Message from Tsuruga Wakasanojo
President, Shinnai Association
(from the printed program, Shinnai Association Godokenshu Concert, November 17, 2022)
Shinnai as Su’joururi (Classical Shinnai)
Shinnai is primarily a su’joururi (classical shinnai) performance. Although, recently, some works have been created that involve a collaboration of shinnai with traditional Japanese dance and other performing arts, most shinnai concerts are still based on the classical shinnai style. The performers, dressed formally in kimono, kneel on a high platform and, while looking straight ahead, perform with a calm demeanor.
It is the simplicity of su’joururi performances that enables the audience to understand the story. For that reason, both the melody and the words (in shinnai, the words are not referred to as lyrics or lines) must be enunciated clearly and articulately (the word “singing” is not used in reference to the musical parts of joururi). Shinnai classical works include many expressions that are difficult to understand, so it is especially important for the performers to make an effort to convey the content clearly. If the audience cannot understand the words, the story will not interest them, and they will be bored.
Contemporary shinnai should be attractive and enjoyable. It is vital that the audience understands the stories. This is where the training and hard work of current performers come into play. We hope that this style will gain new fans for shinnai.
Together with other shinnai enthusiasts, I will continue to promote the development and improvement of shinnai.
Thank you very much for taking time from your busy schedule to come to today’s concert.