We "hub" music Vol. 01: Yasuda Toshiyuki, the firefly clan, Wono Satoru

Text and photos by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound

On December 11 was held a very special event organized by Yasuda Toshiyuki. The place was a beautiful house with a large garden in Yotsuya managed by Pierre Barouh, a French artist quite famous in Japan especially for his label Saravah. Recently the house, named La Keyaki, has been hosting various art events including music shows.

This was the first of a series of events titled "we 'hub' music" meant to feature artists of not always similar styles but who are likely to interest the same audience. This time were featured guitarist the firefly clan, Yasuda-san himself, and Wono Satoru.

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When entering the house, we were told to get seats in the main large room that had about 40 zabuton (flat cushions to sit on) each covered by a random T-shirt. People were free to wander to other rooms of the 1st floor, in one of which food by catering unit Mangosteen was available. There was also a room with sofa from where the event could be viewed real time on the TV.

First to play was guitarist Tsushima Toshihito aka the firefly clan, who just released a set of 2 albums on Yasuda-san's label Megadolly in October. He played his original songs on his acoustic guitar and sang in fluent English, having lived in the U.S. and other countries for many years.

Next up was Yasuda Toshiyuki. He played his keyboards and electronic instruments accompanied by guitarist Sukegawa Tarō. He had a Mac sitting on the table, but he explained that it was just for his MIDI keyboard, and that the music was being played live. All of it was beatless and instrumental and often felt improvised, though I did recognized some of his original songs that I knew. I liked that the guitarist sometimes played guimbarde (Jew's harp) or what looked like a kokeshi doll (twisting it's head makes cuica-like sounds).

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Last on stage was Wono Satoru, who I knew from Maywa Denki and also his releases on label Sonore. His set was a bit different from the rest of the evening as he often played with a backtrack, adding live piano. For most of the songs he was also accompanied by cellist Tokuzawa Seigen. He played songs including "Silence To Good-bye", a cover of "Moon River", a few new songs such as one titled "Fragile" and another one code-named "Tango". At the end of his set he managed to get the whole audience to stand and even dance a little, everyone was starting to feel a bit stiff after sitting for a few hours.

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At the end all the artists got back on stage for a moving cover of "Have a Happy Little Christmas".

That was a fun and relaxed event in a place. I'll be looking forward to see Yasuda-san again live sometime, and then maybe also hear his vocoder vocals that I like. I'll also look out for more nice events at La Keyaki.

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr

Tags: the firefly clan, WONO Satoru, YASUDA Toshiyuki (click for more info)

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