On August 2nd and 3rd, I went to “Hamaotsu Summer Festa” hosted in my hometown, Otsu (大津), Shiga (滋賀).
This is one of my favorite annual events in Japan.
At the festival, we could enjoy a live Jazz concert performed on an outdoor stage, which was temporarily built right by the biggest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa.
Just like any other Japanese summer festivals, there were so many vendors selling delicious food, such as Hiroshimayaki (広島焼), Dango (団子), Yakisoba (焼きそば) and so on.
This was the 2nd annual Jazz festival in Hamaotsu (浜大津).
There were so many musicians invited for both days: Big Bands, Club Jazz Bands, Latino singers and Jazz vocalists.
The lighted-up fountains on Lake Biwa at their back, they performed wonderfully and every single person in the audience was touched by their soulful music. I also saw some foreigners, enjoying the music and I thought that music has no national nor cultural boundaries. We jumped and danced to the music side by side and had a wonderful time.
I think all types of Jazz are wonderful but personally I love vocal Jazz the best.
All vocalists at this festival sang REALLY well in many languages such as English and Portugues and their powerful performances took my breath away.
I even bought one of the singers’ CDs and have been listening to it everyday.
Since I am a fan of vocal Jazz and also a teacher at Smith’s School of English Ohtsu, I usually cannot help caring about singers’ English pronunciation. At Hamaotsu Jazz Festival; however, all vocalists sang with such beautiful pronunciation so I felt very comfortable listening to them sing.
Throughout the concert, I couldn’t stop wondering how they practiced singing those English songs. To tell you the truth, one of the reasons why I wanted to improve my English pronunciation when I was in high school was because I wanted to sing North American or British songs in beautiful English at Karaoke.
It would be great if Smith’s School of English teachers could help Japanese singers, amateur or professional, sing English songs like those Jazz vocalists who sang at this festival.
Since I was 18 years old, I started getting interested in Jazz but all I could do was to listen to Jazz CDs. It must be very exciting to be able to synchronize with others through music.
Now that I am confident with my English pronunciation, I would like to improve both my piano and singing skills so that MAYBE one day I could be standing on that stage!
Chiharu, Smith’s School of English Ohtsu