Epic Fo The Heike


aec.gal650.2 12/12/95 New

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Review Text The well-known Japanese "Epic of the Heike" (sometimes called "The Heike Story") was written around 1200, and relates the story of the Heike Clan at the end of the 12th century. The story is sung, with the singer always accompanied on the biwa, the Japanese lute. Interestingly, the story has had many styles and versions but the singing itself has remained unchanged. The highly talented Junko Ueda is a student of Kinshi Tsuruta, considered one of the greatest Japanese biwa players of this century. Both play the Satsuma-biwa, which is considered more virile and better suited for such an epic. In this particular version, Ueda accompanies herself on the biwa, which is not the case with the other styles. She performs three parts of the epic. Each story alternates with musical interludes on the biwa. The Japanese take pride in honoring and remaining truthful to their traditions, and this CD provides a taste of an 800-year-old unchanged tradition. ~ Bruno Deschênes

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