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Tour Report : East Timor (japanese)
Donal Lunny, Andy Irvine, and MONONOKE SUMMIT

Nakagawa Takashi / Vocal, Sanshin
Hidebow / Ching-dong Drum, Changgo, etc
Okuno Shinya / Accordion
Kawamura Hiroshi / Bass
Okuma Wataru / Clarinet
Utsumi Yoko / Ching-dong Drum
Kogure Miwa / Ching-dong Drum
Nakanishi Tomoko / Ching-dong Drum

1995: The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred in January. The Kansai-based rock 'n' roll band Soul Flower Union began giving live performances at the earthquake site in order to console the victims. The plan for these performances was instigated by Itami Hideko. Under the new name Soul Flower Mononoke Summit they began to play a chindon based music style which included Japanese, Okinawan, Ainu, Korean folk music, soshi enka (old comic songs of freedom fighters), labour songs, revolutionary songs, popular music and other styles.

Their performances gave priority to the urgency of the situation and its present condition, and so were different from other charitable concerts which were going on just after the earthquake. These performances continued in conjunction with the co-operation of local volunteer staff. During the year following the earthquake they played well over a hundred times.

At the same time as these activities were going on, Itami Hideko founded the Soul Flower Earthquake Fund. This was different from other established organisations in that the details of each situation were investigated and responsibility was taken for the allocation of money directly to institutions or to local volunteer staff, instead of it being donated to established organizations. They chose their method of commitment through an accurate and realistic understanding of the situation at the earthquake site rather than shouting and raising their voices for aid.

In order to play at the earthquake site, where all services were completely cut off, they played sanshin instead of electric guitar, used megaphones instead of microphones, chindon drums, Japanese drums, changgo, accordion and other instruments which did not require the use of electricity. Also, they had a varied repertoire, including their own interpretations of other songs, which they performed for the elderly and for children. This can be called the "ukebox of darkness" which shoots through the darkness of Japanese modern music and is sublimated as a new performing art.

In January 1996, the year after the earthquake, Soul Flower Mononoke Summit released their first album 'Asyl Ching-Dong'.

1997: Their second album 'Levelers Ching-Dong' was released.

Since playing at the earthquake site they went on to do various other events including festivals all over Japan and events for the disabled, playing at cheap lodging-house districts, for citizens' movements, and anti-war movements. Also, they went to Pyongyang in North Korea (1996), Hong Kong after its reversion to China (1997), Da Nang in Vietnam (1997), Smoky Mountain in the Philippines (1997), the East Timor independence celebrations (2002), France (2002), Taiwan (2004), Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan (2005), and other places. They do not just stay in Japan but continually create festivals at crossroads where people are desperate for songs and dance.

2006: In June, they released their third album and the first for nine years, 'Deracine Ching Dong'.

2007: In February, they planned and then played at a music festival on Henoko beach in Okinawa which is where there are plans to build a new US military base.

2008: In March, they released their first live DVD 'Live Henoko'.



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