Concert: The Music of the Japanese Biwa – Samurai Tales of Romance and Chivalry from medieval Japan, with the voice and Biwa of Yoko Hiraoka

Saturday, March 22, 2014
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.



Price: Free with Museum admission.

The Biwa is an ancient lute-like string instrument from Japan which has been used for centuries as an accompaniment to the singing voice. Biwa musicians traditionally sing stories from medieval times with themes of love, hardship, epic battles and the evanescence of life.

Many of these stories are collected together in ‘The Tale of Heike’ an ancient account of
the amours, battles and tragedies suffered by two warring clans, the Minamoto and Taira clans of 12th century Japan.

This beautiful musical and lecture event is illustrated with projected images of ancient battles, heroic deeds and love intrigues. Ms. Hiraoka talks about the origins of the Biwa and the warrior culture of medieval Japan, and she performs some of the classic Biwa compositions. In this way she brings to life the Tale of Heike as it has been done for centuries, with singing voice and a dynamic and expressive Biwa accompaniment.

Librettos of all the sung pieces are provided to audiences in both English and phonetic Japanese.

This concert is funded by the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme Alumni Association of Texas and Oklahoma (TEXOMA JETAA).

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