Tuesday, February 16, 2010

pon poko pon

Tonight was my first rehearsal with the La Crosse Chamber Chorale. As many of my readers may not know, I used to sing in choirs quite a bit. In fact, my life pretty much revolved around choir and ultimate frisbee in college, in addition to my studies, of course. Anyway, it has taken many years, but I have found my way back to the music.

The concert we're rehearsing for is going to have a little bit of everything. The main peice is Bach's "Jesu, meine Freude." But we'll also be singing a Japanese folk song arranged for Westerners.

In theory, I have nothing against this sort of thing, but when I had the music in my hands, I had to laugh. The song is "Shojoji no tanuki bayashi," a little ditty about tanuki (raccoon-like animals) beating their bellies like drums and dancing at Shojiji Temple. It was written in the 1920s in response to a local legend surrounding Shojiji Temple in Kisarazu City, Chiba Prefecture.

The lyrics are approximately:
"In the temple garden on a moonlit night, all our friends, come out! Don't lose to the priests!"
"The hagi flowers are blooming in the moonlit night, and everyone is merry."
And then there's lots of pon poko pon, which represents the tanuki beating their tummies and the priests beating their drums in competition.

Here's a sing-along version for kids I found on youtube:

I really hope we get a dancing tanuki to join us for the concert.

1 comment:

wood said...

I once had a tanooki as my effbook profile picture.