Release | nobu Kawashima
Participate in traditional Ainu dance experience, where you can sing and dance with Ainu costumes!
Why don’t you try to sing and dance an Ainu song with Ainu costumes? You can participate in traditional Ainu dance experience casually at Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum in Asahikawa!
First, wear Ainu costumes and get in the mood!
One day in winter, Hokkaido Likers editors team visited Kawamura Kaneto Ainu Museum in Asahikawa. This is a facility to transmit and introduce Ainu culture through the exhibitions of living tools, costumes, and ceremonial materials.
▲There are numerous Ainu costumes displayed in the showcase.
In here, you do not only see the exhibitions but also experience the Ainu culture with various programs. From numbers of programs, we tried the traditional Ainu dance experience for women.
First, we tried on the Ainu costumes. Costume rental is free, so we recommend to try it on! Don’t get embarrassed! After changing your clothes, we first practiced how to sing the song.
▲Appearance is important, too. We tried on the Ainu costumes to get in the mood.
Practice how to sing in the Ainu language, it is so much fun to troll!
The song we practiced is “kamuy nupur upopo” in the Ainu language. It is translated to “the god mountain song”. The song is about God playing with small golden fish on the clouds appeared on the mountain.
▲First, Kawamura sang for us to perform how the song is like.
Kawamura had a beautiful voice!
In fact, Kawamura is a staff of the museum but at the same time a member of “MAREWREW”, the women vocalist group who aims to transmit traditional Ainu song “upopo”. She is a professional musician who performs in and outside of Japan and releases albums. This is a very precious opportunity to learn a song from a professional!
▲Kawamura gives a lecture with the lyrics card written in Japanese characters.
After singing few times, we tried trolling. The Ainu pronunciation may be not correct, but we could learn the lyrics and rhythm smoothly and were able to troll. This made singing so much fun!
▲Trolling is so much fun when it succeeds!
After we had learned how to sing, we moved to the stage.
Experienced traditional Ainu dance!
“Ainu people start to dance by saying ‘Upopo Anro’”
Kawamura told us when we stood on the stage.
In Ainu, “upopo” means sing and dance, “an” is us, “ro” is together. When it is translated, it means “let’s sing and dance with us”.
▲We got a short lecture of the moves and copied the dance.
However, the stage was intended to be used in summer, so they did not have heating facilities. Visiting in winter was a bit cold… Outside was below zero degrees, so we had to stand the coldness and practice dancing. Of course, you can enjoy without temperature problems in other seasons and the room where we got the singing lecture has heating facilities.
▲Unique moves confused us at first, but Kawamura taught us well so we could learn fast.
We only spent few minutes for this lesson, but the actual experience takes longer time so that visitors can dance thoroughly.
▲Because she was not used to the moves or was too cold, her face looked unhappy at first, but she could start smiling as she got used to!
The lesson was about 40 minute total with the song and dance. It seems very short but learning the song and dance were easier than we had expected. It made us feel like we wanted to do more.
The traditional Ainu dance experience with Ainu costumes. Why don’t you be a part of Ainu world? Let’s sing and dance together!
Photo, text / Hokkaido Likers photo writer nobu Kawashima
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