Japanese veena player enthrals music lovers

Japanese veena player Yuko Matoba performing in Kannur recently.

Japanese veena player Yuko Matoba performing in Kannur recently.  

Fascination for Carnatic music brought Yuko Matoba to India in 1972

Yuko Matoba is one among the many veena players in the world, but what sets her apart is that she is probably the only artiste from Japan to have international recognition.

She was in Kannur recently to do a performance at which she enthralled the audience with her mastery of the veena.

The 70-year-old player had a great passion for music from childhood. She graduated from the Department of Musicology, Tokyo University of the Arts, and received guidance from Professor Fumio Koizumi.

“Professor Koizumi was the first person to introduce Indian music in Japan. He asked me to visit India to learn Indian music,” said Matoba.

She started learning Carnatic music at a college in Chennai in 1972.

“I chose veena as it sounds attractive. I learned how to play it from Rajalakshmi Narayanan, Kalpakam Swaminathan, M. Nageswara Rao, M. Sarada and N. Vijayalakshmi,” she said.

Her first veena concert was in Chennai 10 years ago and since then, Matoba has presented many concerts across India and Japan.

“I have taken part in Veena Navaratri, and have been participating in Veena Utsavam for the past five years in Chennai,” she said.

She still visits the country twice a year to take classes. “I try to learn as many aspects of veena as I can,” she says. Indian and Japanese music, she says, are similar. “They both have a delicate melody line, but I think Carnatic music is more logical.”

When she’s back in Japan, she conducts Carnatic music classes there. “I run private Carnatic music classes and teach musicians how to play the veena,” Matoba said.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:31:15 AM |

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