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LIVE

Kirilola

by Yung-hsiang Kao

Imagine being at sea for days, sailing in utter silence, not a land mass in sight to disturb the ocean view. Slowly, faintly, a voice sings a beautiful melody that grows in intensity as it draws you to her island, like the sirens in Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This perhaps best describes the “Kirilola effect,” a state of musical enchantment from listening to the original eX-Girl in her solo incarnation.

Seemingly miles away from her female rock band days, Kirilola has refashioned herself in Japanese trappings and ancient customs. Enveloped by traditional Japanese instruments, her voice at times manages an ethereal quality bordering on a new age, spiritual mode. Other times, the vocalizations seem to hearken back to a time of spoken-word storytelling. Her recent show with an Austrian sitar player and collaboration with American Indian Movement founder Dennis Banks further reveal her eclecticism.

As in her eX-Girl days, Kirilola costumes herself extravagantly, though in forms inspired by kimono and folk outfits. Her shows feel like performance art, full of color and mystery. The direct effect is to create an expectant atmosphere. Yet beyond the theatrics, Kirilola has a story to tell, one of healing, whether it’s that of the Earth or the human spirit.

Her “Nuriemaki” performances intend to act, as the name suggests, like a scroll painting. Part by part, a story in various musical colors unfolds, telling a tale that she hopes will heal the audience. Only those who tie themselves up like Odysseus could possibly resist the spell.

Kirilola presents the third public performance of Nuriemaki at Za-Koenji in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost ¥5,000.