May 2007

KoenjiHyakkei & I Have Eaten the Barnyard Dharma
presented by RoughIdea
May 20, 2007 The Horseshoe Tavern Toronto
Sonic Polyglot
by David Fujino with photos by Roger Humbert

Christine Duncan's primitive/modern voicework really impressed.

She sang and intoned, squealed, cried, throat sang, yodelled, Buddhist chanted, and always added to the music's ever-widening flow.

Duncan's equally creative band members in I Have Eaten the Barnyard Dharma were Jean Martin and Justin Hayes, Colin Fisher, Nick Storring and Brandon Valdivia. (On this night, they were an amalgamation of two separate Toronto-based improvising bands, Barnyard Drama, and I Have Eaten the City.)

Colin Fisher & Christine Duncan

I Have Eaten the Barnyard Dharma created their sounds in a gracious spirit of unity and unanimity during a 45-minute extended set. A few notable episodes had an insistent West African quality. And there were the yodels and Brandon Valdivia's sticks ticking away in a steady almost metronomic pattern.

But it had begun with silence. Sporadic electric pops from Colin Fisher's guitar, then a cymbal wow and flutter, established an evolving, communal-styled sound space.

A space which soon got filled by the hurtling sounds of the guest group from Japan, KoenjiHyakkei.

Publicized as a loud volume 'prog-rock' group, KoenjiHyakkei sounded a lot like Return to Forever, Chick Corea's fusion group — but Return to Forever on an angular, downward kind of slide, with hits of speeded up punk.

But, just like Return to Forever, the group sang melodies in unison — sometimes they were mock-Operatic — and they repeated a lot of their phrases.

Like Return to Forever, they played from an inner core of beats, vamps, and riffs powered by the R&B-loving leader and composer, drummer Yoshida Tatsuya.

Sakamoto Kengo

Also a bleak inner city sound occasionally re-surfaced in KoenjiHyakkei's music — but this didn't last long.

The eagerly riffing Komori Keiko on soprano sax changed all this. She plunged in and stretched the tune and stayed with the time. Komori-san was the real soloist of KoenjiHyakkei.

But equally impressive for her rigor, pitch, and focus, was the lead singer, Yamamoto Kyoko. She defined each of the eight compositions played this evening. And that takes a lot of concentration.

Yamamoto Kyoko

Komori Keiko

These two groups really complemented each other.

I Have Eaten the Barnyard Dharma (Canada) used sounds and styles to create a personal and communal sound space, while KoenjiHyakkei (Japan) mixed and matched sounds to express their feelings about playing music today.

I Have Eaten the Barnyard Dharma
Christine Duncan — voice
Colin Fisher — tenor sax & guitar
Justin Haynes — bass
Jean Martin — turntables & percussion
Nick Storring — cello, electronics & keyboard
Brandon Valdivia — percussion

Yoshida Tatsuya — drums & vocals
Sakamoto Kengo — bass & vocals
Kanazawa Miyako — keyboards & vocals
Yamamoto Kyoko — vocals
Komori Keiko — reeds & vocals

We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
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The Live Music Report

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