OtO Asobi

Friday 13 September 2013
Film screening: Sound to Music
+ Talk/Q&A
Doors: 7pm Film: 7:30pm-9pm
Guest speakers: Otomo Yoshihide, Rii Numata, Mariko Hara, Hiromichi Hosoma & more
Tickets: £5 adv, £6 on door

Saturday 14 September 2013
Otoasobi Project Live concert
Doors: 8pm Concert: 8:30pm-10pm
Tickets: £8 adv, £10 on door
Guest artist: Eddie Prévost

Sunday 15 September 2013
Otoasobi Project Live concert
Doors: 8pm Concert: 8:30pm-10pm
Tickets: £8 adv, £10 on door
Guest artist: Seymour Wright

Three day passes are available for £16.


During Otomo Yoshihide’s first residency at Cafe Oto back in 2009 we asked him what projects he would like to bring here in the future. He immediately stared talking about a group of adults and children with learning difficulties he had been playing with for years. The conclusion of that conversation was it would be amazing but to fly that many people, most of whom had never left Japan before, all the way to the UK for a show seemed beyond the realms of possibility. 

The name of that group was Otoasobi and over four years later here they are!  When Otomo gets this excited about a project you know it must be something very special and this promises to be an extraordinary three days.

The three days at Cafe OTO will include a screening of the documentary film Sound to Music and a Q&A with Otomo Yoshihide Rii Numata, Mariko Hara and more plus two days of concerts performances including Otomo Yoshihide and UK musicians Eddie Prévost and Seymour Wright.

The Otoasobi Project is a group of musicians, music therapists, individuals with learning disabilities and their families who started music-making workshops in 2005 at Kobe University in order to explore new musical expression. Since then these new musical expressions, which are created through regular workshops, have taken the form of free improvisation, balloon baseball, sumo matches, graphic notation, rap music, and original-language songs at more than 30 concerts many of which have featured musicians who have played at Cafe OTO in the past including Tenniscoats, Tetsuya Umeda and Maher Shalal Hash Baz.

OtO Asobi
Photo by Ujin Matsuo


The group consists of 16 people with learning disabilities (include autism, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome) and their families and about 20 artists from various fields and music therapists. The participants ages range from 8 to 42. They collaborate freely with artists including free improvisers, pop musicians, butoh dancers, installation artists and more. Over 50 guest artists have been involved so far to create new performances. Parents of the people with learning disabilities are also important members who make their own music using cardboard boxes, kitchen utensils, rope with bells or hoovers.

The Otoasobi Project has held more than 30 concerts and public workshops. At the first concert ␣Oto-no-shiro␣ (Castle of Sound), various spaces of an old western house are used to perform improvised ensembles. At the second concert Oto-no-Umi␣ (Ocean of Sound), 27 ensembles performed in a hall located on an artificial island in Kobe. The music making process was documented by young film director and released as documental cinema in 2010. From the live recordings of these concerts, a CD was released and was used as a soundtrack for the movie ␣German + Rain␣. The group still continuing making new style of performance such as "rock-papers-scissors" performance, "air ensemble with no sounds" or multi-conducted ensemble.

The performances have been accepted from various points of view. A photo was published in "Invitation to Community Music Therapy", a "dance" review was written for Kyoto Art Center Newsletter, and several magazines such as "Brut", "Educational Music", "Eureka", and "Geijyutsu Shincho", (Art magazine of Shincho Publishing Co.,Ltd.) have reported the activities. Several theses were also written in the field of community music therapy, music education, art management, communication study, linguistics, and improvisation. Each of the group members has fairly different aim for example education, welfare, art and so on, and share a belief that every member has their own ways of evaluation. The creativity seems arise from those discrepancies.

Performers names: Numata Rii, Aoki Shiori, Udo Ayako, Udo Mariko, Kanazawa Risa, Kanazawa Eriko, Goto Yuta, Goto Rika, Sakaguchi Tomoki, Sakaguchi Masahiro, Tomisaka Yuri, Tomisaka Michiko, Hama Tsubasa, Hama Kazuhiro, Fujimoto Masaru, Fujimoto Kazuko, Miyazaki Momoka, Miyazaki Moko, Miyoshi Yuka, Miyoshi Sonoko, Mori Taisei, Mori Mayu, Yoshimi Masaharu, Yoshimi Kayoko, Iwashita Toru, Kamata Makiko, Otomo Yoshihide, Suzuki Masaru, Nakaoji Emiko, Hosoma Hiromichi, Mitsunaga Koreyuki, Morimoto Ali, Nakajima Kaori, Homma Tomoko, Ebisu Miki, Shimamura Ayane


Supported by the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Cultural Foundation , Japan Foundation and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.


The otoasobi project will also hold a workshop at Nordoff-Robbins on Sunday 15 September from 1pm-4pm.