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Tsunami disaster remembered in song

A JAPANESE choir last night chose a dramatic musical masterpiece to remember the catastrophe that visited their country a year ago.

The Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Choir performed Handel's 'Messiah' in Dublin last night on the anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 16,000 people and unleashed the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The all-female choir's recital in St Patrick's Cathedral was just one of many memorial services, prayers and moments of silence that took place around the world to mark the tragedy.

Although the concert was free, the audience was invited to make a contribution to the ongoing massive relief effort.

A magnitude 9.0 earthquake caused a 23-metre wall of water to rise up and ravage everything in its path.

One of the singers, Noriko Takemoto, who works at Tohoku University, remembers how the earthquake struck just before the tsunami.

"There were three students killed at the university and three or four buildings destroyed," she said. "There were books falling from the shelves and hitting our heads, and then it got cold and we had snow.

"But I didn't know about the water until the next day because the power had gone off and we didn't see any television."

The choir was accompanied by Japanese soprano Eri Nakamura and bass Yasunori Okumura along with Irish-based musicians, organist David Leigh and singers Ben Barnes and Ciaran Kelly.

Silence, prayers and sorrow

Irish Independent