Tsugaru shamisen player Keisho Ohno, 44, will be performing in a free concert two days before Valentine’s Day. Titled “Rocking Tradition: A Shamisen Concert with Keisho Ohno,” the concert will take place at the GT-Toyota Auditorium of the UP Asian Center in the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on February 12, 2019 at 7 p.m.
Viewers will enjoy Japanese traditional music infused with contemporary rock beats. In cooperation with the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, The Japan Foundation Manila co-organized the free concert with UP Asian Center.
The tsugaru shamisen is a traditional Japanese musical instrument with three strings and its dynamic sound is reminiscent of rock or jazz. It originated from Tsugaru region in the Aomori prefecture.
Of the three types of shamisen, the tsugaru shamisen is the biggest. Characterized by its broad neck, it is played by plucking the strings very hard with a straight wooden stick called the bachi.
Born in Niigata, Japan on December 1, 1975, Ohno was eight years old when he became a student of Chikuei Takashi, a protégé of tsugaru shamisen founding master Takahashi Chikuzan. Ohno is known for always challenging nouvelle performance and high musical technique.
In 2006, Ohno played on the stage of South by Southwest. Combining the shamisen with rock tunes, his music is exemplified by his motto, “Keeping traditional music as well as destroying it.”
In 2007, Ohno released his debut album titled “Shamisen-damashii -Shami Spirits.” This was followed by “Samurai” in 2008.
In 2011, Ohno released “KAMOME,” which also debuted in Europe from a French label. In 2013, he released two albums titled “SPARK” and “KEI,” the latter of which features traditional shamisen pieces.
Watch Ohno perform “YOAKE” here: