On July 14, 2012, a performance of the music theatre composition, "Pele - Goddess of Volcano and Earthquakes", based on on the Hawaiian mythology will be given at the Academy Hall in the Surugadai Campus of Meiji University, near Ochanomizu station in Tokyo. There is no admission charge.
The event is free.
13:00 opening time
13:30 starting time
太平洋の神話世界 (Taiheiyou no Shinwa Sekai - The world of myths in the Pacific)
Part one : A lecture by Akira Goto on how the Polynesians traveled by canoe across the Pacific
Part two: , "Pele - Goddess of Volcano and Earthquakes", a music theatre piece with text and music by Ayuo.
Performed by Ayuo and Seashell
Ayuo: Vocals, Poetry Recitation, Irish Harp, and Movements
Fumiko Kai: Violin
Sayano Tojima: Violin
Akiko Miyano: Viola
Takui Matsumoto: Cello
Miwako Amano: Dance
Keijiro Suga: Narration, translation of text by Ayuo into Japanese
For information and reservation:
(This page is in Japanese, but shows the information, and goes to the reservation page.)
Academy Hall is a 500 people hall located in a new building in this campus, named Academy Common.
It is 3 minutes walk from JR Ochanomizu Station.
Hello and Welcome to Ayuo's homepage.
Many of you looking at this page may have come here after hearing my CDs "Izutsu", Red Moon", "AOI", "Songs from a Eurasian Journey" or possibly from hearing my compositions such as those found on the Youtube or such compositions such as "Eurasian Tango", which has received performances in many countries.
What I like doing is to read, research and study the cultures and myths of the world, and then to write and present the results of the research as theatrical work. My main influences are the studies of world mythology by the professor of comparative religion, Joseph Campbell, the studies of medieval Medieval European literature and world mythology by Carl Jung and his followers, Marie Louise von Franz, Barbara Hannah, M. Esther Harding, the literature of the British fiction writer, Jeanette Winterson and the Persian mystic, Rumi. I was also heavily inspired by the science books by Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan. And books on the very objective study of cultural anthropology by Edward T. Hall has also influenced me greatly. Songs such as "Dance of Life" and "Different Languages" were directly inspired from reading Hall's works, such as "Dance of Life" and "Hidden Differences: Doing Business with the Japanese."
Much of the images I use are derived from ancient mythology. I study them and try to put them together like the way James Joyce would spread images, words and tales from ancient mythology all over works such as "Ulysses" or "Finnegan's Wake". Sometimes the results take the form of acoustic songs with a guitar, a piano composition for a string quartet or a piano, or a theatre piece written with words and graphic notation. Personal experiences can be used to direct the flow of the work, but I tend to agree with Jeanette Winterson that real works of art are not autobiography.
I also like the novels by Barbara Vine, J.G. Ballard, Yukio Mishima and Kurt Vonnegut.
The best writers, scientists, anthropologists and psychologists tend to be androgynous. A writer like Barbara Vine in her recent novels can draw very well formed characters because they are written very objectively. A woman writer is often good at bringing out the psychological relationship between human beings, but a writer who has still not developed her craft can often wind up writing from too much of a subjective point of view. Barbara Vine is one amazing writer who can bring out how the human mind works from a very objective point of view. A writer who is a man is often good at bringing up and naming the concepts and theories in a scientific manner, but sometimes makes for difficult reading especially if it becomes too divorced from how human nature actually operates. For both J. G. Ballard and Kurt Vonnegut, their experiences in World War 2, has given them a writing style of looking at human nature in such a direct manner that it rarely fails to affect its readers. Some of the best scientists in biology are women such as Lynn Margulis and Keiko Nakamura, who became scientists after their own personal experience of giving birth to children. A man who spends his time observing and raising children can also come up with great piece of scientific journalism such as Matt Ridely's "Genome." The best songwriters are those that can transcend gender like the best works of Joni Mitchell and Prince.
