CELEBRATING STRAVINSKY

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s RITE OF SPRING, the Kyoto ensemble ENSO WATT - a group of musicians, video and sound instillation artists and the lyricist - (founded by the Frenchman Samuel Andre) performed a series of “seasonal symphonies”. Each performance reflected a particular season and encompassed complimentary Japanese traditions in its composition. Based on the obscure Japanese tribe, the Sanka, who supposedly lived in the mountains surrounding Kyoto in the Edo period (1603-1868), the “symphonies” were created and conducted by Yannick Paget (French conductor of the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra amongst others) and initiated from Chris’s poetic scenario. The lyricist joined the ensemble in the performances, each taking place in Kyoto Urban Guild during 2014-15.


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A HUNDRED SHIBUYAN SAGES

Every New Year’s Day (Shogatsu) in Japan, the nation plays Kaltas or Hiyaku Nin Ishu (A Hundred Poems by a Hundred Poets), a card game in which players must match the halves of a hundred poems. Derived from an eighth-century anthology of poems (tanka) that was converted into its present-day card set in the fifteenth century, the game is a traditional New Year’s entertainment, and children throughout the country still memorize the series of poems in school.

Chris has now written an alternative set of cards––the Shibuya Set! (THE KANTOCLES: A Hundred Verses by One Hundred Shibuyan Sages). Walking around his neighborhood of Shibuya, the indisputable hub of Tokyo, he chose fifty guys and fifty girls from the streets and wrote poems as if each one was in the voice of each of those characters, with Chris serving as the conduit for those many voices.

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BEHIND “BEHIND THE MASK”

If there’s a song with a life of its own, it’s Chris’s old faithful Behind the Mask. Recorded for Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, it was left off at the last moment due to copyright restrictions, but now it’s back with a vengeance on the new Michael release.

Over the years there has been a continual debate over how the song originated, how it came to Michael Jackson’s attention, and that mysterious saga has given this song its great longevity.

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