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Japanese Band Back To NZ

Japanese Band Back To NZ

About the music

“My desire and vision in music and writing is simply to interpret the ocean that resounded across the plains towards our house”

The sensitivity and spiritual nature of Indigenous cultural traditions, such as Native American and Polynesian, are powerful and evocative forces. In order to best capture an audience’s attention, you need to connect what is both familiar and exotic.

“People often tell me they feel they have been transported to the Pacific Islands when they listen to my music. Japanese and Maori traditions descend from the same roots. My deep respect for them motivates me to create music that emphasizes the historical and emotional connection between the two.”

People need only a bridge to bring these cultures together, and the music serves as that bridge.

About Ben Kemp

Ben Kemp has written and published widely in New Zealand. He was invited to read at New Zealand Poetry Day as one of two emerging poets. He has a collection of poems called Tane, which he intends to publish in Japan and New Zealand.

He first went to Japan as a 23 year old, having completed a degree in Marketing and Computer Science at Otago University. Living for two and a half years in Tokyo, Ben spent much time absorbing traditional art and culture, and discovering his passion for kabuki theatre and Japanese literature. On return to the North Island, Ben discovered a special mentor-student relationship with Rowley Habib, one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent Maori writers, all the while maintaining his connections with Japan. It was at this point that Ben’s creative work anchored itself. Responding to a magnetic pull back to Japan, Ben returned to Tokyo in 2002.

With no music contacts in Japan, Ben played on the street in Shimo Kitazawa, one of the more Bohemian areas of Tokyo well known for its vibrant music scene. He soon met up with talented musician Koyu Suzuki and the duo began performing around Tokyo. In just over one year, Ben and Koyu have played at some of Tokyo’s most prestigious live venues, including The Cerulean Tower’s JZ Brat and Kichijioji’s Mandala2.

Ben is currently recording his debut album that will be released in early 2005 and he will play a 6-date tour in the North Island of New Zealand, commencing on the 11th of March in Taupo (Ben will be accompanied by Japanese musicians, Koyu Suzuki (bass, keyboards) and Mitsuru Ogata (flute))

About the Project

We are attempting to open up a bi-annual exchange between Japanese and New Zealand musicians. Once a year two New Zealand artists will perform in Tokyo, Japan and vice versa. We are hoping to bring Paul Ubana Jones over to Japan in the middle of 2005. I will be bringing two Japanese musicians with me on the 6-date tour in March 2005. The tour is a pilot attempting to stir up interest amongst the general public, Japanese people living in NZ and corporate sponsors.

Both Japanese and New Zealand cultures are creatively vibrant and we hope that this project will serve as a bridge.

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