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Music a common language

JAPANESE ENTERTAINMENT: The Cherry Ensemble performs at Crowley Village in Ballina.
JAPANESE ENTERTAINMENT: The Cherry Ensemble performs at Crowley Village in Ballina. DOUG EATON

THERE was no doubt that music can cross language barriers at Crowley Village in Ballina last week.

While the residents of the aged-care facility were not likely to understand the words a Japanese choir was singing, they still tapped their feet and clapped along.

The visit by the singers was organised by Ballina's Taz McLaren, who is the chairperson of the Japan Centre committee at Southern Cross University in Lismore.

Friends of Mrs McLaren's, Masaki Kakino, a councillor from Miyako Machi, and his wife, professional singer Naoko Kakino, have been to Australia before.

This time around, they brought with them the Cherry Ensemble made up of seven singers, a pianist and three koko players - a koko is a traditional musical instrument.

Also included in the group was an owner of an aged-care facility who was keen to visit an Australian nursing home.

The group sang traditional Japanese songs to the Crowley residents as well as Western songs, but in Japanese. Mrs Kakino sang Madame Butterfly to the gathering.

And the koko players performed John Lennon's Imagine.

Also on their itinerary was a cruise on the Richmond Princess and a meeting with Ballina's mayor, Cr David Wright.

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