24 Dec 2014

2014 Christmas concert at Komorebi Hall in Obu-city

Duo Penguinistan successfully finished a Christmas concert at Komorebi hall in Obu-city Aichi, Japan. Komorebi hall is brand-new—it was opened only in last July, we feel privileged to be the first guitarist and melodica player there. The venue is formal, but still cozy and has a lovely acoustics for our small instruments. We are very grateful for the audience to be in the concert, the help of the truly great staff, and the director who gave us this great opportunity.


Part I
  1. Christmas Carol : We Wish a Merry Christmas
  2. Catalan Christmas Carol : 1. El Noy De La Mare 2. La Nit De Nadal 3. La Filadora
  3. Bela Bartok : Romanian Christmas Carols Series I
  4. John Frederick Coots & Haven Gillespie : Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  5. Robert Wells & Mel Tormé : The Christmas Song
  6. Vittorio Monti : Czardas
  7. Ryusuke Koarashi : Foreign Hill

Part II
  1. Bulgarian Folk Song : 1. Vido, Vido, Byala Vido 2. Dilmano Dilbero
  2. Christmas Carol : Silent Night
  3. J.S. Bach:Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  4. Irish Traditional : 1. Irish Medley (The Road to Lisdoonvarna, The Swallowtail Jig and The Swallowtail Reel) 2. Londonderry Air
  5. English Christmas Carol : The First Noel
  6. Ryusuke Koarashi : Çok Güzeller

  1. Yoshihide Otomo : The Opening Theme of Amachan
  2. Johnny Marks : Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Ayumi Toyama: Melodica
Ryusuke Koarashi: Guitar, Melodica

— 23th Dec, 2014

A Mini Concert at Aichi Children’s Health and Medical Center

We had a mini (Christmas) concert for children at Aichi Children’s Health and Medical Center. It was only 30min, but we did enjoy the nice, intimate atmosphere with them.
  1. Yoshihide Otomo : The Opening Theme of Amachan
  2. Irish Medley (The Road to Lisdoonvarna, The Swallowtail Jig and The Swallowtail Reel)
  3. (The Road to Lisdoonvarna, The Swallowtail Jig and The Swallowtail Reel)
  4. Christmas Carol : Silent Night
  5. Polish – Clarinet Polka
  6. English Christmas Carol : The First Noel
  7. Johnny Marks : Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Ayumi Toyama: Melodica
Ryusuke Koarashi: Guitar, Melodica

12 Dec 2014

Christmas Concert at a Primary School

Duo, with a wonderful vocalist & melodica player—Rika Legum, had a Christmas concert for kids and their parents at Parkfield Primary School. Thank you all for coming, we really enjoyed the performance.

  1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas — English Carol
  2. Jingle Bell — James Lord Pierpont
  3. Rondeau — Henry Pucell
  4. A Hymn from Jupiter — Gustav Holst
  5. Santa Baby — Joan Javits & Philip Springer
  6. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen — English Carol
  7. Silent Night — Franz Xaver Gruber

Rika Legum (Vocal, Melodica, Drum)
Ayumi Toyama (Melodica)
Ryusuke Koarashi (Guitar, Melodica)
— 11th Dec, 2014


23 Nov 2014

Announcement for Concert at Holy Trinity Church, 6th Dec

Duo Penguinistan is going to perform next week in London.

Ayumi Toyama (Melodica)
Ryusuke Koarashi (Guitar, Melodica)

The Programme will include:
Thomas Morley, Christmas Songs from Catalonia, Irish traditional pieces, and others.

Date: 6th Dec (Sat) 7pm
Venue: Holy Trinity Church, Church Lane, London N2 0TH
Admission: Free (Donation)

Free Drinks will be provided.

18 Oct 2014

Rain Dance by Ross Edwards, Played on Melodica

Rain Dance, composed by Ross Edwards in 1978, originally for two recorders. This short piece features Hemiolic rhythm—juxtaposition of 3/4 and 6/8, and uses pitch materials similar to a Japanese scale called Miyako-Bushi Onkai. For more information regarding the composer & the piece, please click here.

Ayumi Toyama & Ryusuke Koarashi: Melodica

12 Oct 2014

Carrying You, for Three Melodicas

Carrying You, theme song from a popular animation film ‘Castle in the Sky’, arranged for 3 Melodicas.

Composed by Joe Hisaishi
Arranged by Ryusuke Koarashi
Melodica perfomed by Ayumi Toyama

8 Oct 2014

Score: We Wish You a Merry Christmas, for 2 Melodicas & Guitar

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, arranged for 2 melodicas and guitar, became purchasable from here (English) or here (Japanese). For those who are looking for a novel repertoire of Christmas, this may be what you want. The arrangement was originally requested by our student, so technical difficulties were mostly avoided. The point for arranging was an interplay between instruments (especially two melodicas) with changing textures, avoiding just to repeat same material many times. So the theme is played differently each time. Melodica parts can be played alternatively by violin. The sample movie is available on youtube.

5 Oct 2014

Joe Hisaishi – The Merry Go Round of Life, for Three Melodicas

We have been running a club called ‘Melodica Club’ since January. The club is dedicated to enjoy melodica ensemble in multiple parts, and to find different capability of the instrument.