One has to realize that both the masculine and feminine exists in all of us. If one side is repressed, it will only rise from the unconscious in an unexpected manner.
In poetry, I love the way certain words sound as music.In every language, there is a certain musical way to hear poetry. It is rare when that kind of hearing experience can be translated, for its meaning is only a part of what recited poetry can do for the listener. Yukio Mishima and Junichiro Tanizaki can sound amazing in Japanese. Sylvia Plath sounds absolutely musical in English. Great musical translations of Antonin Artaud and Marguerite Duras exist in English. The musical sounds in the English translation of the classic Chinese novel, "A Dream of Red Mansions" by Yang Hsien-Yi and Gladys Yang led me to create several works based on that novel.
The medieval poetry by troubadours, trouveres and minnesingers. The Noh plays by Zeami. The writings about religion, politics and the philosophies of Henri Bergson by Nikos Kazantsakis. I have based many works derived from such sources.
What I hope to do is create a body of work which can serve as the hymns for the 21th century we live in, which I see as a period of transitional change between the breakdown of the conservative moralities of the previous centuries and a new consciousness which comes from the study of contemporary science, especially in the fields of physics, space science and biotechnology. In the same way, the works that I am interested in creating will quote from ancient religious concepts such as Kundalini yoga and bring them together with how physicists view the cosmos today. Or how the creation of the world in Hindu mythology can read like a poetic illustration of how modern science describes the beginning of the world today. And how the Polynesian view of multiple dimensions are similar to how scientists like Lisa Randall describe how the 5th dimension of space can be proven.
Works of art are reflections of the both the local culture and of the changes in the globe at the time of its composition. At such times, both the ancient mythology studied by anthropologists and the new discoveries by scientists are relavant and important.
True, this is a difficult thing to approach. The singer Bjork recently created an album called "Biophilia", including song titles such as "Dark Matter", a terminology from cosmology. Scientists now believe, we human beings only see are capable of seeing 4% of the actual world around us. 26% of the other parts consist of areas in space where gravity can be felt, but nothing can be seen (dark matter), and the rest of 70% where we cannot see nor feel any gravity, but know that it exists (dark energy).
Sometimes when I gather together many books about "science" and "mythology", I often wind up books that writes more about spiritualism and is more influenced by the so-called "new age" philosophies. Entire businesses seems to have been created by people using Jung's words and concepts, simplifying it and diluting it with the occult works, so that it could be more easily sold. However, the ultimate aim for me, is to research about ourselves, what we are made of, where we come from, and where we go to, what death means and how to prepare ourselves philosophically for the coming age. And this, I feel, can only be approached by creating works objectively like the way a scientist would work. This may sound cold and lacking a warm human touch, but feelings also come from actual experiences, and can be used to direct the emotional flow of the work. So creation becomes similar to the way a physicist would experiment. The work is to be carried out objectively, with subjective experiences influencing the results.
The work created in 2011, based on the mythology of "Pele" is not just a musical recounting of the Hawaiian myths, but takes psychological themes from mythology around the world to be used as metaphors for what we know in contemporary science. Keijiro Suga, a poet and a writer on cultural anthropology, and a professor in the science department in Meiji University has helped me in creating the Japanese text, but we have deleted the scientific explanations and terminology from the reading text, because we both felt that it interrupts the flow of the tale. We left it so that those who can make the connections can do so, , but others can also hear it as a work of mythology.
The three stages of human consciousness in the Mahayana sect, and its similarity to modern Jungian methods of identifying the conscious:
1) The naive stage, ruled over by the autos, in which the individual is completely dominated by his bodily needs and desires, marks the "man of little intellect" For him the buddhists say, "the best thing is to have faith in the law of cause and effect." He is admonished to observe the outcome of his preoccupation with his auto-erotic desires.
