Harukaze 2019: Momokusu Iwata, Shamisen Tokyo

Posted by on May 12, 2019 in Events | 0 comments

Harukaze 2019: Momokusu Iwata, Shamisen Tokyo

The Japan America Society of Minnesota presents

in memory of Mr. Takuzo Ishida

Shamisen Tokyo. Tradition meets Modernity. Award-winning Momokusu Iwata brings the ancient shamisen into modern times with songs infused with rock, jazz, and other contemporary elements. Please join JASM Harukaze, Spring Wind, concert for this exciting performance of true musical cross culture event.



About Momokusu Iwata
“Tsugaru Shamisen can create 7 kinds of timbres.”
That’s what Momokusu Iwata took home from his master’s first lesson. Since then, he has explored and polished the timbres. He won the Tsugaru shamisen world competition in 2017; however, he was critiqued by the Tsugaru shamisen orthodoxy for his delicate nuances. The instrument was designed to play aloud in olden times with no electronic amplifiers. This musical instrument was created and improved by blind performers in Tsugaru area (Aomori prefecture, northern Japan). They developed various kinds of techniques to perform loudly to get the attention and praise of people. Listening to Momokusu’s interpretation, and finding it “too delicate” some old fashioned players had commented: “Your shamisen is not Tsugaru shamisen.  Your shamisen is Tokyo shamisen.” Momokusu has decided to be true to himself. He has named his own project as “Shamisen Tokyo”.

He does not limit his repertoire to only the Tsugaru folk songs. He plays western classical, jazz, pops and his own compositions. He plays solo and works with other musical instruments. Even within one score, his shamisen becomes quite powerful like percussion and the other times, it becomes very transparent like shining raindrops. He keeps creating new timbres as Tokyo keeps renewing itself while maintaining its tradition and charm.

Ayatoshi Oikawa, Piano (pictured left)

A native of Saitama, Japan and graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts. Ayatoshi’s piano performance is often seen on TV.  He successfully performed his first solo concert in April last year. He is currently playing throughout Japan with various singers and artists.


Sunday, July 28, 2019
3:00 p.m.

Sundin Music Hall
1531 Hewitt Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

$25 Non-Member
$20 JASM Member
$10 Students (with ID)
$5 Age 6 and Under

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