Sunday, February 7, 2010

Escualo - Ku-koku-soku-on

To continue the quintet joy started in yesterday's blog, you go from Moscow to Kichijoji, Japan. Then you take the north exit of Kichijoji station and come out to the big rotary. Take the big street on the right (passing UFJ Bank on your right), heading away from the station. Take the third right after UFJ, and find Star Pine's Cafe on your left, right next the Yodabashi Camera shop. The music starts at midnight and lasts to 6 a.m. If you were lucky, you were there on November 3 of last year to enjoy the group Ku-koku-soku-on (Google Translate suggests the name means Footstep in the air): five young women from Japan with an astonishing mastery of Piazzolla's nuevo tango. I am not sure if today's featured video, Escualo, came from that venue but it certainly came from the same talented young women.

The members of Ku-koku-soku-on are Yuki Takahashi on flute, Makiko Kitamura on violin, Waka Shibasaki on accordion, Yuki Arakawa on piano and Ayuka Iwasaki on contrabass. The group was formed in 2008 and plays a variety of music but it is clear that their primary interest is the music of Piazzolla. The group shows good control of precision and pace in Escualo and I am particularly impressed with the aggressive play of the violinist - this is not chamber music. If you watch their video of Adios nonino, you will be impressed with the rhapsodic introduction provided by Ms. Arakawa on piano and the emotive bellows work by accordionist, Ms. Shibaskai. If you watch their video from the Star Pine's Cafe, Contrabajisimo, you will be impressed by the solo work of Ms. Iwasaki on contrabass and the counterbalancing delicacy of Ms. Takahashi's flute. These women are all excellent musicians but what makes the music special is their sensitive interaction and their capture of Piazzolla's nuevo tango intent.

You can find even more videos on their MySpace page (including the powerful Piazzolla antidote, Clarinet Polka). If today's video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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