It is recorded that Buddha was much concerned with just this problem. When, before his final enlightenment, he was meditating under the Bo Tree, he asked himself: Why are there these endlessly repeated lives? Why do people, and animals as well, go on with the senseless round of birth and suffering and death?...He saw the wheel of life, consisting of the endless round of existences, of births and deaths and rebirths, of heavens and hells, and of the earth with its many faces. In the center were three animals, whose constant circling kept the whole wheel revolving: these were a pig, a snake, and a dove, representing selfishness, anger, and lust, or, in the terms of the present discussion, greed, ego power, and sexuality.
The revelation that came to came to Buddha through his vision was that it is these instinct forces that motivate the endless cycle of life So long as man seeks after the satisfaction of these, so long will mankind be bound on the wheel. These instinct powers are more ancient than the psyche of man, being rooted in the very substance and nature of the living organism, in the essence, the spirit, the life of protoplasm itself.
The animal acts, not knowing that he acts; man not only acts, he knows that he acts and, in addition, he retains a memory of his past actions. So in man a new power has arisen, the capacity to know and to understand - consciousness - that has acquired sufficient strength to set itself over against the compulsion of instinct. The coming of consciousness enabled man to create a new relation to the life spirit within him.
2) The man in the ego stage of development is called by the Buddhists the "man of ordinary intellect."He has gained some control over his instinctive drives and for him the ego is now king; he classifies everything in terms of his own wishes, taking the good and rejecting the evil, not realizing that what he discards falls into the unconscious and does not cease to exist. In this stage, the Buddhists say, "the best thing to recognize, both within and without oneself, the workings of the law of opposites."
It is this step that marks the transition from the complete self-centeredness of the autos to the beginnings of ego-consciousness. Or as the Buddhists say: the "man of little intellect" develops to the stage of the "man of ordinary intellect." The "man of little intellect" needs to learn the law of cause and effect, that is, he must observe what happens when he follows his instinctive desires unthinkingly; the "one of ordinary intellect" discovers the law of the opposites. For him the instinct drives and the psychic images - the archetypes - related to them, manifest themselves in opposites.First, inertia, that manifests itself in sloth and restlessness, corresponding to the first law of Newton dealing with the inertia of physical objects; second, hunger experienced in both want and greed; third, self-defense, that produces enmity and also friendship; and lastly, reproduction, that gives rise to both lust and love in its sexual phase, and that may be either nourishing or devouring, life-giving or death-dealing in its maternal phase.
3) In the state of the individual whom the Buddhists call the "man of superior intellect", the identification of the ego with the supreme value has been dissolved. In consequence he experiences the inner dynamic factor as something other than the conscious ego, though definitely within the psyche. For his state, according to the Buddhists, "the best thing is to have a thorough comprehension of the inseparableness of the knower, the object of knowledge, and the act of knowing."
---------------as described by M.Esther Harding
Historically, we are entering a period of time, where we must understand how everything we perceive is actually interconnected - "the inseparableness of the knower, the object of knowledge, and the act of knowing." This is how biologists and physicists are carrying out their experiments.
During the Renaissance, the study of alchemy is said to have influenced the compositional methods of composers such as Dowland and Morely. The 20th century for some was the beginning of a new consciousness, a new way of looking at things and a search for new methods to represent them.
Carl Jung had gone through a period of time when he was doing the ancient Chinese I Ching everyday. During the 1920s, he met with James Joyce, who was writing "Ulysses" in Zurich, near where Carl Jung lived. They had discussions of dreams and dream interpretations and mythology, which must have had a profound effect on Joyce's next major work, "Finnegan's Wake", where the narrative takes place in Finnegan's dream and is filled with images from world mythology. By the 1930s, he had written the introduction to a new translation of the "I Ching" and the Taoist book "The Secret of the Golden Flower" both translated by Richard Willehelm. and met with the Zen Buddhist, Daisetsu Suzuki. He had also taken field trips to Sub-Saharan Africa and did research in the culture of the native Americans. His influence on the study of mythology today is enormous.He was a pioneer before Mircea Eliade, Levi-Straus and Robert Graves. Joseph Campbell popularised much of Jung's concepts and works, and through Campbell, they must have influenced the composer John Cage.
