A diplomatic jam with Hiroku Kokubu
Renowned Japanese jazz pianist Hiroko Kokubo, Evelyn Singson

A diplomatic jam with Hiroku Kokubu

PERSONAL CHOICE - Frannie Jacinto (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2018 - 12:00am

Music’s universality was proven once again during the mini concert of acclaimed Japanese jazz pianist Hiroko Kokubu at the Forbes Park residence of Ambassador Koji Haneda and his charming wife Ihoko.  

Grace and Patty Ang with Ihoko Haneda

As this was a relaxed affair with minimal protocol, the guests were soon ushered to an adjoining hall that featured a grand piano with a large golden silk screen that served as a backdrop. The balikbayan diplomat — he was posted here in the mid-1980s — proudly wore a barong Tagalog that emphasized his trim figure as he introduced his guest who is not only a celebrated jazz pianist, but CNN-Japan’s anchorwoman and a radio DJ: “Last March, Hiroko together with her trio gave two exciting concerts to full-house audiences at the BGC Arts Center. She liked the Philippines so much that she has returned for a vacation, this time visiting the beaches in Cebu.”

Ambassador Koji Haneda, RJ Jacinto, Anna Sobrepena, Mikey Cojuangco

Quickly putting us at ease with her friendly banter and charisma, Hiroko easily shifted from classical to pop music without missing a beat. Upon realizing that Filipinos are huge Beatles fans, she acceded to numerous requests to perform the famed quartet’s songs while the crowd  joined in a sing-a-long with gusto. Towards the end of the mini concert, RJ Jacinto was cajoled to sing and jam with the celebrated jazz pianist who has recorded over a dozen albums that have been released in Japan, Canada and the US.

Rita Dy, Carol Sy, Lizette Cojuangco

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For comments and ideas, please email jacinto.fa@gmail.com.

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