Japan culture comes to London this weekend…
The Japanese Sake Festival takes place this Sunday promising a day of tasty sake, delicious food and some sterling music performances. The festival will feature more than 20 different Japanese Sake types being served at 6 stands, 5 Food stands with different traditional food and handcraft-and-art stands.
The event will also see an all-star line-up of Japanese musicians and performers as part of the entertainment, including Rie Fu, Miou, Yue Miyagi, Akari Mochizuki, Hidè Takemoto, Kayono Wakayagi and Hibiki Ichikawa. The day will also features DJ sets by Paul Browne (J-Pop Go) and Koichi Sakai.
Many of these names will be well-known to people interested in J-pop and Japanese music but the line-up in particular will include:
Rie Fu is a Japanese singer/songwriter who has achieved recognition in J-Pop circles for her contributions to popular anime titles. Citing the likes of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, The Carpenters, and Yumi Matsutoya as influences, Rie has been writing and recording music since 2004 and released her eponymous debut studio album in 2005.
Her song ‘I Wanna Go To A Place…’ featured in the anime Gundam SEED Destiny and ‘Life Is Like A Boat’ featured as the ending theme for the popular anime series Bleach. She has also collaborated with the likes of m-flo and Orange Range. Rie Fu also made a special live appearance at one of J-Pop Go’s early events in 2005 in London.
MIOU’s combination of traditional Japanese music styles with a more modern interpretation has led to some intriguing compositions, including covers of Eurythmics songs. She was one of the opening acts at Japanese Film Festival in 2009 in Florence, Italy and also sang at the prestigious UNESCO world heritage site, Basilica of Santa Croce.
Having achieved the grand-prix award for the “Top Asian Fashion Singer of the Year 2011” in China, and Asia Pacific Inspirational Women Award 2014 in Singapore, MIOU has been performing worldwide on various international stages including Japan Expo.
With a wide range of singing styles, Akari Mochizuki is a surprising live performer. She began singing Enka when she was three, went on to study drama and music in the UK and became a professional singer in 2009.
Akari has performed at events such as Hyper Japan, WOMAD and the Japan Matsuri and enjoys presenting audiences with a set blending in Japanese blues, Enka and pop tunes that have a 70s J-Pop appeal, such as new single Hitori De Nadeshiko (see our previous J-Pop Go interview with Akari here).
Hibiki is the only professional player of Tsugaru Shamisen in the UK. In 2015, Hibiki was qualified to perform under the “Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa” that is granted to only limited honours artists and he is now officially recognised as a world-leading talent of Tsugaru shamisen.
Since his arrival in the UK, Hibiki has performed on many occasions, including the Japanese Emperor’s birthday event at the Japanese Embassy, the Japan Matsuri in Trafalgar Square and Hyper Japan. He has also taught many students in the UK on how to play the instrument, and his lessons are becoming increasingly popular.
Other treats for the day include a free Taiko Drumming Workshop which requires pre-booking (via https://goo.gl/forms/UA1SjEJVUzOZdFdv1)
The Japanese Sake Festival takes place on Sunday 29th April at York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PJ.
Basic Entrance Ticket for the Japanese Sake Festival is £20. Special Ticket (5 Sake Ticket + Basic Entrance): £40. Sake Price: £4-6 / cup (4cl). Free entry for Kids and Teens under 18