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Friday, July 11, 2008
Classic songs for summer
By TOMOKO OTAKE
Greg Irwin, one of very few foreign singer-songwriters of classic Japanese songs, particularly doyo (children's songs) in English, will perform two shows in Shibuya on July 18.
The Wisconsin native first began translating the words of doyo after a producer approached him in 1994 and he became deeply touched by what he considers the fading virtues and values of Japan that they express — such as consideration for others and people's sensitive views toward nature.
Having translated more than 100 doyo songs over the years, Irwin says they contain powerful feelings — for family members and lovers — that Japanese people would find it hard to express other than through song.
According to Irwin, many Japanese remember only the first verse of these folk songs, not realizing that some, such as "Sato no Aki (Autumn in a Home Country)," are actually about World War II. That song, for instance, later mentions a father who has gone off to a southern island.
Irwin performs traditional Japanese summer songs in a jazzy style, along with J-Pop favorites and American standards, at JZ Brat in Cerulean Tower Tokyo Hotel in Shibuya (03) 5728-0168 on July 18. The first show starts at 7 p.m. and the second show at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are ¥5,000. For details, contact Akua Music at (03) 3728-3130.