We have been working a lot on arranging and searching for new repertoire for this club, and gained considerable numbers ranging from Renaissance to contemporary. ‘Merry-Go-Round of Life’ is one of those repertoire of us, a theme from an animation film called ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, included by a member’s request in the club. Ryusuke arranged it for three parts, and Ayumi performed all the parts for this recording. We hope you will enjoy it.

5 Sept 2014

Bela Bartok – HÁROM CSÍK MEGYEI NÉPDAL (Melodica & Guitar)

Posted a video on youtube, a performance at Bath International Music Festival in 2013. This piece, Three Hungarian folk songs from Csik, by Bartok is included in the first album.

Melodica: Ayumi Toyama
Guitar: Ryusuke Koarashi

13 Jul 2014

Concert at East Finchley Methodist Church

East Finchley Methodist Church
Sunday, 13th July 2014, 19:30-21:30

  • Viola da Cunha: mezzo soprano
  • Yuki Osedo: piano
  • Ayumi Toyama: melodica
  • Ryusuke Koarashi: guitar

Programme (of us):
  • Scarlatti — Se Florindo e Fedele
  • Dowland — Come Again, Fine Knacks for Ladies
  • Stravinsky — Pastrale
  • Monnot — Hymne a’ L’amour
  • Monti — Czardas
  • Montsalvatge — Cuba Dentro de un Piano, Punto de Habanera

Great audiences.

11 Jul 2014


Dear people,

Please notice that we have recently changed our name from Pocket Penguin to Duo Penguinistan (or “Duo Penguinistanica”, with Latin suffix), and duo.penguinistan.com is the new URL of our website.


24 May 2014

Bath International Music Festival 2014

Date: 16th May (FRI)
Time: 19:40 – 20:10
Venue: Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street Bath, BA2 4DB

  • Veysel – Uzun İnce Bir Yoldayım
  • Koarashi – Çok Güzeller
  • Sakata – Oshin
  • Koarashi – Crippled Jig
  • Bach – BWV147
  • Koarashi – A Bird Flying Over Mountains
  • Bulgarian Folk – Kopanitsa

  • Ayumi Toyama: Melodica
  • Ryusuke Koarashi: Guitar

25 Mar 2014

Fragments of Dreams 11th April 2013

Fragments of Dreams 11th April 2013, composed by Ryusuke Koarashi

Melodica: Ayumi Toyama
Guitar: Ryusuke Koarashi

5 Mar 2014

Melodica Comparison, Before and After Repairing

Most of professional melodica players do adjust or repair their instrument for fulfilling their musical requirement, and so we do. Last November, we had repaired about 10 melodicas of students who bought newly for playing in ensemble. With two of those instruments, we made two videos of comparison before and after repairing to check how different they are.

Melodicas used in the video are products by Stagg, a Belgian manufacturer that produces musical instrument at a reasonable price, possibly the cheapest ones we can buy in the UK. The structure of the instrument is same to Hohner’s, so those have similar timbres. Two melodicas (Blue and Black) in the video have identical form, but the material of the reeds is different.

The example of the short piece is “OSHIN’s Theme“. Did you get the differences?

Here we had improved three points by repairing.

1. Response

When melodica needs too much blowing in for making a sound, we say the response is bad/slow. Most of the newly bought melodicas do not respond good usually, some keys need much effort to blow in, since the reeds are not adjusted appropriately. You can hear it in the video that some notes are very much delayed, sometimes even does not come out especially when playing soft sound or chords.

2. Reduction of key noise

There are some causes of making key noises, and some solutions to each of them. Here we mend only a noise which is caused by key touching the bottom. Sometimes we use the key noise for adding an attack to the sound but it depends on how much it is and how the quality is.

3. Reduction of spring noise

Keys of melodica put back in its place by small springs, but it is a cause of noise, do you hear a high, continuous sound like a reverb in the video? that is the spring noise.

These three points are very basic ones where the repair could be easily done for just 30 min to 1hour, but still may be very effective as you can see in the video. (We should adjust the pitch as well, but it takes much more time and cost, so this time did only for a few melodica students really wanted to do.)

25 Feb 2014

3rd Interfaith Festival in SOAS

Pocket Penguin performed in an event, 3rd Interfaith Festival, in SOAS. We performed Ryusuke’s new piece for two melodicas, rather surprisingly, that was the first attempt for us to play two melodicas in public. We really enjoyed playing it and the acoustics in the place.

Viola da Cunha (Mezzo Soprano)
Ryusuke Koarashi (Guitar, Melodica)
Ayumi Toyama (Melodica)

De Falla: 4 Spanish Popular Songs
Koarashi: Non-title (For 2 Melodicas)
Granados: El Majo Discreto, Amor y Odio
Rodrigo: De Los Alamos Vengo Madre
Folk Song: Sari Gelin
Gershwin: I Got A Rhythm, Summertime

24 Feb 2014

After the Concert, "Music for a while"

Date: 12th May (SUN) Time: 19:30~ Venue: East Finchley Methodist Church High Rd., London N2 8AJ (opp.Creighton Ave) Admission: Free Coll...