Monday, March 24, 2008

Yoko Fujimoto & Cien Fuegos

Yoko Fujimoto's visit to Tucson beautifully coincided with the Yaqui Easter ceremonies. We were able to reciprocate somewhat for the gift of her extraordinary voice and knowledge of Japanese vocal tradtions by taking her to Old Pasqua and Barrio Libre to see a small part of the ritual: the Gloria and the night of festivities that follow. Saturday, in particular, was magical, as we seemed to keep arriving places at just the right time (which, for those of you familiar with the ceremonies know is not usual). Yoko-san witnessed the most dramatic moment of the Gloria, the maypole dance, and, most amazing, the renowned deer dancer Cien Fuegos, who normally doesn't begin till after midnight, but who this night began dancing around 10PM.
I like to think this was special for Yoko-san, who is so very special herself. Her voice is unparalleled in it's passion, skill and technique, and it's clarity..., as is her spirit and intelligence. It was an honor to be able to spend time with her.
Soojin Kim was back in town for the ceremonies, of course. It was she who told Yoko about the Yaqui ceremonies while in L.A. during the Hanayui concert. But I had already planned to take her there. The interest by our Japanese friends in Native American culture has been strong. I think there must be the echo of some kinship, ancient..., but—if you watch the folk dances of northern Japan—unmistakable.

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