News from JNTO

DO ENKA CONCERT and Samurai Exhibition at Museum of City of New York

New Heritage Theatre Group, founded in 1964, announced today it will once again join forces with Japanese Producer Kats Abe to present the DO ENKA Concert Series, a project that fuses blues, jazz and ENKA music at the Museum of the City of New York on Friday June 25th at 7PM. The concert features guitarist Yuichiro Oda and drummer T. S. Monk, Jr. with special guests jazz trumpeter Joey Morant and Japanese vocalist Yuko Darjeeling.

In Japan, during the late 19th century ENKA was first used to refer to political texts set to music and  speeches sung and spread by oppositional political activists.  The Enka style, a form of ballad music was directly influenced by jazz and blues from the United States and is very popular today in Japan.

Jazz and blues as we know it originated at the beginning of the 20th Century in African American communities in the United States. It became popularized with the growth of the big band era and swing music of the 1930's and 40's. In the 50's the advent of bebop and artists such as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie influenced and underscored the popularity and growth of Enka.
In 2008, the number 1 Enka singer in Japan was Jero, an African American who has lived and traveled throughout Japan. Jero made his major debut with "Umiyuki (Ocean Snow)," a recording that sold 250,000 copies and had more than 500,000 downloads 
Since 1983 Voza Rivers has been at the helm of New Heritage as Executive Producer and has expanded the company's original mission from producing and presenting works by African American playwrights and writers of color to presenting international works from Africa, Latin America, London, Japan and France.

In the 1986 through a collaboration with producer Kats Abe a cultural exchange initiative was launched, whereby African American and Japanese artists and performers from both the Harlem community and the world famous Apollo Theater participated in exhibitions and performances in Japan.  Today that collaboration has grown to include three yearly signature events: Jazz for Peace-East Meets West, Voices for Peace and Unheard Notes.  These performances include a cultural exchange of live performances of jazz, blues, opera and classical music

The DO ENKA Concert has created a fusion of new music that serves as a cultural bridge between the United States and Japan.

Yuichiro Oda was born in Kagoshima, Japan. He discovered a love for music and started playing the guitar when he was 10 years old becoming proficient in such styles as pop, jazz and classical at an early age. In 1992 he performed for an audience of 1,700,000 at "Tokyo Fire Work Festival" with jazz legends such as Walter Bishop Jr., an original member of Charlie Parker's band, Paul Jackson Jr., who played with Sarah Vaughan for over 20 years, and Alan Chip White, an original member of Tom Waits Band. His first album, "ODA 1" was produced by George Duke with legends such as Tom Scott, Ernie Watts, Louis Johnson, and Larry Carlton.  In 1999 He moved to New Jersey, U.S.A. and built his own recording studio. In Japan Oda is well known as a composer, composing and releasing over 800 songs.  

T.S. Monk (Thelonious Sphere Monk, Jr.), is the son of jazz legend Thelonious Monk, and
Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute, as well as a Jazz drummer, composer and band leader. He began his music career in the early 70's and by the dawning of the 80's had formed his eponymous band, which featured him on lead vocals and drums. The group's debut album, 1980's House of Music had several hits that placed them on the R&B chart, including "Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life)" and "Candidate for Love." In 1992, Thelonious formed his jazz sextet. One of the most unique groups on the circuit, the T. S. Monk Sextet's cohesive and driving style has been heard at the JVC Jazz at the Bowl festival, Sun Valley Center, Lied Center for the Performing Arts, and many legendary jazz clubs.
The Museum of the City of New York located at 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street is also presenting an exhbition titled Samurai in New York a celebration of the first Japanese Delegation to the United States 150 years ago. 
Tickets for the Concert and the Exhbition may be reserved by calling 212 492 3395.
Ticket prices: $6 for Museum members, $8 for seniors and students, $12 for General Public..  A $2 surcharge will apply for unreserved walk-ins 

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