LAHORE: Soulful and soul stirring Japanese traditional music and improvisation presented by internationally renowned Japanese artiste Sumie Kaneko at Alhamra Hall on The Mall mesmerized the audiences on Sunday.

The performance was a rare treat for the people of Lahore and an exciting experience for music lovers. Kaneko who studied the voice at Berklee College of Music, USA and at Yamada School Koto and Shamisen at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music hails from Kashiwa. She has performed the traditional Japanese music in many countries and has a huge fan following.

The Japanese Koto Shamisen concert was arranged by Embassy of Japan in collaboration with Lahore Arts Council and Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association. Koto is a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument, which is similar to the Pakistani Santoor or Swarmandal.

The singer Sumie Kaneko, who is also a lyricist, gave a solo performance as well as played a musical dialogue with Pakistani instrumentalists. The artiste had come all the way from New York to perform in Pakistan. Her first performance was in Karachi. She is visiting Pakistan for the second time.

She sang a song ‘Like a bird’ that has originally been sung by pioneer of Koto music Hiroe Morikawa. The song was composed in 1985. Her other song was a fusion with Pakistani instrumentalists. It was a combination of three short songs written in 1946 and represented the Yamada School of Music in Tokyo.

The best part of her singing was to relate and narrate the unknown song to the audience which audiences appreciated in form of applaud. She said Like a Bird song is a fiction story of girl who has body of a bird but problem arose when she fell in love with guy. The unwelcoming and never bonding relations led her to sing a song Like a Bird. Sometimes she dotted back to her past saying the word beautiful. The sad song actually represented her sadness and narrated her destiny. Like a Bird is considered best musical piece of Koto music. The character in the song sings till she dies.

The hall was packed with music lovers who appreciated the international singer’s performance with huge applause.

Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Takashi Kurai addressing the audience said it was his second visit to Lahore and he enjoyed the beauty and hospitality of Lahore is known for. He said Lahore is the cultural hub of Pakistan and Embassy of Japan in Pakistan is actively organizing Japanese cultural events in Lahore.

“Lahore is not only culturally and historically rich, but it is also one of the developed cities of Pakistan. Within this city, vintage and modern harmoniously co-exists. The Embassy of Japan further wishes to further promote the cultural exchange and friendship between Japan and Pakistan, ” the ambassador said. 

LAC Executive Director Captain Atta Muhammad Khan said these kinds of cultural exchange events will strengthen cultural ties of masses which will certainly bring the people of both countries closer.