In his wrap-up of the previous decade in music on Dec. 18, 2009, this newspaper’s Philip Brasor identified harmony vocal groups as the “most enduring fad.” Well, judging from the activities of a sizable group of young performers from northern Japan, the fad looks certain to continue.
This weekend, the Miyagi Prefecture capital of Sendai hosts the second annual Date Aka event, in which more than 40 a cappella groups will perform on two stages in the city.
Event organizer Hiroyoshi Kudo explains that “Sendai has a large outdoor jazz festival (the Jozenji Streetjazz Festival), and events for other types of music, but there was never an a cappella event.”
For participant bands, Kudo and the other organizers are able to draw on the 200-strong a cappella circle at Sendai’s Tohoku University. “About 70 percent of the band members are students,” Kudo said. “It’s just easier to form bands and sing regularly while you’re a student and more difficult once you graduate.”
Date Aka will be held from 11 a.m. till 7 p.m. on each day, with each band singing for about 30 minutes. The main stage, outside the Sendai branch of the Mitsukoshi department store, will host singers throughout Saturday and Sunday as well as special performances each evening. The Saturday Night Stage, from 6:15 p.m. till 7 p.m., will see crowd favorites from the day conduct encore performances; while on Sunday evening (6 p.m. till 7 p.m.), a special show will be held by Jyanz, a five-member band from Sapporo.
“The people in Sendai are used to seeing live music, but they don’t get to see too much a cappella,” Kudo said. “Last year they seemed really interested to see how the style is performed.”
Date Aka will take place Oct. 16-17 on stages set up in front of Mitsukoshi department store and the Smile Hotel Sendai-Kokubuncho. For further information, visit www.dateaka.net.