Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wadaiko/Black Gospel Fusion in Tokyo

Hey Everyone, I (Jonathan Herring) have been working with Paul and 'Studio Re:' for a little over two months. I have had a great time! I am excited to tell you about a project we have been working on that involves God, drums, and a Japanese choir.

Studio Re: has been advancing a project that will be filmed on June 20 in Tokyo. We will shoot an entire concert of Black Gospel Choir music but our main purpose is to create a music video of one specific song during the concert. That song will be a fusion of two distinct Japanese styles of music. One is Wadaiko (also known as Taiko), which is an intense, elaborate, Japanese drumming performance. It has deep roots in ancient Japanese culture, going further back than even Buddhism's arrival in Japan. Wadaiko is full of energy and incredibly engaging to watch. The bride to this groom may surprise you; Black Gospel Choir. But this couple isn't too diametric as Gospel Choir music has some of the same rhythmic and energetic qualities as Wadaiko. Gospel Choir is also quite popular in Japan. Since the movie 'Sister Act' The Japanese people have grown a love and fascination for Gospel music and it has become a mainstream art.

As far as we know, a fusion of Wadaiko and Gospel Choir has never been done in Japan (or any where else for that matter). But having seen a good bit of both, I think the fruit they produce will be extraordinary. By filming this concert, and by making a short documentary to go along with it, we hope to achieve a number of important things:

1. The developing of relationships with the members of the Wadaiko group, none of whom are believers. We want to show them God's love and through this film promote and bless their group. The same goes for those in the gospel choir; there will be about 600 choir members involved in the entire concert, perhaps 100 of them are Christians. Yes that's right, 500 people will be singing praise to God, 500 people who don't yet know God, but nevertheless find themselves glorifying Him.
2. As Christians we can make a huge impact on the culture by being at the forefront of art and music. Since a collaboration of Wadaiko and Gospel Choir has not been done before, we believe with its success, many windows will be opened to permeate the Japanese culture with art that overflows with the heart of Christ.
3. The leaders and directors of the concert and film are believers. Though the participants might not know it, they will be glorifying God and through film we will be able to show that to the world.

We see a lot of potential in this project, and I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of making it happen. Here is teaser of what a Wadaiko and Gospel Choir fusion might look like, so please take a look and tell us what you think.


Paul Nethercott said...

Thanks a lot for this post Jonathan and thanks for creating the teaser too.

Jibbajabba said...

See the full video here: http://vimeo.com/12277828