*First broadcast on December 22, 2022. Hanawa-bayashi is the name both of a parade of floats in Kazuno, Akita Prefecture, and of the traditional music that is performed all night at the festival. These days, the performers include Colleen Schmuckal, a musician, composer and researcher from the USA. She plays the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument that was once a feature of everyday life in Japan. In a Japanophiles interview, Schmuckal tells Peter Barakan about the unique appeal of the shamisen and of Hanawa-bayashi music.
Hanawa-bayashi is a feature of one of Japan's leading regional summer festivals. Floats parade through the city for 12 hours, with music performed all night long.
Every few weeks, Colleen Schmuckal makes a 500-kilometer journey to Kazuno to rehearse for the festival.
Peter Barakan learns how to drum for Hanawa-bayashi.