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Friday, July 6, 2012

Inaugural festival celebrates intangible culture from Japan, overseas

Staff writer

The festival season in Japan is here and people are gearing up to celebrate old traditions, but adding a little variety this year is the first Tokyo Festival of Intangible Culture.

The festival's focus on intangible culture means that there will be a lot of dancing, music and performances. The interesting part of the festival though is the addition of intangible culture from other countries: Pakistan, South Korea and Haiti.

Three overseas groups are scheduled to join the event. Haitian group Raram Limit is scheduled to perform rara, which is a form of carnival music on the Caribbean island. Sanam Marvi, a popular group of female singers from Pakistan, will perform sufi, or Pakistani folk songs with that country's traditional instruments. Finally, a groups of shamans from South Korea will perform burial ceremony songs that make use of bungonori drum music and several other techniques reserved for the shamanistic culture.

Local culture will be as represented as well, with five Japanese groups taking part and highlighting regional culture. Their performances will include hayashi (a type of musical act), mai (dance performances) and katari (storytelling).

The Tokyo Festival of Intangible Culture was planned by the Japan Traditional Cultures Foundation. The festival is supported by organizations from Japan and abroad.

The First Tokyo Festival of Intangible Culture takes place at various venues in Tokyo from July 11-27. Carnival Music from Haiti takes place at Sogetsu Hall on July 11 and 12 (77 p.m.; ¥6,500), Sufi Songs from Pakistan takes place at Bunkamura Orchard Hall on July 17 (7 p.m.; ¥6,500), and Festivals of Death and Celebration on Jindo Island in South Korea takes place at Sogetsu Hall on July 20 (7 p.m.; ¥6,500). Ticket prices for other performances vary, all shows offer tickets at ¥3,500 for students. For more information about the locations and prices of the Japanese performances, visit www.mukeibunka.com

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