Monday, August 11, 2008

Sara-Sansa Festival '08

From August 1st to the 4th, Morioka has it's Sansa Festival. Sansa is a type of traditional dance here in Iwate. There are many different dance troupes that perform during this time. Companies and neighborhoods put together troupes of dancers, drummers, and flutists. They parade down the main street of Morioka in their summer kimonos (yukata). Children and adults take part in the parade. Many families perform together. I saw some of my students participating as dancers for their neighborhood troupe. It's a very festive parade. Everyone dances, even the drummers and flutists. They also have an announcer who announces each troupe, and when the troupe gets to the finish line she announces "Thank you for your wonderful performance."
I have put together a brief movie with the original sound so you can hear the music. The dancers are chanting something like "Sakkora Choiwa yasse!" I'm guessing that this is from their local dialect, or something much older or a mixture of local and old Emishi. (The Emishi were the natives of Tohoku) I have heard that there are about 20,000 performers and around 5,000 drums. In the video you will also see performers wearing large flowers on their heads or a straw hat. Those are the traditional Sansa costumes.

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