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Japan Foundation Announces Free World Concert Tour for March; Dates Set for NYC, LA, China & More

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A worldwide series of free concerts has been arranged by The Japan Foundation to convey the Japanese people's gratitude to the global community for their support during the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.

On Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 PM, The Japan Foundation will present "Overcoming the Disaster: Gratitude from Japan to the World," at the Rose Theater in New York City.

The show will be performed on March 2 at The Ahmanson Theatre, LA Music Center and will tour to France March 10-11 and China March 14 to 26. The commemoration project has already been performed in Paris, Berlin, Prague and South Africa. 

The concert features musicians from Japan of various genres, including artists from Tohoku, the region most greatly impacted by the disaster.

The Japan Foundation is the organizer of this New York concert and the entire worldwide tour. The Japan Foundation writes, "We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the global community for their tremendous support....Through this project, we wish to convey a message from the citizens in the affected areas to the international community about how important and encouraging it is for those in difficulty to receive signs of solidarity from the unknown global community. At the same time we wish to show that we also stand by many other disaster victims and refugees around the world, thus sharing a heartfelt prayer for peace among all peoples."

Headliners include Ondekoza, seven players of enormous taiko drums whose performance is a fusion of dance and drumming.

The New York performance will also include local children playing bamboo instruments that will be fashioned in a workshop led by musicians of Ondekoza on Sunday, March 4 at Avenue C Studios on the Lower East Side.

Also headlining will be Wakumizu Kagura, a folk performing arts group from the area stricken by the earthquake and tsunami. Kagura is a Shinto theatrical dance, involving music and vibrant Kabuki-esque theater. Wakumizu Kagura was founded in 1932 by a regional farming community in Iwate prefecture in the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan. Its style incorporates Hayachine Kagura, which is inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and involves a masked dancer accompanied by taiko drum, gong and flute. To this day, residents gather in shrines to watch and perform these musical dances to pray for safety, an abundant harvest or good health on New Years or following the harvest.

The evening will also include Kazutoki Umezu with brass quartet Umezu Chibi Brass, the Ochi Brothers percussion duo, Sizzle Ohtakam Suguru Ikeda, Yoichi Nozaki, Yumiko Tanaka, and Bamboo Orchestra featuring Kimihiro Kitamura.

The concerts are free but tickets are required. More information and reservations: www.gratitude-concert-march6.org, 646-238-7930

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