An ancient art form comes alive

Delightful Show

An ancient art form comes alive

The Glass House of Raj Bhavan was an apt venue to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Indo-Japanese diplomatic relations.

As a part of this, the Indo-Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently presented two stupendous performances — Noh, a traditional Japanese musical play
and a violin recital by Ambi Subramaniam.

“I am very happy to note that the bilateral relations of our two countries have remarkably grown and flourished particularly over recent years. I am delighted that the Japanese traditional Noh theatre performance by the renowned Kanze School is being presented to celebrate this anniversary,” said Koichi Ibara, Consul and Head of the Consulate of Japan, Bangalore. He even confessed that he himself had never seen this art form until that day.
 
H R Bharadwaj, Governor of Karnataka was the chief guest of this symbolic event.
He said, “This is a very happy occasion for both countries. We share a similar culture with Japan in terms of the message of peace that Lord Buddha preached about and have always kept good relations with the country. But bringing Noh theatre to India is a wonderful step to renew our friendship with them.”

Noh is a traditional form of masked drama that has been performed since the 14th
century. It is one of the most ancient art forms of the world that is still alive today.  It stands for swiftly defined movements and intricate masks and is a masterpiece of traditional theatrical art. A traditional formal coat with the family crest and Hakama shirt is worn by the men performing.

The first item for the evening was the tsuchigumo, which showed the battle between two feudal lords. It was interesting to see the dependence on the props and dialogue, which were indispensable in the act. The chorus was also integral to it and provided background music in the form of chants.

The second item was hagoromo, which was a long piece telling the story of a celestial maiden and her interaction with a fisherman. Ornate costumes and intense music made this a rich experience to watch. Here, there was a flautist, a few drummers and a chorus accompanying the actors.

This was a great initiative on the part of Indo-Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to showcase a part of the culture that not too many people in the City can claim they have seen before. However, not everyone could appreciate the beauty of it.

“It would be nice to watch if you’re interested in the cultures of our countries and civilizations. But I was struggling to make sense of it,” says Astha Bhawsinha, a member of the audience. While the play did not appeal to her, not everyone found the language barrier to be a problem.

The many smiling faces in the audience were witness to that.Noh was followed by a violin solo by Ambi Subramaniam, the son of violin maestro L Subramaniam, with whom he tours the world, giving both solo and duet performances.

It was visible to all present that the young 19-year-old violinist has already made a place for himself in the musical landscape of the country. His short but soulful performance definitely won him a whole new level of respect from the City’s music lovers.

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