Okigeiren kicks off its European tour in Paris, enchanting audiences

Okigeiren kicks off its European tour in Paris, enchanting audiences

On October 28, on the first day of the Okigeiren European tour at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris, the kumiodori play Nidou tekiuchi, in which veteran and young performers displayed their skills, enthralled the audience.

October 30, 2011 Rika Ishikawa of Ryukyu Shimpo

On the afternoon of October 28, the Okinawa Prefectural Performing Arts Association, or Okigeiren (chaired by Choichi Terukina), commenced its “Ryukyuan Traditional Arts – Three European Countries” tour at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris, a city known for its history and culture. A total of 18 Okinawan performers, including some designated as “Important Intangible Cultural Property” in kumiodori traditional Okinawan musicals, and several talented young performers, enthralled the audience with some marvelous examples of Ryukyuan traditional performing arts.

On October 29, on the second day of the Okigeiren European tour, the Hatoma bushi performance was well received by the audience at the Japan Cultural Institute in Paris.

This is the first overseas tour for those involved with kumiodori since its registration with the UNESCO as an example of “Intangible Cultural Heritage.” In the first part of the program, five acts of ryubu or Ryukyuan classical dance and solo Ryukyuan classical music were performed, with the second part featuring the kumiodori play Nidou tekiuchi (trans: Revenge for two children).

The many French people in the audience who were experiencing Ryukyuan Performing Arts for the first time were drawn into a unique world centered on ryubu. In the Ryukyuan classical music solo performance, the mature vocals of “national treasure” Choichi Terukina earned generous applause from the audience.

In the kumiodori play Nidou tekiuchi, veteran and young performers demonstrated the full range of their ability in the sorrowful parting of the mother and her children, and the tense scene of revenge and the venue echoed with applause when the show came to an end.

Resident of Paris Edith Lagarde said, “I was fascinated by the beautiful scenes performed on stage. The commentary provided allowed us to easily enter the world of kumiodori, and as a result, to thorough enjoy the experience.” Terukina, who is also the principal of the troupe said, “We are filled with both joy and gratitude at having been able to bring Okinawan traditional performing arts to France. To be honest, we were quite worried about performing overseas, but the response of the audiences here has reassured us.”

The Kumiodori European Tour performances were held in France, in afternoon and evening of October 29, in Cologne, Germany on October 31 and in Rome, Italy, November 2.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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