Tomomi Adachi

Adachi  performs on a self-made instrument.
Tomomi Adachi performs on a self-made instrument.

 

 

Tomomi Adachi (足立 智美) is a Japanese vocal and electronics performer, improviser, composer, instrument builder, installation artist, theatre director, and sound poet. He is the only performer of sound poetry in Japan and performed Kurt Schwitters’ “Ursonate” for the first time in Japan. He has performed with numerous musicians, dancers, and filmmakers, and along with his incredible vocal improvisations, he is known for his unique improvisations on his self-made instruments, many of which are made from Tupperware: a material that is both affordable and portable. Adachi describes his creations as an extension of his improvisatory practice: “I began to build instruments by myself in 1994, it was almost the same period with starting my activity as an improviser.” Last month in Guelph, Ontario we were treated to a performance by Adachi on one of his self-made instruments, as well as a vocal performance, followed by a self-reflexive talk about his artistic praxis.

The event took place at the inaugural Thinking Spaces Reading Group in Guelph. After the performance, Adachi discussed his work as an improviser with a focus on his own approach to self-made instruments, as well as his newest project PUTIF (People’s United Telepathic Improvisation Front), a collaboration with Jennifer Walshe. In PUTIF, Walshe and Adachi improvise together at a specified time in two separate locations, listening to one another at distances beyond the reach of the human ear. These improvisations are recorded and later combined and compared. They also encourage others to listen telepathically to their improvisation and send in descriptions of what they hear. At the Reading Group, Adachi discussed how telepathy functions as a conceptual framework for musical improvisation, demonstrating how others can be present in their absence. He also discussed how improvisation can be a tool for being together despite physical distance, as well as posing questions about the advantages of telematic technology in an age where it is becoming increasingly common.

If you get a chance you should check out Adachi’s fantastically creative work. For now, here is a video of Adachi performing on a self-made instrument, similar to the one he performed with in Guelph:

And, here are a couple photos of Tomomi Adachi’s performance and visit to Guelph.

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All photos of Tomomi Adachi by Paul Watkins.

Photo Recap: Guelph Jazz Festival Continues to Inspire at 20

Photos by Paul Watkins

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Headliner Pharoah Sanders

The 20th Anniversary of the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquium was another resounding success. Over the last twenty years the Festival has burgeoned from what Artistic Director Ajay Heble describes as “very modest origins into a vital social-purpose enterprise.” It has become an inclusive meeting place where enthusiasts of creative, innovative jazz and improvised music gather once a year to be inspired, engaged, even healed, while participating in one of the planet’s most diverse listening communities. The festival is a reminder of how you can create something from little more than a good idea and a love for the music. This year’s festival and colloquium was no exception, boasting sold out shows, packed colloquium talks, world premieres, enchanting Nuit Blanche performances, and a constellation of musical styles, with musicians and listeners in dialogue with the music in the space of the now.

In honour of the 20th Anniversary, the festival was extended by an extra day to launch a new-partnered research institute, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation. The launch of the institute culminated in a symphony of drums with the World Percussion Summit. The improvising percussion quartet featured master drummers Jesse Stewart (Ontario), Hamid Drake (USA), Dong-Won Kim (South Korea), and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee (India).

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Don-Won Kim
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jesse Stewart and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.
Jeff Schlanger, musicWitness-in-Residence, captures it all.

As usual, the Colloquium (co-presented between ICASP and the Guelph Jazz Festival) was top-notch and remains one of the few events in North America to combine scholarly activity with a music festival. The talks and music performances at the Colloquium were full of academic fervor while remaining generally accessible to the larger Guelph community with a stimulating mix of panels, keynote addresses, assorted workshops, and concerts and interviews that featured festival artists.

George Lipsitz keynote.
George Lipsitz keynote.
William Parker keynote.
William Parker keynote.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.
Wadada and Pharoah after their interview.

The Colloquium was held at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, which was adorned with the jazz photography of Thomas King. King is a master storyteller who also possesses an incredible ability to tell the story of the Guelph Jazz Festival through the chronicle of his photography. King also collaborated with Guelph visual artist Nick Craine to create this year’s festival poster and logo.

Festival Logo.
Festival Logo.

The 20th Anniversary was full of amazing performances, which included Toronto based jazz upstarts BadBadNotGood, Matt Brubeck, Atomic, free shows by DRUMHAND, Jane Bunnett, Friendly Rich’s Scheherazade,Marianne Trudel, as well as the amazing double bill featuring Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet alongside Pharoah Sanders and The Underground. The festival continues to affirm that there is something special happening in Guelph. There is much more that could be said about the music, but I’ll leave that for other critics, although I do have a review of the trio Dawn of Midi coming soon. After all, in jazz there is no final chord. We can only dream what the next 20 years of the festival will manifest. For now, here are some additional pictures from this year’s anniversary celebration.