Today is the 80th birthday of a person who has had a tremendous influence in the marimba world: Keiko Abe.
It is not the purpose of this article to detail her career, achievements or insist on the tremendous importance of her figure (everything already well known), but to wish her a very happy birthday on this very significant date and to remember the fantastic days of music making I shared with her almost fourteen years ago.
During my time in London, there was a specially hard week, as we had to prepare many works to play for her which would be recorded live. I prepared solo works by Japanese composers (Tanaka, Miyoshi, Abe...), and a chamber ensemble prepared "Conversation in the Forest III" and "Marimba Concertino The Wave", both by her.
|"Conversation in the Forest III". Rehearsals at the Duke´s Hall|
Obviously, we were spected to play at our best whic, together with Keiko´s never ending stamina, made for a very hard and demanding week.
|After the concert|
From that fantastic experience, apart from unforgettable memories, I keep a CD of that recital, a very precious possession of mine that I still play from time to time.
I also played some solo works for her. I got extremely surprised when, having finished with Tanaka´s "Two Movements", she asked me to start all over again... She joined me improvising a second part the one already written. I will remember that duo for ever.
Should you want to listen to a small fragment of that recital, you can do so on my website: MULTIMEDIA, audio tab. The second track on the player is the final part of "The Wave".
A very nice person, full with boundless energy, extremely polite and a rare musical talent. Happy 80th birthday, Ms. Abe.
…et in Arcadia ego.
© David Valdés