GORHAM- The Medallion Opera House will host Hiroya Tsukamoto in Concert on Monday, May 12 at 7 p.m. Admission: Adult-$10.00, Students $5.00. Hiroya is a one of a kind composer, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He began playing the five-string banjo when he was thirteen, and took up the guitar shortly after. In 1994, Hiroya entered The Osaka University and while at college in Japan, Hiroya was introduced to a musical and social movement in South America called Nueva Cancion headed by musical legends such as Victor Jara and Violeta Parra.
In 2000, Hiroya received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the United States. He is also the recipient of the Professional Music Achievement Award. Hiroya completed a debut album entitled "The Other Side of the World" with his band INTEROCEANICO, released in 2004. His composition entitled "El Otro Lado del Mundo" was nominated as the finalist of The USA Songwriting Competition 2004 and "Samba de Siempre" in 2005, also "Seventh Night" was the finalist of International Acoustic Music Award in 2006. Hiroya released his second album entitled "Confluencia" in 2006 and the third album "Where the River Shines" in 2008. Hiroya's recent album is "Heartland" which was released in August 2012 from 333discs. In October 2012, Hiroya performed live on Japan Public TV (NHK) on the program "El Mundo".
Hiroya has been performing concerts with his group including several appearances at Blue Note in New York and he performed with Esperanza Spalding, Marta Gomez, Kendrick Scott (The Crusaders), Pete Kennedy (The Kennedy's) and Dave Maxwell (Muddy Waters Band).
Trevor Lewis of the Rochester City Newspaper recently published a concert review: "All I knew about Hiroya Tsukamoto before seeing him play Fringe Fest at Bernunzio's Thursday was that he is from Japan, plays guitar, and he played Jazz Fest this year. Of course his appearance at Jazz Fest had to be during the only summer I've spent outside of Rochester, so I didn't get the chance to see him. His style can be described as a blend of folk, jazz, and world music, so I really didn't know what to expect (and if anyone knew what to expect from a description like that, pat yourself on the back). What I didn't expect, though, was to witness one of the best live guitar performances of my life. But that's exactly what happened.
Tsukamoto took the stage and he played an hour-long set with a "VH1 Storytellers-esque" kind of vibe. Before most songs he would take a moment to tell the tale of the song's origin, making the already intimate show seem that much more so. While he sang in his native tongue, in some cases he would read the translated lyrics for the crowd before he played the song, a gesture that was much appreciated. In terms of musicianship, Tsukamoto's guitar work was just ridiculous.
Right from the beginning of his first song, it was obvious that the folks in Bernunzio's were in for a treat. His brand of finger-style guitar is so intricate, and so blazingly fast at the same time, I kept imagining how many clones I would need to make of myself to accurately replicate his sound. There were times it sounded as if there were two or three guitars playing simultaneously. One song that drove that point home was his set opener, "From Coast to Coast", a song that had some of the fastest harmonic runs I've ever heard."
Hiroya's concert on Monday, May 12 is sponsored by Yokohama Restaurant in Gorham.