..:: audio-music dot info ::..

Main Page    The Desert Island    Copyright Notice
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz


 B i o g r a p h y

Kitarō (born as Takahashi Masanori in February 4, 1953) is a Japanese recording artist, composer, record producer and arranger who is regarded as a pioneer of New Age music. He is the winner of a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award. Kitarō was born in Toyohashi, Aichi, Japan, and is a graduate of Sahid University. After graduating, Kitarō moved to Tokyo to experience and become a part of the music scene, and it was there that he discovered the synthesizer. His first synthesizer was analog, and he recalls having “just loved the analog sound that it made compared to today's digital sound”. His parents were first opposed to the idea of their son having a musical career. In an effort to maneuver him towards their vision, they made arrangements for him to take a job at a local company. In return, he left home without telling them. He supported himself by taking on several part-time jobs such as cooking and civil service work, while composing songs at night. In the early 1970s, he changed completely to keyboards. He joined the Japanese music group Far East Family Band which was formed in 1965, and toured with them around the world. While in Europe, he met the German electronica and former Tangerine Dream member Klaus Schulze. Schulze produced two albums for the band and gave Kitarō some tips for controlling synthesizers. In 1976, Kitarō left Far East Family Band and travelled through Asia (China, Laos, Thailand, India). Back in Japan, Kitarō started his solo career in 1977. The first two albums Ten Kai and Full Moon Story became cult favorites of fans of the nascent new-age movement. He performed his first symphonic concert at the 'Small Hall' of the Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Silk Road

The Silk Road: The Rise And Fall Of Civilizations is an NHK Tokushu documentary series that first aired on 7 April 1980, with sequels being broadcast over a 10-year period. It took a total of 17 years from conception to complete what many consider a landmark in Japan's broadcasting television history. The intention of the program was to reveal how ancient Japan was influenced by the Silk Road trade route. The documentary was narrated by Ishizaka Koji with music composed by Kitarō, who insisted that the show be broadcast in stereo. The music was composed mainly using a Minimoog, Minikorg 700 and Maxikorg DV800. The series of soundtracks sold millions and the success created from the program brought Kitarō international attention.


In 1984, Kitarō embarked on a "Live in Asia" tour. Notably, he was forced to cancel a leg in Singapore because he had long hair and at that time the country had a policy banning it. He entered into a worldwide distribution arrangement with Geffen Records in 1986. This included a re-releasing of six prior albums titled Astral Voyage, Full Moon Story, Millennia, India, Silver Cloud and Asia (each packaged with Japanesque obi strips) as well as a new album, aptly titled Towards the West. In 1987, he collaborated with Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead for the album The Light of the Spirit and in 1992 with Jon Anderson (Yes) for the album Dream. In 1988, his record sales soared to 10 million worldwide following a successful US tour. He was nominated three times for Grammy Award during his tenure at Geffen Records. His soundtrack for the movie Heaven & Earth won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. In 1989, he wrote the Japanese theme for the film Return from the River Kwai. Kitarō produced an album Scenes released by Shrapnel Records with former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. Kitarō has also worked with Hong Kong Cantopop singer Anita Mui on the song "Years Flowing Like Water". When asked about his music, he said, "I never had education in music, I just learned to trust my ears and my feelings." He credits ‘powers beyond himself’ for his music, saying, "This music is not from my mind. It is from heaven, going through my body and out my fingers through composing. Sometimes I wonder. I never practice. I don't read or write music, but my fingers move. I wonder, 'Whose song is this?' I write my songs, but they are not my songs."


Domo Records

Since his 1994 debut for Domo Records, the Grammy-nominated Mandala, Kitarō has released twelve studio albums. Among them, the live An Enchanted Evening (1995), Gaia-Onbashira (1998), and Ancient (2001) were all Grammy nominated. In 1999, Thinking of You won the Grammy for Best New Age Album. In total, Kitarō's albums with Domo Records have received 15 Grammy nominations.

Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai series

Kitarō’s music has long been recognized for its messages of peace and spirituality. In the wake of 9/11, the artist began recording Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai, a series of peace-themed albums inspired by the Shikoku Henro Pilgrimage, the travel of Kūkai more than 1100 years ago. The four volumes in the album series were released in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2011, respectively. The event of September 11 occurred while he was en route from Japan to Los Angeles. Kitarō's flight was diverted to Honolulu for five days, during which time the conceptual endeavor, which he envisioned as an artistic means to help unify people globally, first took shape. Every track on the 4 volumes of Sacred Journey Of Ku-Kai contains samples from ancient Japanese temple bells (Peace Bells) from 88 sacred temples on the island of Shikoku, Japan.

