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Friday, Jan. 27, 2006

Visual- kei goes traditional

It isn't only Demon Kogure's appearance -- as extravagantly coiffed and heavily made-up as befits any visual-kei singer -- that makes him an unlikely candidate to be presenting a lecture-style concert on hogaku (traditional Japanese music). Kogure -- or His Excellency Demon Kogure as he prefers to be called -- made his name in the 1990s as a singer and is a popular TV tarento and poster boy for various products, including video games. He even starred in a rock opera version of "Hamlet."

"H.E. Demon Kogure's Japanese Traditional Instruments Revolutionary Collaboration Aoyama-Honbasho" runs Jan. 27-Feb. 5 at Aoyama Round Theatre. The program's three events aim to breakdown stereotypes of traditional Japanese music.

"Kenran No Maki" (Jan. 27-29, 5,500 yen) features Kogure's storytelling and singing, Shinichi Kinoshita on tsugaru shamisen, which has thicker strings and is plucked with a heavier plectrum than a standard shamisen, and Yumiko Tanaka on gidayu shamisen.

"Kaikoku no Maki" (Jan. 31 and 1, 4,000 yen) will include a lecture in which Kogure will speak "in English as much as possible."

"Fukyo No Maki" (Feb. 3-5, 5,500 yen) will be a performance by Kogure and Kifu Mitsuhashi on bamboo flute.

For further information and times, call Aoyama Round Theatre at (03) 3797-5678 or visit www.demon-kogure.jp

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