About Oregon Koto-Kai
The koto, or Japanese harp produces unique and beautiful sounds. For those who identify with Japan or Japanese music, these sounds may bring back memories of childhood or cultural roots. For those unfamiliar with koto music, we invite you on an exciting musical journey.
Oregon Koto-Kai was founded by koto master Mitsuki Dazai, who moved to Oregon in 2002. She immediately began playing her music at coffee shops, bookstores, Japanese restaurants and at local events. At the time, her humble tip box was the only monetary reward…but the real reward was the response of those who heard her music. She was soon busy performing at diverse events and giving lessons both in the Eugene and Portland areas.
In 2007, she performed accompanied by one of her students at the Asian Celebration in Eugene. This experience gave her the idea of forming a Koto ensemble group. Mitsuki began to focus on ensemble lessons and named the group “Oregon Koto-Kai”. The group enjoyed its first performance with six members in February 2012, In November of 2012, Oregon Koto-Kai held its first concert at Epworth United Methodist Church in Portland.
Originally from Tokyo, Mitsuki, has performed with ensembles throughout Japan, Hawaii, Europe, South America and in numerous locations around the US. Her dream is that Oregon Koto-Kai will provide the opportunity to introduce the uniquely beautiful music of koto in both traditional and contemporary styles. In doing so, koto can increasingly enrich the cultural diversity of experiences in the Northwest.
ABOUT THE KOTO
The koto is a relatively rare and venerable traditional Japanese musical instrument. It has a very beautiful yet dynamic sound, and unique methods the player must use to bring forth its lovely voice. Since it has a long history, the music of koto may vary from very old traditional Japanese music to pieces in contemporary styles. In addition, with its adjustable string bridges, it is capable of producing various scales, from typical Japanese pentatonic scales to Western music In contemporary ensemble music. The 17 string bass koto is often used in addition to the standard 13 string koto.
OREGON KOTO-KAI MISSION
- Introduce Japanese koto music to the broader community by creating opportunities for people to enjoy koto music or to learn to play the koto
- Contribute to the cultural diversity in the Northwest
- Collaborate with other musicians / composers in our community
- Improve koto players skills/techniques
OREGON KOTO-KAI ACTIVITIES
- Workshops / demonstrations at schools, cultural events, etc.
- Entertainment at cultural festivals, elderly homes, etc.