The music that I create is an illustration by sound of these concepts that I am involved in researching. Much of my works are based on medieval modes, scales and methods used in the ancient music throughout Northern Asia to Europe. Sometimes I use graphic notation to illustrate them.Although, to some people, my usage of modes in some compositions remind them of chordal music, I do not conceive of music from chord progressions. They often may sound that way, when parallel 6th move along stepwise over a drone of 5th. I may use modes and forms of ancient music, but I don't intend to imitate them, sometimes quotations from ancient music is used in much the same that a quotation from poetry or story from mythology may be used.
I also like dances which are developed from the ancient dance movements of ancient trance dances and religious rituals. Movements from the snake dances, which were originally created to tap the source of universal energy as in Kundalini yoga, and Polynesian movements and gestures, with its meanings in religious rituals were an important influence. Sometimes Middle Eastern dancers, Hula dancers, Tahitian Dancers , Contemporary dancers or Ballet dancers would help in collaborating to creating these performances.
In recent days, I would create a team, where we would try to create a new music theatre ritual, involving dance, poetry recitation, performances of a classical string quartet, and Indian and Middle Eastern percussion.
From earlier days, I would often take a poem from ancient Mesopotamia, and rewrite it to fit the melodies and changes in the music. I was trying to preserve the magic and show to any who knew that human beings hadn't really changed. Actually, although there are many universal archetypes in ancient mythology and poems, and human beings have changed greatly, we are still very different in every culture. This is what creates culture shocks and misunderstandings between people of different cultural backgrounds. And differences exist between people of the same race, depending upon their cultural background and generation.
In music-theatre piece, "Pele", the following questions are asked:
How do human beings see each other?
Is it actually possible to really see each other, or are we looking at each other through preconceived notions, which actually come from our own consciousness? How do we view "the other world" or "the other dimension?"
In other words, where do we go to, when we die?
What is the meaning of love in human psychology? Why do we feel as if 10,000 volts of electricity was hit upon us when we fall in love?
Why is death described as a sacred wedding in much Medieval European and Middle Eastern literature?
(Example:Thomas Aquinas's last lecture, based on the "Song of Songs" of the Old Testament.)
Another part describing how the gods and goddesses created the world according to Polynesian mythology was ommitted from the final show, because of the length of time it would require.
Like the mystery plays of the Medieval Europe or of Rumi in the Middle East, theatre-pieces such as this are meant to make the audience reflect upon such problems as those above that we face in life. But I would advise those who don't find anything in them, to check out something else other than my works, for it only means that what I create doesn't have any relevance for them. We all have our own journey to travel in life. There are many different roads, and each must find the paths that they need. Sometimes what was irrelevant will become important later. We meet each other only when there is a need.
Feel free to download some of my music and scores, but please remember that all have copyright in JASRAC and are owned by myself.
Please contact, if interested in either a performance by Ayuo or in performing any of Ayuo's works.
A translation of Jeanette Winterson's picture book "The King of Capri" that I had created with Yuki Yanagihara will be published by Shougakkan in Japan on April 9. Jeanette Winterson is one writer with whom I can agree on so many topics that when I first read her works around 1990, I was completely amazed.
To celebrate this publication, I have written down a list of favorite quotations from her book of essays, "Art Objects".
These statements are also what I wish to do with my own creations.
Aｒｔ must resist autobiography if it hopes to cross the boundaries of class, culture....and...sexuality.
Of course there is a paradox here; the most powerful written work often masquerades as autobiography. It offers itself as raw when in fact it is sophisticated. It presents itself as a kind of diary when it is really an oration.The best work speaks intimately to you even though it has been consciously made to speak intimately to thousands of others. The bad writer believes that sincerity of feeling will be enough, and pins her faith on the power of experience. The true writer knows that feeling must give way to form. It is through the form, not in spite of, or accidental to it, that the most powerful emotions let loose over the greatest number of people.
