Street organs are a traditional instrument of Europe that have their history in the eighteenth century as tiny hand-cranked table organs designed to teach song birds to sing melodies. These bird organs were called “serinettes” in French and contained all the basic elements of the modern street organ: bellows, pipes, and a way of making the pipes sound at the right time – in this case a barrel with pins. Turning the barrel made the pins hit keys that opened valves to let air go to the pipes.
But the street organ coming to WMDF has a unique extra feature. It was made last year by Motoki Tanime, a Japanese craftsman living in Hakodate. This organ not only plays music, it can also tell stories by displaying pictures. So, it is an example of an automated “Kamishibai”: the Japanese tradition of a storyteller entertaining people by talking about a series of illustrations. Please enjoy this mix of traditional culture, with the producer and organ grinder Asa Kino, who comes from Yokohama and other artists including Marin Mizoroke (Tokyo), Izuru Kogame and Syo Onishi (Hakodate) and Shoko Kato (Nanae). Costume Designers: Yui Asami, Masako Yokoi.