Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai Japanese Traditional Music

Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai Japanese Traditional Music
In the '30s, Japanese musicologists began a decade-long project to record their country's culture through music. Works containing traditional Buddhist chants, medieval epics, worker's folk, children's music and even kabuki dance shamisens were recorded onto 60 volumes of 78-rpm discs with the intention of distributing them to educational institutions. While most of these recordings were thought destroyed during the war, American-based, not-for-profit label World Arbiter recovered much of them and has released this compilation, featuring the koto and shamisen. With tape hiss intact, many of the pieces recorded on the koto (a stringed instrument similar to an autoharp) resemble, stylistically, soothing Indian ragas, as improvisation drives most of the diminutive melodies. Songs written on the shamisen (a banjo-type instrument) feature mantra-like vocals acting as more of a rhythm accent. Japanese Traditional Music is an invaluable artefact that gives the listener an insight into pre-war Japan through the universal language of music. (World Arbiter)