Cultural tribute keeps friends in tune

Australia’s partnership with Japan has been highlighted through music, in an unusual demonstration on Sydney Harbour.

CAPTION: Navy sailor Leading Seaman Musician Henry Liang and Navy Indigenous Cultural Performer, Able Seaman Aviation Support Lynton Robbins, play traditional instruments during the recording of a music clip for the Japanese International Fleet Review 2022, at Garden Island, Fleet Base East. Story by Commander Fenn Kemp. Photo by Leading Seaman Jarryd Capper.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Band released a special video clip featuring the popular Japanese folk song Umi (The Sea) blended with the Australian song Waltzing Matilda.

Australian Navy musicians performed on the ancient Japanese instrument, the shō, and didgeridoo.

The musical tribute has been timed to support the 2022 Japan International Fleet Week.

The multinational maritime event, involving navies from around the Pacific Rim and beyond, is running from October 29 to November 13 in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

The destroyer HMAS Hobart, Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta, Collins-class submarine HMAS Farncomb and auxiliary oiler replenishment ship HMAS Stalwart will represent the RAN at Japan’s 29th International Fleet Review.

Their crews will take part in numerous activities involving ship open days, military band concerts, parades and the Fleet Review itself, on November 6.

RAN Indigenous cultural performer Able Seaman Lynton Robbins played the digeridoo, accompanying Leading Seaman Henry Liang, playing the well-known Aussie and Japanese melodies on the shō.

The shō is an ancient wind instrument first used in the imperial court music of Japan (Gagaku) from about the 7th century.

It is made of 17 slender bamboo pipes, bundled together and mounted over a bowl usually made from resin, wood or copper.

“I have always been an admirer of Japanese culture,” Leading Seaman Liang said.

“The shō is such a beautiful instrument to play and I hope the Japanese people will find that I have done it justice.”

Able Seaman Robbins agreed the composition paid a unique tribute.

“I am honoured to be representing Indigenous Australian culture in this celebration of our nation’s heritage, culture and friendship,” Able Seaman Robbins said.

“The Australian Navy and people have so much in common with Japan. Understanding each other’s cultures can only lead to closer ties between our countries.”





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