Tales of the Pacific Rim
Dreams and Illusions: Tales of the Pacific Rim is Brenda Wong Aoki's classic Asian-Pacific folk tales for the whole family. Modern and ancient tales from Japan, China, Hawaii, Korea, Hmong and California. Scored with original music and traditional instruments.
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The haunting eloquence of master storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki woven with the music of Asian Jazz pioneer Mark Izu.
Obsessive greed, crimes of passion, abuse of power; today's headlines, are the stuff of ghost stories. Meat the secret to immortality and other Japanese Ghost Stories features four powerful tales that explore the dilemmas of life people around the world have grappled with since the beginning of time.
The Queen's Garden
The CD, Threading Time, by Mark Izu and Circle of Fire, is a rare performance of two national treasures, Gagaku Master Togi Suenobu (Japan), Tabla Master Zakir Hussain (India) swirled into smooth jazz by composer Mark Izu (USA). The album journeys through dimensions of jazz and myth as it explores the ancient intonations of Japanese gagaku and the music of peoples traveling the legendary Silk Road.
Last Dance tells the internment story through spoken word, poetry, historic photos, 40’s Big Band sound and original music. It’s a tribute to Japanese Americans who used music and dance to remind themselves and the world who they were.
“This soul-stirring coming-of-age disc by Brenda Wong Aoki shouldn’t be missed by fans of spoken word. The first-person love story of Brenda Jean–a girl of uniquely mixed heritage (Asian, Mexican, and Scottish)–is backed by a melting jazz soundtrack courtesy of bassist-composer Mark Izu. The west side of Los Angeles is the setting here, but it’s Aoki’s autobiographical narrative that steals each scene. Her love for Kali, a boy descended from Hawaiian royalty, takes its own course, and Aoki’s jazz inspired pacing makes this 71-minute disc ebb and flow with a power all its own”. –Jason Verlinde
This CD is based on the Hindu concept of navarasa, or 9 emotional states, expressed through a combination of shakuhachi, bass, and mouth organ (the Chinese sheng and Japanese shô). The performers on this CD are Christopher Yohmei Blasdel and Mark Izu. The music is mostly improvised, based on the various rasa themes. Japanese music has roots in India, so we decided to use the navarasa for inspiration.