Asian Press Kit Bio
Toyama was born in Okinawa, Japan and raised in childhood in Okinawa and later years in Hawaii.
Throughout its history, the Ryukyu Kingdom of Islands (of which Okinawa is a part of) had influences from the cultures of countries that would trade with it. This includes Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Phillipines, and other Southeast Asian countries. However, even with the influx of foreign influences, Okinawans still developed languages, music and cultural traditions that are distinctly their own.
From his childhood in Okinawa, Japan, Toyama received kempo martial arts training from his Okinawan father. He later studied and practiced the Chinese martial arts of kung fu and taichi.
His Japanese mother took her son to traditional Okinawan music and dance performances. She taught him Okinawan and Japanese folk songs and exposed him to Okinawan and Japanese cultural music programs on radio and television.
She also brought her son to her flower arranging lessons where he observed her doing ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. He would go to the Okinawa city of Naha with her to select and buy flowers. Upon returning home he would watch how his mother would, with care and focus, trim and place flowers within the space of the display.
From traditional Japanese music performances, he developed an interest in shakuhachi (Japanese vertical bamboo flute) and taiko Japanese drumming. Toyama later studied shakuhachi with Kyoto master Kurahashi Yoshio and taiko with Ishikura Takemasa. Toyama also plays Okinawan taiko.
Today, Toyama's Asian music experiences includes performing on vibraphone, taiko (drum), and shakuhachi with Japanese taiko master Takemasa Ishikura; on vibraphone with koto master Tamiko Asai, and in a live USA to Japan tele-conference on vibraphone with shakuhachi master Seizan Sakata.
Toyama's musical art form continues to be influenced by his Asian cultural heritage.
Asian Tunes Info.
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Here are the 3 tunes that I would like Pat Metheny to hear for his upcoming Asian themed jazz album.
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Water Mountains Music Publishing
Songs will play in the following order automatically.
1. Spiraling Flower by Tom Toyama
Spiraling Flower is about the martial arts spirit, it origination in China, and the Taoist and Buddhist monks that brought martial arts from China to Okinawa in the 7th century.
features Tom Toyama on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute)
marimba, small Chinese percussion, taiko (Japanese drums)
& vocal sounds
2. Mieko's Dream by Tom Toyama/Juan Zambrano
Mieko's dream is about the immigrant mother's dreams of living a normal life in a new land, raising their family of children and retaining their Japanese identity & cultural heritage and respecting and appreciating the trials and tribulations of their parents and grandparents to make a better life for their children and grandchildren. This is tune is dedicated to my mother Mieko Toyama and her mother Mrs. Mente.
features Tom Toyama on vibes
3. Okinawa Hula by Tom Toyama
Okinawa Hula is about the migration of Okinawan and Japanese people to Hawaii in the early 1900s. This tune depicts the immigrants' new life in the islands of Hawaii, farming huge sugar cane plantations, hearing the beat of Hawaiian hula, and missing their families back home.
All rights reserved. Copyrights Tom Toyama/Water Mountains Music Publishing