Impressions of the West Lake

In 2007, Kitarō composed the music for Impression West Lake, a large-scale opera, directed by the renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou. The opera reflects Hangzhou city’s history and culture through music and dance. Using modern technology, the stage is 75 centimeters below the lake’s surface during the day so as not to affect the landscape and boating activities. In the evening, the stage is a few centimeters below the lake’s surface so actors can walk and perform freely over a surprising water mirror that compose with the lights and colors. The one-hour event had its opening night in March 2007. In 2009, Domo Records released the original soundtrack album Impressions of the West Lake which was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Touring and other activities

In 2007 to 2009 he launched the ‘Love and Peace World Tour,’ an international tour with which Kitarō hoped to inspire his message of world peace with his music. Kitarō toured Southeast Asia in 2007, Greece in 2008 and Hong Kong, Japan, Southeast Asia in 2009. During his visit to Greece, Kitarō met Greek musician and composer Vangelis, and exchanged musical experience and creative ideas. In 2010, Kitarō performed in Singapore in March, in Mexico for the Zacatecas Cultural Festival in April, in Xi'an, China for the opening event of Daming Palace National Heritage Park in September, in Aichi, Japan for the Thousand Drums Event at COP10 for the Convention on Biological Diversity in October. From March to April, 2011, Kitarō toured Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. He donated part of the CD sales and concert profits to Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami Relief. While Kitarō has been touring, Domo Records released Kitarō's compilation Album, soundtracks to Toyo's Camera and 442 - Live With Honor, Die With Dignity, as well as the Grammy nominated Sacred Journey Of Ku-Kai, Volume 4.

From around 1983 to 1990, he was married to Yuki, the daughter of yakuza boss Kazuo Taoka. They have a son. In the mid-1990s, Kitarō married Keiko Matsubara, a musician who played on several of his albums. Along with Keiko's son, the couple lived in Ward, Colorado on a 180 acre (72.85 hectare) spread and composed in his 2500 square foot (230 m²) home studio "Mochi House" (it is large enough to hold a 70 piece orchestra). About 2007 they relocated to Sebastopol, California.

Kitarō composed music for NHK's Silk Road documentary series from 1980 to 1985. The initial 12 episodes were one hour in length, broadcast once a month in 1980. In 1981, the episodes were shortened to 30 minutes in length and broadcast every other week for the following four years.

Official site: www.domomusicgroup.com

 A l b u m s

Ten Kai / Astral Trip (Domo Records, 1978)
Daichi  / Full Moon Story (Geffen Records, 1979)
KI (Domo Records, 1979)
Oasis (Domo Records, 1979)
Silk Road Vol. 1 (Domo Records, 1980)
Silk Road Vol. 2 (Domo Records, 1980)
Silk Road Vol. 3 / Tun Huang (Domo Records, 1981)
Tun Huang / Silk Road III (Domo Records, 1981)
Millennia (Geffen Records, 1982)
Silk Road Vol. 4 / Tenjiku / India (Grffen Records, 1983)
In Person Digital (Domo Records, 1983)
India (Geffen Records, 1983)
Silver Cloud (Geffen Records, 1983)
Towards the West (Domo Records, 1985)
Tenku (Domo Records, 1986)
The Light of the Spirit (Domo Records, 1987)
Kojiki (Domo Records, 1990)
Dream (Domo Records, 1992)
Lady of Dreams (Geffen Records, 1992)
Heaven & Earth / Ten to Chi (Domo Records, 1993)
Mandala (Domo Records, 1994)
Cirque Ingenieux (Domo Records, 1997)
Gaia-Onbashira (Domo Records, 1998)
Noah's Ark (Westwood Records, 1998)
Shikoku 88 Kasho / Shikoku 88 Temples (Domo Records, 1999)
Thinking of You (Domo Records, 1999)
Ancient (Domo Records, 2001)
Healing Forest / Best Of (Sound Design, 2001)
Asian Cafe / Ashu Chakan / Best of (Sony/Columbia 2002)
An Ancient Journey (Domo Records, 2002)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 1 (Domo Records, 2003)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 2 (Domo Records, 2005)
Spiritual Garden (Domo Records, 2006)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 3 (Domo Records, 2007)
Impressions of the West Lake (Domo Records, 2009)
Sacred Journey of Ku-Kai Vol. 4 (Domo Records, 2010)
Final Call (Domo Records, 2013)