Monday, November 11, 2013

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Playing the Piano

Last week we took in another concert in the "big city" of Sapporo; we had the luck to get tickets to see Ryuichi Sakamoto.  Not sure if many outside of Japan will know his name, but he is a bonafide international music star in his own right.  He has worked alongside many international artists, though probably for the casual music listener the one chance you may know him from is a movie he did with David Bowie entitled "Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence".

Here's the movie trailer if you wanted to jog your memory:

Not only did Sakamoto act alongside Bowie, but he also did the main soundtrack for the film and the title track is probably his most famous piece.  There's an instrumental version and also a version released as a single with lyrics sung by David Sylvian (another famous singer who most people should know, but don't!) entitled Forbidden Colours.

The music video may be dated and the acting in the movie itself a bit stilted, the piece ranks up there as one of my favourites.

The concert itself was good, but I think the first 15 minutes may have caught some listeners by surprised as Sakamoto spent the time banging his piano with mallets and various other things making noises that you usually wouldn't make with a piano.  Although I am open to mostly anything, have to admit it was too "artsy" for my liking; thankfully he spent the remainder of the concert playing more traditional pieces in a traditional way!  Anyways, it was good to see another concert and to see an artist who I have been listening to for some time.

As an aside, Sakamoto is probably one of the more vocal and famous Japanese celebrities who is part of the anti-nuclear movement here.  He has frequently attended rallies and spoke at them.  This month TEPCO, the company who is in charge of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, is scheduled to start removing used nuclear fuel which is located in the used fuel pool at Number 4 - here's hoping it goes off without a hitch.  It has been garnering a lot of international attention, even from famous Japanese-Canadian David Suzuki has rang in:
For those who know me, you already know some of my stance on the issue.  I won't go into it right now.  I am surprised that my work peers have yet to mentioned anything about the nuclear issue - I guess life goes on.  Here's hoping it does!!!!

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