previously-unpublished album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available again, including more than a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track Listing

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Uta Iri Kannon Kyo (Kannon Sutra in Song) Koishimaru Izutsuya 31:14
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Hotoke Kuyo Jizo Wasan (Service for the Buddha: Hymn to Jizo) Koishimaru Izutsuya 17:02
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Yoshiwara Hyaku Nin Giri: Okon Koroshi (The Slaughter of the Hundred in Yoshiwara: The Killing of Okon) Koishimaru Izutsuya 22:20