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Friday, May 27, 2011
Music group hopes to bring tranquility to Japan's shaken shores
By MARK JARNES
Inner peace and happiness: Two things the nation needs plenty of in the months following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Come June, an international ensemble currently on tour will do its best to convey a message of merriment and tranquility.
Songs of the Soul is a series of free concerts that have been regularly held all over the world since 2008. Spanning several genres and moods, the performers will kick off their Japan tour in Tokyo on June 2, before moving on to Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, and then Kyoto in the following days.
The ensemble is inspired by the multi-talented musician and composer Sri Chinmoy. Praised by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Leonard Bernstein and Quincy Jones, Chinmoy spread his message of meditation through music in over 750 concerts until his death in 2007. Each of the groups performing has taken a different approach to Chinmoy's creations, yet all of them follow in the spirit of peace and understanding of his music. Established in 2008, the full company spans 15 nationalities over four continents and all of the artists perform on a volunteer basis, so that each concert may be held free of charge.
Different groups perform with each tour, giving every concert a one-of-a-kind atmosphere depending on when and where it is being held. For the Japan leg, audiences will be offered four troupes, ranging from a cappella to a harp-and-violin recital. No doubt listeners will find the experience an inspiring one.
Songs of the Soul will take place at Za-Koenji Theater in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, on June 2 (7 p.m.;  3223-7500); at Kamakura Geijitsukan in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, on June 3 (7 p.m.;  48-5500); and at Kyoto Concert Hall in Kyoto on June 5 (2 P.m.;  6278-3343). Admission is free of charge, however reservations are necessary. For reservations and information, call (070) 5457-6780 or visit www.songsofthesoul.com.