Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/910378

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Page 25 of 35

26 wholelifetimes.com music CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS K itaro is a cosmic force. The prolifi c musician is enjoying a U.S. tour, with a recent stop at Los Angeles' Immanuel Presbyterian Church. His latest album, Ku-Kai Volume 5, showcases Kitaro's music and visuals and underscores a long-held fascination with astronomy and space. "When I was a kid, I started being interested in all the plan- ets. I went to a Planetarium in Japan many times," he stated. The Japanese-American key- boardist and percussionist col- laborated with Kyoto University's Astronomy Department and a professor there. "After he lis- tened to my music every day, he called me and asked if we could work together. Then we started working on the visuals and mu- sic, matching each story to the nebula stars." The musician and academic also worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Kitaro's Ku-Kai musical journey series started after Sept.11th. Traveling from Japan to the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001, when Kitaro's plane landed in Honolulu, soldiers came on board with M-16 rifl es. "We had to evacuate the plane. I had a friend who worked at the World Trade Center in New York City who passed away, so I was think- ing about doing something to honor his memory." This experience led Kitaro to create a process of record- ing and sampling bells from temples in Shikoku. He captured the sound of 88 bells. Each Ku-Kai volume features these bell sounds. "I still have 39 bells to go! That means another four albums," he noted. A former Los Angeles resident, Kitaro now calls Northern California home. In 1999, he won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, Thinking of You, and so far has racked up 16 nominations. He composed the fi lm score for Heaven and Earth directed by Oliver Stone, and landed a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score. Kitaro's repertoire spans electronica, world music, folk music, classical music, and the new age genre. Decades ago, the Grammy-winning entrepreneur formed his own production concert company. In 1976, he left the Japanese progressive rock group Far East Family Band with whom he had toured the world. In 2007, he composed the music for a large- scale opera West Lake, directed by famous Chinese fi lm direc- tor Zhang Yimou. In 2009, Kitaro's Domo Records released the original soundtrack album titled Impressions of the West Lake which drew the 2010 nomination for Best New Age Album at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Kitaro has played electronic keyboards for more than 40 years. He likens himself to a collection full of history, "I am a kind of museum person now that I'm getting old," he kidded. The versatile musician was born Masanori Takahashi in Toyohashi. Kitaro was married from 1983 to 1990 to Yuki Ta- oka, and together they had a son. After moving to the United States, Kitaro married musician Keiko Matsubara, and they, with Keiko's son, lived in Ward, CO. Their 180-acre ranch included a 2500-square-foot home studio large enough to hold a 70-piece orchestra. Kitaro and his family then moved to California's North Bay in 2007. According to Kitaro, now age 55, "Many people talk about the mythology in my work, but my point of view is it is more about dramatic love stories I created with music." His performances feature a butoh dance with a backdrop of taiko drummers and a painted screen showing the mask of Noh. The versatile performer's live music and fi lm production is called Kojiki and the Universe Tour. Kitaro's vision for his concerts are "stories waiting to be told." "Everything is related, conveying emotional or spiritual mes- sages and a feeling of how big the planet is," he said. Thus, the fi rst song on Volume 1 is about the Big Bang. Logically pro- gressing from the Big Bang Theory, "The second song relates to the creation of many different parts of the universe, even the Human element," he said. The third composition is Love Sto- ries and the Love Theme. "Each song has a love theme people can feel. As in space, you can use your imagination." Positive energy and harmonious music emanate from Kitaro's unique works. The music evokes a spiritual resonance, simplici- ty of message, with a sense of Zen. Visit www.domomusicgroup.com for more information about Kitaro and other artists on his label. By Gordon Durich The Vision of Award-Winning Musician Kitaro STORIES WAITING TO BE TOLD Photo: Domo Music

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