Teach the Controversy
Life in the Fat Lane

Water + Clay = Music

PeacegirlI'm not sure what it is about Tomoko Miyata's music that moves me so. It makes my hair stand up at the same time it soothes me. The drones remind me of a lot of early music pieces, and the later percussive bits are sort of tabla-like. I like that it's such a simple instrument: ceramic bowls of different sizes, holding water, similar to glass marimba music, but with its own distinct sound. I'd never heard of using bowls this way, but apparently it was not uncommon throughout Asia. The visual on the video is crap, but the sound is pretty good. What you can't see on this one is that she not only hits the bowls, but stirs the water to get reverb. You can see that in a rehearsal video with Scottish musician Momus for a performance at Vienna University called "Into the City". Momus provided some of the drone and back up and sang chemical formulae over the bowl chiming. Wish I'd seen this. The rehearsal video is better miked and the bowls sound bell-like. Amazing stuff. She doesn't seem to have a CD out yet, and is not to be confused with a Japanese jazz singer of the same name. If anybody knows where to get a recording or MP3, let me know, will you?

Thanks to The Affected Provincial's Almanack for the heads up.

UPDATE: I got a very nice note from Tomoko about this post. It seems she's better known as Tomoko Sauvage, and she has a website.  She tells me she's in the process of making a solo album and that her album with Gilles Aubrey will be coming out on a Russian label, which might make it hard to find over here. But at I've got a link to keep track now! I keep listening to the YouTube clips over and over. There are more samples on her site, too.

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