Saturday, May 22, 2010
Clip from the May 15 musical tribute in Buddy, Tokyo for Venezuelan drummer Eliazar Yanes, who died Jan. 22. Taiko drumming and singing by Yoichi Watanabe, Hiromi Ogawa on taiko and percussion, traps drums by Takayoshi Tanaka, Katsunari Sawada on shamisen, Morris Reina on guitar and cuatro, Jun Ishibashi on vocals and guitar, and bassist Ikuo Okamoto.
Yanes studied taiko, believed music could unite people across nationalities and cultures, and felt a strong spiritual connection with his teacher Yoichi Watanabe of Amanojaku.
Yanes used to say he knows he was Japanese in a previous life. When he visited Watanabe for the first time in a kodan danchi in Tokyo, he was thrilled Watanabe, like him, was from the "barrios," so close was the resemblance in the housing complex.
Yanes was widely respected as a jazz drummer, but he was also instrumental in introducing taiko in Venezuela.
Watanabe learned about Yanes' death when Watanabe was in Brazil, on his international musical mission, teaching Japanese Brazilian youngsters taiko. Watanabe loved Yanes deeply. He wanted to play and sing for Eliazar in Heaven.
For that moment, Eliazar was with us _ right there in Buddy.
Music is an international language, the musicians said, beyond words, beyond war, beyond death.
Wait for us Eliazar, the musicians said, we will be there soon _ well, maybe not so soon but soon enough.
And we will play music together again.