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Sendai to hold jazz festival

by Shaun Mckenna

Staff Writer

In times of trouble music can soothe the soul. And if anyone’s souls needed soothing, it would be the people of Sendai.

The capital of Miyagi Prefecture is located 130 km east of the epicenter of the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, and has been hit by more than 1,500 aftershocks.

The situation caused the organizers of the city’s Jozenji Streetjazz Festival to consider whether or not they wanted to continue with this year’s celebrations, but in the end they decided it might be exactly what people are in need of.

Last year’s festival attracted around 740,000 people, according to organizers who hope this year will attract even more. Jozenji Streetjazz Festival has become one of Sendai’s main festivals, with local business coming together to help fund the citywide party. On top of the 45 official stages, expect gigs to pop up in unusual places such as shop arcades, parks and in the entrances to department stores.

This year’s party gets going with a prefestival performance on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. when France’s Remi Panossian Trio performs at Sendai Mediatheque’s open square.

Sept. 10-11 will then see a multitude of gigs with acts such as Kazunori Kumagai and duo Fried Pride representing some of the best grooves Japan has to offer, alongside overseas performers such as Sweden’s Margareta Bengtson and The United States Army Band.

Jozenji Streetjazz Fesitval takes place at various locations in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Sept. 9-11. Street performances take place from 11 a.m. till 6 p.m. Night shows take place from 6 p.m. till 9 p.m. For more information, call (022) 722-7382 or visit www.j-streetjazz.com.