Thursday, February 23, 2012


Takahashi children in Bon performance
30" x 24", oil on canvas, 2012
Records that seek to give an overview of the musical traditions of a certain cultural or geographical group are the core of my collection. Often a children's song or two are included in such albums. I have gathered quite a few children's songs but to say I'm collecting is an overstatement, they're simply included. My interest in such songs is fairly new. I'm attracted to the uncomplicated spontaneous nature of these songs, they're so happy and playful and unassuming. No worries, no complex identities, no dejection. The song that the three Takahashi children illustrate is a ball-bouncing song that involves counting and "includes meaningless onomatopoetic sounds". The song was recorded by Edward Norbeck sometime before 1952 (the publishing year of the album Folk Music of Japan). Norbeck also provided the texts (hence the wonderful word onomatopoetic, that I would have never devised of my own) and images (the three girls above come from a larger group photographed by Norbeck) for the album published by Folkways. The ball-bouncing song performed by children from Kitaki Island is not illustrated by a photo. The girls above are from Takahashi, "dancing a reenactment of the fairy tale of Urashima Taro". I'd like to bounce a ball myself, always did, I wish I could make a living playing keepsies-upsies.

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