On Ensemble International

While I’m here gigging with Hiroshima, Maz is in Mexico performing with Taikoproject and Kris is in Japan preparing for his natori debut at ON Ensemble ’08: YOBU. After Mexico Maz will join Kris in Japan for more preparation. We’re really proud of Kris as he accomplishes something only a few people outside of Japan have done. Receiving a professional stage name (natori) from a traditional school is no small matter and very rare in nagauta for someone outside of Japan. Here in Los Angeles there are several high quality Nihon Buyo (Japanese dance) schools, like the Azuma-ryu led by Madame Sumako Azuma, that have strong ties to their parent school in Japan and regularly see dancers receive their natori but there aren’t strong nagauta schools where someone can get high quality training in Los Angeles.

If you want a natori in nagauta you really have to go to Japan and make contacts there. That’s what Kenny Endo did, he spent ten years in Japan studying nagauta and receiving his natori and became the first non-Japanese national to receive his natori in nagauta percussion. Kris is going to receive his natori in nagauta shamisen and we don’t know if he’s the first but he will definitely be one of a very very few non-Japanese nationals to have done so.

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