..:: audio-music dot info ::..
|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.
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."
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,
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|