Recently awarded Performing Arts Japan 2015-2016 by The Japan Foundation, TEN THOUSAND LEAVES is a musical collaboration by American vocalist-composer Becca Stevens (Universal Music Classics), and Japanese composer/producer Aya Nishina (Tzadik Records), with video projection by Japanese photographic artist Shimpei Takeda, delivering a series of live audio-visual performances, recordings, and one-of-a-kind educational outreach programs for local youth.
Inspired by Japanese culture that came to light during the country’s classical period (ca. 550-1185) such as women’s literature, and imperial court music— TEN THOUSAND LEAVES renders a cross- cultural bridge to connect people from the past and the present, through songs of timeless human emotions, and reverence for nature. A cycle of new compositions written by Stevens and Nishina, transforms ancient Japanese women’s poetry from Man-yo-shu (“Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”) and essays such as Makura-no-sōshi (“The Pillow Book”) into songs of modern lyricism. Stevens and Nishina together expands a common land between traditional Irish music and Japanese Gagaku; court music from the 7th century.
In June 2016 (06/20-26), the project celebrates its first artist residency in New York City, hosted by The Jazz Gallery as part of the not-for-profit organization’s 20th anniversary concert series. On June 24th & 25th, 2016, Stevens and Nishina premieres their commissioned works, and will be joined by Takeda whose live video works will be projected on original stage sets designed by Ostap Rudakevych, and Masayuki Sono, of Clouds Architecture Office. The team also includes internationally acclaimed sound engineer, Fernando Aponte, producing all live sounds and recordings.
The second component of the New York residency, TEN THOUSAND LEAVES brings Children’s Tea Ceremony to The Farm SoHo on June 26, 2016 inviting local elementary to high school students (at age 3-18) to a one-of-a-kind international cultural experience. Joined by tea ceremony performer Satoko Sugimoto (NY Zui-en-kai), and moderator Nozomi Terao (MSTERIO.org), the program offers learning opportunities of the venerable preparation of Japanese traditional tea ceremony, tastings of matcha (powdered green tea), and traditional sweets. Live audio-visual performances by the artists will follow a special tea ceremony demonstration by Sugimoto.
For more information, visit ten-thousand-leaves.com