By Toby Ley
Buono!Musica!2007: a weekend spent at a musical oasis. There was no J-pop. We didn’t hear the Beatles once, perhaps because of the absence of department stores and konbinis… Buono!Musica!2007 was simply a beautiful day and night of music, delicious food and camping. Held in a campground in Sera-Nishi, a small town an hour drive north of Onomichi, it proved to be a secluded spot with plenty of green-space, overlooking a peaceful lake. There was room for lazing around with a beer, or even tossing a frisbee, if you felt up to that strenuous task! In the evening, a big bonfire was lit for people to relax around. There were also barbeque facilities near the stage, so we loaded up on supermarket goodies before we arrived. It really was an excellent little valley for seeing some great live music.
The campsite opened up at around midday on Saturday, allowing a good couple of hours to pitch tents and settle into the laid-back vibe before the music actually began. There were a number of stalls selling a variety of beers and delicious food. The Portuguese grilled chicken was absolutely incredible and, as the evening wore on and the temperature dropped, there was also heart-warming hot, spiced wine on offer to keep us going.
But what about the music? Well, what I heard was great! The first act started at around 3 p.m. and the music continued on until about 2 or 3 a.m. The earlier acts were almost purely acoustic and had a distinct folk sound. Most of the performances consisted of just one or two people on stage at a time. One stand-out act for me was Kyoto-based, solo artist Chiyuki Eda of Xanthipita. Xanthipita complemented her simple guitar riffs with melancholy but sweet vocals, giving a really gorgeous sound. If only I could have understood the lyrics…
Upping the tempo later on in the evening was Tokyo’s Kijima Sound System: a band with at times six and at others, seven, members. These guys were awesome. They really performed well. A fantastic fusion of more traditional percussion with electronica and interesting base lines made this group a definite highlight of the weekend for me. During the performance, one of the artists from KSS would occasionally change position and move in front of the band to start conducting a kind of spontaneous jam session. It was the first time I had seen a band member suddenly transform from performer to conductor. It seemed a little strange at the time, but actually made for some pretty interesting music!
Whether you are into folk, hip-hop, jazz, techno, J-pop, grunge, classical or electronica, or even if you’re tone-deaf, Buono Musica should definitely be on next year’s “must attend” list.
For more information on next year’s Buono!Musica! check out http://buono-musica.com/