Embed Instagram Post Code Generator

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Street musicians of Shinjuku on Friday night

I went out to Shinjuku last Friday night because I thought it's depressing to stay at home on Friday nights. I had managed to shoot some inserts for my new short film, 3PM, and had an encouraging line-reading session with my new actress Yumiko (read more about the production here) Some self-celebration was a welcome.

So bringing my new and beloved camera, I ran off to Shinjuku to snap photos of its night scenery.

Beside Kinokuniya

Shinjuku at night

Shinjuku South West Exit

Cars passing by in Shinjuku

People crossing the road in Shinjuku

But what truly drew my attention then were the street musicians. A decent-sized group was gathered around this guy, Shotaro, some of them were even swaying and dancing when he was singing his mid-tempo and somewhat catchy songs. I managed to shoot three of his songs, but I'll post only his last one.

Yes, I know it's kinda dark and he's only a silhouette, but I liked the shot because of the cars passing by in the background and occasionally flooding everyone with light.

Shotaro singing

Then, there was also this jazz band performing in front of the Shinjuku Station South Exit. A couple of other musicians were also gathered there to watch. I think the band's name is Wing Five, but I might be wrong.

Jazz band in Shinjuku

I have a much longer performance of them, where they went off for a 7-8 minute improvisatory jazz piece, but the file was too big for me to upload on Youtube. Maybe I'll do some resizing in the near future.

The first musician I filmed that night was actually Yuri, who performs in a tunnel and has a really nice voice.

Yuri performing

I actually met her twice exactly a week earlier.

It was the 5th of June and there was the Kingyo test screening at the Fuyajo Cinema Festival in Shinjuku Wald 9. I walked through the tunnel and saw her performing then, and thought she picked a pretty cool place for her performance.

I would meet her again hours later, when Maiko the Producer introduced me to her at the Kingyo test screening as one of her friends. But that night, it never occurred to me that Maiko's friend who so nicely attended the screening would be the exact same singer I walked past in a tunnel earlier.

So after Yuri finished singing and I switched off my camera, she came over and spoke to me, asking me whether I was filming her and I said yes, and then she laughed in surprise. Then she told me she really loved Kingyo and I realized immediately that she was Maiko's friend. I made a suggestion that we would swap, a Kingyo DVD (when I'm done with the film) for her CD.

She gave me a CD of hers that she performed with her band Soraai. You can check out their website here.

I'm actually quite fascinated with street musicians in Japan, and it feels good to see them occasionally drawing an appreciative crowd. Last year I would sometimes pay for an album that I like, I guess my interest in them is one of the reasons why I put them in Kingyo.