the crying light

antony and the johnsons the crying light.jpgThe latest cd release by Antony & the Johnsons has been dedicated to the legendary butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno. An extraordinary portrait of the artist, chosen by Antony Hegarty, features on the cover of The Crying Light.  Kazuo Ohno was born in Hokkaido in 1906 & he danced until 2000.  He was the founder of butoh, a Japanese dance form concerned with surreal metamorphoses (whom Hegarty refers to as "kind of like my art parent"). After his 90th birthday, Kazuo Ohno was still active as a butoh dancer. His last overseas performance was Requiem for the 20th Century which was held in New York in December 1999. But in the same year he had eye trouble & his physical strength gradually deteriorated. Yet Kazuo Ohno continued dancing as if he was nourished by his age. When he could not walk by himself, he danced with the support of others. When he could not stand even with support, he danced seated. When his legs didn't move as he wanted them to, he danced with his hands. When he lost himself, he crawled on his knees & audiences were moved by watching his back. The butoh dance tradition is continued by Kazuo Ohno's son Yoshito Ohno. Antony Hegarty is not only an accomplished singer/songwriter but also visual artist, & this maybe explains his beautiful & unconventional choices for the aesthetics of all of his releases. Peter Hujar's photograph Candy Darling on his death bed, 1974 was used for the cover of Antony & the Johnsons' second album, I Am a Bird Now (2005).

September 2009

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