Trio Zipang performs at the Alliance Francaise.—White Star
Trio Zipang performs at the Alliance Francaise.—White Star

KARACHI: A good number of music lovers turned up at the Alliance Francaise here on Wednesday evening to listen to the Japanese group Trio Zipang perform at an event titled ‘Classical music without borders’. For sure, they left the venue a happy bunch. Reason: the weather was pleasant and the phrase ‘without borders’ lived up to its billing as the audience got to hear tunes originating in different parts of the world but carrying the common universal element of lovely melodies and delightful beats.

The band — comprising Naomi Tabata (saxophone), Ayumu Takanabe (percussions) and Emi Kitagawa (piano) — appeared on stage and played a track by a Japanese composer. The cascading notes that Tabata essayed and the clean and catchy drum playing by Takanabe made the listeners realise immediately that they were in for an auditory treat. The versatility of the group came to the fore with the second performance, a classical piece composed by an Italian violinist, when the sax began with an engagingly soft, somewhat melancholic, sound and then in the latter half of the act the tempo was increased by the musicians to signify that the notes told a story which had a proper arc or trajectory.

Pleasant weather spiced up the auditory treat

Later the trio did a Mexican composition. It was rendered very well because it started off on a wailing note, and again one has to praise Tabata for being professionally sound and artistically gifted, for playing the saxophone in a manner that made the instrument come across as a narrator. The high point of the piece was when the composition switched to the typical Spanish rhythm pattern which made some of the attendees sway in their seats.

This was followed by a medley of Japanese pop tunes. It contained three movements (read: songs) all of which had beat cycles and melody progressions distinct from one another. And how could a band representing a country play pop numbers and not its traditional tunes? That’s exactly what came next: a folk composition. It was as worth listening to as the previous tracks.

Earlier, Consul General of Japan in Karachi Toshikazu Isomura welcoming the guests (in impressive Urdu) thanked the French consulate for providing the venue for the concert and then introduced the three musicians, all of whom teach music at educational institutions, to the audience. French Consul General Didier Talpain also spoke highlighting the importance of music.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2019