The Otoasobi Project

The Otoasobi Projectf is a group of musicians, music therapists, individuals with learning disabilities and their families who started music-making workshops in 2005 at Kobe University in order to explore new musical expressions. Since then these new musical expressions, which are created through our regular workshops, have been performed as free improvisation, balloon baseball, sumo match, graphic notation, rap music, and original-language songs at more than 30 concerts.

Members

The group consists of 16 people with learning disabilities and their families, about 20 artists from various fields, and music therapists. Individuals with learning disabilities include autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome and so on, whose ages range from 8 to 42. They collaborate freely with artists such as free improvisers, pop musicians, butoh dancers, and installation artists. Over 50 guest artists have been involved so far to create new performances. Parents of the people with learning disabilities are also important members who make their own music using cardboard boxes, kitchen utensils, and even hoovers.

Concerts

The Otoasobi Project has held more than 30 concerts along with numerous public workshops. At the first concert eOto-no-shirof (Castle of Sound), various spaces of an old western house were used to perform improvised pieces. At the second concert eOto-no-Umif (Ocean of Sound), 27 ensembles performed in a hall located on an artificial island in Kobe. The music making process was documented by a young film director and released as documentary in 2010. From the live recordings of these concerts, a CD was released and was used as a soundtrack for the movie, eGerman + Rainf. The group still continues to make new styles of performance such as rock-papers-scissors performance, air ensemble (no sounds) or multi-conducted ensemble.

Reviews

The performances have been accepted from various points of view. A photo appeared on the front cover of the book titled gInvitation to Community Music Therapyh(left bottom), a edancef review was written for Kyoto Art Center Newsletter, and several magazines such as gBruth, gEducational Musich, gEurekah, and gGeijyutsu Shinchoh (Art magazine of Shincho Publishing Co.,Ltd.) has reported on the  activities. Several theses have also been written in the field of community music therapy, music education, art management, communication study, linguistics, and improvisation. Each of the group members has a fairly different aim?for example education, welfare, art and joy?so we share a belief that every member has their own ways of evaluation. The creativity energy arises from these discrepancies.

CD "Oto no Shiro / Oto no Umi" :
Improvised Music From Japan CD shop
http://www.japanimprov.com/cdshop2/index.html
http://www.japanimprov.com/indies/otoasobinokai/otonoshiro.html
HP: http://otoasobi.main.jp/ contact: Rii Numata riinumata@gmail.com