One of the places I’d always enjoyed visiting in Second Life – although I admit it’s been getting on for 4 years since I was last there – is the paired regions of Chouchou, Chouchou V. These form the in-world base for the musical pairing of Japanese pianist arabesque Choche and vocalist Juliet Heberle, together also known and Chouchou. Over the years they gained a strong following in-world and have produced a number of CDs of their musical and original compositions, with samples and tracks showcased through their YouTube channel.
I first blogged about Chouchou – the region – far back in 2012, and it is both surprising and gratifying as to how little has changed over the years. The ground level setting, with its sand banks, shallow waters and teleport ladder rising into the sky remains always as it was, offering a haven of peace presided over by the duet’s music (do have the music stream enabled when visiting).
The teleport ladder provides access to two areas in the sky (both of which can also be reached via direct teleport as weell – SLurls at the end of this article): Islamey and Memento Mori (a third area, Babel, sadly seems to have sadly disappeared at some point in the past).
Islamey offers something of a traditional Japanese garden look, with teahouse built over water and walks under cherry blossoms, all sitting beneath a bright blue sky. This was once the venue for concerts – but to be honest, I’m not sure if this is still the case. But even if not, as I noted far back in 2012, it is a place of quiet contemplation where you can come when you want to give free passage to thoughts and ideas, or when you simply want to find peace and let Chouchou’s music soothe you gently.
Memento Mori is a place that used to draw me a lot because it is a magnificent build styled after the great medieval cathedrals, and that simply must be seen to be appreciated. It may appear to be a startlingly bright environment when first arriving, but it is well worth leaving the default windlight set while climbing the stairs from the arrival point up into the cathedral’s great nave; the way the jet black piano is revealed through the surrounding light is almost transcendental in feeling and perfectly suited to the setting.
The intricacy of this build – a joint work dating from 2010 by Juliet collaborating with Miya Grut and with the support of Yuki Aabye for some to the sculpt work – is completely mind-blowing: From the sheer size of the cathedral, through the curling stairways leading to the upper passages, the great bell suspended over the piano as it sits within the space below the great tower to the ghostly pews between the nave and the two outer aisles, the beauty here tends to leave the visitor in awe. It is genuinely a place that has to be visited and seen, rather than written about and photographed.
I was actually drawn back to Chouchou for two reasons. Firstly, to witness Memento Mori once more, simply because it has been so long since my last visit. Secondly, and, more particularly, because reader Silvana Silk e-mailed me with a link to a recent video on Chouchou’s YouTube channel announcing a new set of concerts by arabesque Choche.
A noted and respected classical pianist going by the name of Michal Horák in the physical world, he will – for the first time – be giving a series of concerts in Japan under both his physical world name and his Second Life avatar name. As the notice with the video states:
Up until now, arabesque has been working not only as a composer and a pianist of Chouchou, but also as a classical pianist under his real name Michal Horák. And this fall, for the first time the two names will be combined together. He will have the first piano concert under two names with this title “Michal Horák/arabesque Choche Piano Concert.” The concerts will be held in Tokyo, Osaka and Kagoshima, and Chouchou’s new and second piano album “piano02 opus” expected to be released on December, 2018 will be on presale at the concert venues.
Tickets for the concerts are on sale, and there are links in the video description (in Japanese) to the concert venues – I only with I was in a position to attend one of them. As I’m not, and to mark the occasion in my own small way, I’ve put together a video of Memento Mori. I hope you’ll enjoy it and use it as a reason to visit / return to Chouchou.
SLurl Details and Links
- Chouchou landing point (Chouchou, rated: Moderate)
- Memento Mori
- Chouchou on YouTube
- Michal Horák/arabesque Choche Piano Concert trailer