Documentation of new work written by Aaron Choulai for the Australian art Orchestra with musicians from Japan
Umi no uzu integrates hip-hop, traditional Japanese court music within a contemporary jazz sensibility. It consists of six-movements that tell the creation story of Japan. It is mythical, irreverent, innovative and deeply groovy.
The diverse influences Umi no uzu brings together are focussed through the creative lens of the uniquely credentialed composer/pianist/beat maker, Aaron Choulai, who has been commissioned to create a new 60-minute new musical work that will be set to a video collage of Japanese created by renowned Fukuoka-based artist, designer and label head Popy Oil (Oilworks). It also features Tokyo- based hip-hop icon, Kojo famous for his work in both the Japan and New York hip-hop scenes.
Aaron Choulai is an Papua New Guinea born, Australian pianist/composer who has been splitting his time between in Tokyo and Melbourne for around ten years with commitments both as a performer and director of his own work and with renowned artists including in Melbourne the Black Arm Band, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ben Monder, Jim Black, and Joel Frahm in New York. He also produces the work of and Fukuoka based hip-hop label Oilworks and Tokyo based hip-hop label Jazzy Sport.
Umi no uzu has emerged from long and profound cultural engagement and ongoing friendships and had a first stage development in Tokyo in August 2017. Its inspiration is shaped by Aaron’s long-term study of Japanese aesthetics and music facilitated by a masters degree from Tokyo College of the Arts and eight years work in Japan. It is formed out of friendships with Japanese musicians and in particular with the hugely influential kotoist, 80-year-old Sawaii Kazue. Aaron also has a long association with the AAO, in particular with Peter Knight and Joe Talia. This project creates a space in which he can develop a mode of musical expression that gives voice to his remarkable cross-cultural experience and to these long-term friendships.