“There are many wonderful aspects of music—it brings back memories, smell, touch—and in exchange we are continually renewed through it—in new modes of life, time, and atmosphere…”
-Track 6 (5:42)
Sōgetsu Kaikan in its current form was completed in the 52nd year of Showa or 1977—just two years before the founder of the Sōgetsu School of ikebana, Teshigahara Sōfu passed away; the building, which serves as the main headquarters, gallery and performance space for the School, rises opposite the vast green space which surrounds Tōgū Palace the official residence of the Crown Prince and so its glass facade reflects one of the few places where sky descends into the heart of Tokyo.
It is therefore tempting to pose this sold-out performance in Sōgetsu Hall—the 530 seat auditorium below Sōgetsu Kaikan—as consonant with the tenets of ikebana, that is, asymmetric balance of line, form, texture and—perhaps most essentially—empty space.
The performance celebrates 10 years since the release of her first album and so, although it is skewed somewhat towards her recent work, is a sort of retrospective wherein we can appreciate the breadth and consistency of her work which has always been marked by sincerity and a special unguardedness.
Aoba’s voice is especially celestial, the tone of her guitar especially warm; it is a cold January evening in the second year of Reiwa; in an auditorium below Tokyo a voice rises softly, singly, blooming in the dark air into an arrangement of almost alarming beauty which pierces the heart like wisterias in repose or the sky touching the earth.