Traditional Japanese Folk Music on Any Instrument
Mike Penny

Come and learn traditional Japanese folk melodies from award-winning American Tsugaru shamisen player Mike Penny! In this workshop, Mike will teach popular Japanese folk melodies from different regions of Japan, and will discuss common Japanese scales and ornamentation as well as the compelling and often tragic historical events which inspired these pieces of music. Any and all instrumentalists welcome as these melodies can be adapted to any instrument. Beginner-friendly!

Trained in Japan and America, Mike is the second non-Japanese Tsugaru shamisen (three-stringed fretless Japanese lute) player ever to have placed in the annual national Tsugaru shamisen tournament held in Aomori, Japan. There he received third prize for his performance in the 2006 tournament. He has toured extensively throughout the US and Japan in various musical projects, and in 2006 won Global Rhythm Magazine's songwriting contest with a bluegrass-tinged shamisen tune titled Cruzian Grass. Mike will also be performing in the festival as part of the accordion/shamisen duo Shamalamacord. Mike can be contacted for lessons and performances at: