Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Kansai St David's Day Festival

Hirono Chikako, festival organiser
On 23rd March this year, the Kansai St David's Society held their annual event celebrating Wales and Welsh culture in Osaka, Japan. I was lucky enough to be asked over as the event's special guest, after a recommendation/introduction from last year's guest, photographer Rhys Jones.

Normally, I am a comic poet who performs on the stand-up, burlesque, cabaret, and spoken word circuits. However, I have written a few serious things (some short plays, several poems) and I thought it would be more appropriate to write something more traditional/historical for this event, rather than the rude and ribald rhyming that I enjoy so much. Somehow, I didn't think my best ever rhyme, a coarse coupling of the words 'Venus' and 'penis' would go down very well here!

So, I decided to take some mythical Mabinogion tales and translate them into verse form. Of the six stories I chose, only two of these involved rhyme - the others were in blank verse form, although often I employed some vague, internal half-rhymes, assonance/alliteration, and other connecting devices. Line repetition/echo played a part sometimes, and was particularly helpful in plucking moral meaning from these sometimes quite surreal stories. 

The event, I am happy to say, was full-house, and other interesting elements and activities included a show of beautiful photographs by Hidetoshi Ochiai; Welsh cake-tasting; an exhibition of art and poems by Hayase Yamagishi; and a set of lovely Welsh songs from the Osaka Male Voice Choir. This included the Welsh national anthem, which you can see here:

All in all, then, this was a marvellous event, and a wonderful time was had by all. Some more pictures from the event can be seen on Facebook here. Thanks to all who came along, and to Chikako Hirono for putting the whole festival together. Diolwch!!

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