Grammy winner Kitaro to serenade Delhi with fusion music

March 21st, 2009 - 3:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) The capital will be treated to a fusion of traditional Japanese music, pop-inflected Western idioms and electronic wizardry as Grammy and Golden Globe winner Kitaro brings his Love and Peace World Tour 2009 to India.
One of the world’s leading new-age musicians and composers, Kitaro plays 17 instruments, including the sitar, tambura, sarangi and tabla. He won a Golden Globe for his music in Oliver Stone’s 1993 film “Heaven on Earth” and bagged a Grammy for his new-age music album “Thinking of You” in 2000.

The US-based musician of Japanese origin last visited Delhi nearly 17 years ago. He came here from Bhutan, performed at two live concerts and then toured other places in the country.

“While returning, I bought a sitar, sarangi and tambura and carried them home. I learnt to play the three instruments by watching Indian musicians perform,” Kitaro told IANS.

The 56-year-old musician will perform at the Ashok Hotel here Sunday and Monday. The concert will open with a 30-minute solo gig by sitar-funk artist Niladri Kumar, who plays the sitar with guitar strings, followed by an hour of performance by the maestro himself.

Kitaro, born Masanori Takahashi, is inspired by the sounds of nature and three different schools of far eastern theosophy - Buddhism, Shintoism and Zen.

“Religion and spirituality are at the heart of my music. I follow three religions- Buddhism, Shintoism and Zen,” said the musician, raised in rural central Japan in a Buddhist-Shintoist agricultural clan.

One of his major ongoing projects is the “Sacred Journey of the Ku-Kai”, a series of albums with peace as the theme.

“It was inspired by the 9/11 New York attacks. I went on a pilgrimage to 88 Buddhist shrines on Japan’s Shikoku Island, a journey undertaken by one of most popular Buddhist monks Ku-Kai, and tried to retrace his legacy through music,” he said.

The album, in three volumes, combines the chimes of peace bells from the ancient Japanese shrines with Kirato’s music. Two of the volumes received Grammy nominations for the best new-age albums.

Kitaro is also working on a project with his friend Mickey Hart of the band The Grateful Dead.

“I am collaborating with Mickey Hart minus The Grateful Dead on an instrumental album. Mickey is on the drums and I am playing the keyboards. We have finished recording around 12 tracks but since both of us are busy this year, we will release the album next year,” Kitaro told IANS.

He added that he has never had any formal training in music.

“When I was in high school, my classmates introduced me to music. We formed Western style rhythm and blues band Albatross, playing American black music and rock ‘n’ roll. I began with the guitar and then switched to keyboards,” the musician said.

Kitaro was inspired by the R&B music of Otis Redding and a 70s psychedelic band Vanilla Fudge. “My first reaction was, ‘It is so good!’. I then taught myself to play the guitar.”

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