The M2duO, a duo of two Japanese women, who graduated from the Juilliard School as well as the Tokyo University of the Arts, is celebrating 20 years as New Yorkers this month at the Stone, John Zorn’s legendary East Village venue. Billed as a “Japanese tango duo,” they not only play tango, but also play oldies from their home country reinvented as tango pieces. This unlikely combination of Argentina and Japan might surprise many, however, the way those Japanese melodies fit in Argentine tango style is so natural that one wouldn’t realize they are not authentic tango tunes unless you are from Japan and know the original songs.
Violinist Machiko Ozawa and pianist Makia Matsumura moved to New York in the summer of 1997, and started to perform together around 2000 at the Café Mozart (closed in 2008) on the Upper West Side a few Sundays a month. During this engagement, they sought their own musical identity as a duo, spending hours at Juilliard’s library, where they first came across Astor Piazzolla’s scores. The fascination with his music was instant and mutual. They started to play his works extensively, which led them to the world of tango music.
The more they played tango, the more they felt personally close to the music – so much so that Matsumura eventually wrote the M2duO’s signature tune “Sakuratango,”an adaptation of Japanese traditional folk song Sakura Sakura (cherry blossom) in the style of pseudo-tango, which has since been performed by other musician in various countries.
Aside from their growing love for tango, they have each pursued their own unique paths: for Ozawa, it was “tap violin” (tap-dancing while performing the violin) and the new sounds with the electric violin; for Matsumura, it was silent film accompaniment (providing live, improvised piano score to the screening of classic silent films). Such individual musical adventures have added more depth, range, fun, and originality to their performance as a duo, making them truly a unique ensemble you hear today.
In this special evening, the M2duO will present their all-time favorites – Piazzolla, Japanese-oldies-turned-tango– as well as their originals with Ozawa on her electric violin.
Concert & Ticket Details
Monday, September 25, at 8:30PM, $20 cash only at the door
The Stone, Avenue C at 2nd Street