Ryuz- Music of Japan and Malaysia

Ryuz- Music of Japan and Malaysia : Towards A New Sphere of Tradition and Contemporary

The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur (JFKL) proudly present new music collaboration project between Japanese and Malaysian musicians.

Through this program, experienced group Ryuz, which consist of folk singer/drummer Shigeri Kitsu, tsugaru-shamisen player Nobuto Yamanaka, and outstanding vocal Kazuki Kunihiro, will tour 3 cities in Malaysia to seek for more collaborator through their unique fusion of Japanese traditional and contemporary music. After a collaborative live session with the local musicians, they will be performing at the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching.

The project will mark the first collaboration project between ASEAN artists and Japanese artists under the new Asia Centre which was established within the Japan Foundation in April 2014 to further enhance communication and collaboration between Asia.



Mini Showcase @ KK


Dates: 16th June 2014 (Monday)Time: 8:30pm


Venue: Orchestra Hall ASWARA(464 Jalan Tun Ismail, KL)

Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin @ Wak Long

Admission Free!

Inquiry: The Japan Foundation KL
TEL 03-2284-6228
(Mon-Fri 8:30-16:30)

Dates: 18th June 2014 (Wednesday)Time: 8:00pm


Venue: CAD Centre for Arts & Design
(No. 1 & 3, Block 6 MDR, Jalan Pelabuhan, Tanjung Lipat Kota Kinabalu)

Admission Free!

Inquiry: CAD Centre for Arts & Design
TEL 088-310 868
(Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00)

Dates: 20th to 22nd June 2014 (Friday – Sunday)
Venue: Sarawak Cultural VillagePerformance:
3.30 – 4.15 pm
22nd June at Theatre Stage


“BEAT BOXES” (21st June)
“THE VOICE” (21st June)
Inquiry :
Rainforest World Music Festival 



Ryuz is a group which explores music transcending musical borders, and consists of three exciting Japanese musicians: Shigeri Kitsu, known for her original style of folk singing while accompanying herself on folk drum; superb tsugaru-shamisen (traditional string instrument) player Nobuto Yamanaka; and, Kazuki Kunihiro who gives the group an exceptional appeal with his highly original and imaginative cross-genre compositions. The repertoire consists of Japanese folk music in an original Ryuz style, as well as new compositions by Kunihiro.

The group made its debut under the name of Hidden Dragon in Uzbekistan in August 2011, when it participated in the International Sharq Taronalari Music Festival in Samarkand and received the Special Award for receiving the greatest support from the audience. The group also performed in Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Ashkhabad in Turkmenistan. In September 2013, the group performed in Thailand in both Bangkok and Phitsanulok, where they received critical acclaim.

The group changed its name from Hidden Dragon to Ryuz in July 2013.




Kitsu Shigeri

Shigeri Kitsu

Since childhood, Kitsu has studied minyo (Japanese folk music) singing, minyo drumming, and shamisen (traditional three-stringed instrument). Her talent was recognized early, which led her to numerous performances on TV, radio and stage. She established her original style of sining while accompanying herself on folk drum. Her attitude toward disseminating minyo as Japanese soul music with her powerful singing has moved audience not only in Japan but also in many countries of the world.

Her powerful singing and high level drumming skills combined with a rich sensibility have allowed her to collaborate with many big-name musicians in the Japanese Western music scene including Haruomi Hosono (a former member of Yellow Magic Orchestra), jazz saxophonist Akira Sakata jazz guitarist Kazumi Watanabe, etc.

Kitsu has released her solo CD, Japanese Voice (2007). She has also released CDs with Katsuaki Sawada, the grand master of tsugaru-shamisen: Tsuru to Kame (Crane and Tortoise) (2002), Ai no Kaze (Wind from the North) (2003), and Shakkitose (Shape Up!) (2007).




Kazuki Kunihiro

Kazuki Kunihiro

Composer, vocalist, and guitarist, Kunihiro is highly celebrated with his rich cross-genre and higly imaginative musicality, as well as strong stage presence.

Performing his own compositions in solo performances and in his band Data, Kunihiro also displays an unfailing compositional ability in his music for theatre and film, and drew much attention through works such as: Performing Women: 3 Reinterpretations from Greek Tragedy (a collaborative theatre work between performers of India, Iran, Uzbekistan and Japan, produced by the Japan Foundation in 2007) and the grand kabuki, Sakura Giminden (2010) directed by the contemporary theatre director, Kazuyoshi Kushida (2010), anime film many go round (special award in the 2012 London International Animation Festival), Sound Migration – a collaborative music project between musicians from Turkey and Japan.



Nobuto Yamanaka

Nobuto Yamanaka

      Began studying tsugaru-shamisen (traditional string instrument of northern Japan) at age 13. After graduating from junior high school, Yamanaka went to Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, the origin place of tsugaru-shamisen, and studied for four years under the late Chisato Yamada, one of the great masters. While in Hirosaki, he won various major tsugaru-shamisen competitions, and was given the title of master of the Yamada school.
After returning to his homeland near Tokyo, he joined the Takio Band, headed by Takio Ito, a famous minyo singer known for his new approach to minyo, and performed in and out of Japan for 16 years.
Yamanaka is now an active solo performer, and has attracted considerable attention for his brilliant playing techniques and superb musicality.
Yamanaka won the Grand Prize in utazuke section of the most prestigious tsugaru-shamisen competition in 2011 and 2013. Utazuke is a characteristic tsugaru-shamisen technique, in which players accompany singers, using different techniques and music motifs in an improvisational way, and requires high level playing techniques and a deep knowledge about minyo singing. Having received this award, Yamanaka established his position as an authentic tsugaru-shamisen player.
He is also a lecturer at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Tokyo.



Collaborator for KL Performance

Mohd Kamrulbahri Hussin @ Wak Long

Kamrul Bahri_solo at UCLA2006

Distinguished Creative Scholar From Faculty of Music UiTM

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