Communist and People's Man, Stephen Spender, had the right credentials, but Catholic and cultural reactionary T.S.Eliot made the poetry. It is not always so paradoxical but it can be, and the above example should be reason enough not to judge the work by the writer. Judge the writer by the work.
Some of my favorite books are written by people with whom I doubt I could spend one hour. In print I can live with them forever because the strong line connecting us is a love of language.
How each writer learns to translate autobiography into art is a problem that each artist solves for themselves. When solved, unpicking is impossible, we cannot work backwards from the finished text into its raw material. The commonest mistake of critics and biographers is to assume that what holds significance for them necessarily hold significance for the writer. Forcing the work back into autobiography is a way of trying to contain it, of making what has become unlike anything else into what is just like everything else.
When I read Adrienne Rich or Oscar Wilde, revels of different types, the fact of their homosexuality should not be uppermost. I am not reading their work to get at their private lives, I am reading their work because I need the depth-charge it carries.
The man who won't read Virginia Woolf, the lesbian who won't touch T.S. Eliot, are both putting subjective concerns in between themselves and the work.
We hear a lot about the arrogance of the artist but nothing about the arrogance of the audience.
'I don't understand this poem'
'I never listen to classical music'
'I don't like this picture'
are common enough statements but not ones that tell us anything about books, painting, or music. They are statements that tell us something about the speaker.
When you say 'This work has nothing to do with me'. When you say 'This work is boring/pointless/silly/obscure/elitist etc., you might be right, because you are looking at a fad, or you might be wrong because the work falls so outside of the safety of your own experience that in order to keep your own world intact, you must deny the other world of the painting. This denial of imaginative experiences happens at a deeper level than our affirmation of our daily world. Every day, in countless ways, you and I convince ourselves about ourselves. True art, when it happens to us, challenges the 'I' that we are.
A love-parallel would be just; falling in love challenges the reality to which we lay claim, part of the pleasure of love and part of its terror, is the world turned upside down.
Art is not amnesia, and the popular idea of books as escapism or diversion, misses altogether what art is. There is plenty of escapism and diversion to be had, but it cannot be had from real books, real pictures, real music, real theatre. Art is the realization of complex emotion.
Complex emotion is pivoted around the forbidden.
Complex emotion often follows some major event in our lives; sex, falling in love, birth, death, are the commonest and each of these potencies are strong taboos.
The person is thrown out of the normal groove of their life and whilst they stumble, they also have to carry a new weight of feeling, feeling that threatens to overwhelm them
A newborn child, the moment of falling in love can cause in us seismic shocks that will, if we let them, help to re-evaluate what things matter, what things are taken for granted. This is frightening, and as we get older it is harder to face such risks to the deadness that we are.
It is the poet who goes further than any human scientist. The poet who with her dredging net must haul up difficult things and return them to the present. As she does this, the reader will begin to recognize parts of herself so neatly buried that they seem to have been buried from birth.
Art is not a private nightmare, not even a private dream, it is a shared human connection that traces the possibilities of past and future in the whorl of now. It is a construct, like religion, like the world itself. It is as artificial as you and me and as natural too.
The true artist studies the past, not as a copyist or a pasticheur will study the past, those people are interested only in the final product, the art object, signed sealed and delivered to a public drugged on reproduction. The true artist is interested in the art object as an art process, the thing in being, the being of the thing, the struggle, the excitement, the energy, that have found expression in a particular way. The true artist is after the problem. The false artist wants it solved (by somebody else).
The calling of the artist, in any medium, is to make it new. I do not mean that in new work the past is repudiated; quite the opposite, the past is reclaimed. It is not lost to authority, it is not absorbed at a level of familiarity. It is re-stated and re-instated in its original vigour. Lenardo is present in Cezanne, Michelangelo flows through Picasso and on into Hockney. This is not ancestor worship, it is the lineage of art.
|New Live Recordings of Ayuo can be heard at the following sites:
Ayuo 2 years old