A great piece of news that is sure to please a good number of you: Plapla Pinky are playing at the Villette Sonique festival on Saturday 25th May at 7pm.…
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Jon is a young woman, who, disguised as a dog, plays the harmonium and shows off her canine voice in light, burlesque songs. For over 10 years, after a disc on the Tzadik New York label in 1996 and a few albums on the Oz Disc label, Jon (The Dog) continues to trundle her portable show across Tokyo. A sort of Dadaist cabaret that has changed little over the years, remaining definitive and immutable. The artiste dissimulates her timidity by means of dynamic improvisation and narrates her incredible tales.
Born in 1972, Shoko Uehara began singing at a very early age, by imitating the sounds from the television and writing her own songs about cats, at tea-time. Her parents persuaded her to study classical piano, which she did between the ages of 5 and 15. It was only by leaving the family home that she created the link between her musical training and her highly personal world, channeling her gift for improvisation into an abundance of compositions.
Only on rare occasions does life in Tokyo allow the luxury of a piano, so she bought a small and cheap harmonium with a breathless tone that she still uses today. For her first performances, appeared in pyjamas with a cow motif before, from 1997, making the logical step to a repertoire, the major theme of which is her dog, with Shoko wearing an enormous and all-encompassing wolf costume with long synthetic fur, turning herself into Jon (Inu) [The Dog].
Coming from the huge body of an animal whose hairy paws are always rickety, her childlike voice underlines the extreme finesses of the words, albeit delivered with a strange conviction. The recordings on radiocassette players contain all sorts of ambient crackles and noises that, at the start, were more or less identifiable and create an atmosphere that is both funny, frightening and nostalgic.
Jon (The Dog) gives concerts 4 times a month, on average, and has released 4 albums, most notably the one on the Tzadik label (John Zorn); when she is not playing in a raft of parallel projects, she runs a bar in the à Golden Gai (a district of Tokyo) or reads tarot to passers-by in the Shinjuku district.
© 2006 text: Franck Stofer, photo: Albane Laure