Embassy hosts Japanese Music Concert & Workshop

in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Japan-Malawi Diplomatic Relations


on 30th & 31st August 2014


On Saturday 30th, August 2014 the Embassy of Japan in Malawi in collaboration with the Japan Foundation hosted a Japanese traditional musical performance at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe. The performers who traveled from Japan were Kenichi Koizumi (Wadaiko or Japanese drum) ; Naomi Koizumi, (Shinobue or Japanese flute) and KEIKO (drum and dance). At the end of the main performance, there was also a short collaborative session with a local Malawian band where the muscians from two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of Japan-Malawi friendnship through their joint performance.



Kenichi Koizumi playing Okedo Taiko


Naomi Koizumi playing 'Yoakemae', a piece that conveys the image of deep blue predawn darkness

KEIKO dancing to the rhythm of drum and flute



Combined performance on various drums, coveying the image of thunder

The trio performing a piece that features Hachijo drum.



Keinchi playing a piece called 'Shin (Core)' expressing the process in which one's concentration becomes enhanced through the playing of Japanese drum


Kenichi explaining about the difference kinds of drums that he brought from Japan


Naomi introducing to the audience various sounds that different Japanese flutes can make


The Japanese trio playing in collaboration with a local Malawian band

(Music Crossroads Smooth Groovers Band)


The local Malawian band practiced a Japanese song called Sakura-Sakura.

The Japanese trio also learned a song composed by the Malawian band as well as the Malawian national anthem.

In total, they played three songs together.


At the end of performance


A bond of frindship formed through muscial exchange


Ambassador Shuichiro Nishioka answering to the media interviews after the performance



The same Japanese trio visited Music Crossroads Academy in Area 23 on the following day where they held a workshop style concert for the students of the academy as well as to the community surrounding the academy. The Japanese musicians enjoyed the occasion to interact with Malawian youth at the academy. The participants of the workshop learned about different instruments brought from Japan. Furthermore, the participants also had a chance to learn and tryJapanese folk dance. The Music Crossroads Smooth Groovers band (its members are teachers of the academy) again performed in collaboration with the Japanese trio during the workshop. Through two days of artistic interaction, the Japanese musicians and the Malawian band formed a bond of friendship.




Kenichi playing Okedo Taiko


Naomi explaining the structure of Shinobue

KEIKO playing Hachijo Taiko


Performing in collaboration with the Smooth Groovers Band


KEIKO dancing


KEIKO teaching the basic movement of Tokyo-Ondo, a Japanese folk dance


KEIKO dancing together with the audience


Part of the participants at the workshop




[Artists Profile]


Kenichi Koizumi (Wadaiko: Japanese drums)
Kenichi Koizumi started learning Wadaiko (Japanese drums) from a young age and started full-fledged drum-related activities from the age of 18. From that time he studied under Eitetsu Hayashi, the leading Wadaiko performer and in 1999 he became a member of Eitetsu Fuun no Kai, a performance produced by Hayashi himself. In 2003 he travelled to Australia to study music, where he participated in the Wadaiko group TAIKOZ, which is based in Sydney. While in Australia he was able to gather various new experiences, including performing in a domestic touring orchestra and also holding solo concerts, in addition to TAIKOZ, which provided opportunities to learn various forms of musical expression. After returning to Japan he started his solo career in earnest, launching his first album, SAMURAI. He has also collaborated on recording with Tsugaru Shamisen player Hiromitsu Agatsuma and engaged in nationwide tours. He also appeared on the Yoshida Brothers national tour. In recent years he is also concentrating on holding workshops and providing compositions for drumming groups. He continues to perform together with a wide range of other artists and is active both in Japan and overseas.


Naomi Koizumi (Shinobue: Japanese flute)
From the age of three, Naomi Koizumi started to receive aural training, beginning with lessons on the electric organ. In 1985 she joined the Wadaiko group WAKKO in Yawata City, Kyoto Prefecture, as one of its founding members. She also started to learn the Shinobue (high-pitched Japanese transverse bamboo flute) during the course of her performances. From 1995 she studied the Shinobue and Ryuteki (medium-pitched Japanese transverse bamboo flute) under Kourei Deguchi, a master of both these instruments. From 2000 she studied the Nohkan (high-pitched Japanese bamboo transverse flute or Fue, or Noh flute) under Ryo Noguchi, a Noh flute player of the Morita School. In 2014 she joined the ASKA Japanese Drum Troupe on a nationwide tour of Russia. She is currently based in Japan, where her activities are concentrated on Tokyo and Kyoto, but she also performs around the country and also in Europe and Asia. She has produced a CD series entitled The Flower of Sounds, which features well-loved compositions together with original works performed on the Shinobue as well as other Japanese and Western instruments such as the Shakuhachi, Koto and piano. She also teaches in both the Kansai and Kanto regions and provides compositions for shrine rituals and ceremonies in the Kansai region.


KEIKO (Wadaiko: Japanese drums, and dance)
KEIKO started learning classical ballet from the age of four and first encountered Wadaiko at the age of 17. In 2000 she took her first steps on the stage at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. In the same year she started to learn Japanese dance and sought to develop her own unique performance technique that incorporates dance movements. From 2002 she performed around Tokyo, mainly at live music clubs. She has performed solo and also worked in collaboration with a variety of performers. Her performances have won plaudits at all events. From 2006 she started performances at schools and day-care facilities, demonstrating the modern forms of musical expression that can be achieved by using traditional Japanese performing arts and instruments. Her friendly and approachable performances make it easy for children to understand the appeal of Wadaiko. In recent years she has formed a Japanese drumming group for children and is concentrating her efforts on teaching the next generation of performers. She is also active in workshops and performances in various regions around the country.



[Local Band Profile]

Is a five member piece of highly passionate and down to earth musicians from Lilongwe, Malawi. All the members are teachers of various instruments at the Music Crossroads Academy. The band play different types of music like, traditional and Malawian folk songs, contemporary, smooth jazz, funk and some fusions of traditional jazz. The group has been together for over two years now and has had the privilege to perform at diplomatic functions, dinners, festivals and several clubs and other ceremonies.

Eric Mwalwanda - Drummer and Band Leader
Stephen Liphesa – Bass and Voice
Moses Shumba - Rhodes & Keyboards and Voice
Blessings Nkhoma - Electric and Acoustic guitars and Voice
Lackson Chazima – Percussion and Voice (was not be available in this event)


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