09 Aug, 2010

August 9 


Posted at 11:05 under ART, MOVIES, JAPAN

yesterday i watched Akira Kurosawa's movie RHAPSODY IN AUGUST. actually, it was a coincidence (??) that the story is about survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (which was 65 years ago Today), remembering, reminding, understanding and generational gaps.

some critics claimed that it ignored the atrocities of japan before the bombing, and just focused on a japanese family, some even saying that Kurosawa had made an anti-american movie. actually, the old woman in the movie, who lost her husband 45 years earlier, because the bomb, she says several times that she is not bitter or angry at the usa, she blames the war itself, not a specific nation. and i believe that the fact that the story tells of a family, gives authenticity to the movie, as they were not involved in any war-crimes themselves. this movie is about a family, not about the history of wars in asia.

however, we see the movie from her grandchildren's perspective, which gives the movie some kind of distance, despite the strong theme. Kurosawa was one of the best directors of all times, but this is unfortunately not one of his best movies. one reviewer whose name slipped my mind, called it a "sketch".

but it's a strong movie, with the old lady struggling with her own memories and her uncaring children as she takes care of her grandchildren who are staying with her as their parents have gone to Hawaii to visit a rich relative, played by Richard Gere. He does a good job speaking japanese. when american actors speak japanese it sounds usually very fluffy and childish, but i think he does a good job.

sorry, but i couldn't find a subtitled trailer:




i'm glad to know that Gere is also a buddhist and a true humanitarian soul. he was probably very happy to work with Akira Kurosawa, in a story about forgiving and learning from the past, in this movie that was one of Kurosawa's last.

today my thoughts are with the survivors and relatives after the Nagasaki bombing in 1945.

=)





06 Aug, 2010

August 6 


Posted at 12:28 under THOUGHTS, JAPAN


today, AUGUST 6, it's 65 years ago since the devastating bomb over HIROSHIMA. i read in the swedish daily news (www.dn.se) that today was the first time that usa, great britain and france sent representants to the memorial ceremony in hiroshima.

65 years without sending representants? i thought you won the war. perhaps some respect for the hundreds of thousands of victims would have been appropiate before.

however, it was about time.

today, the world has the total capacity of 150,000 atomic bombs. every year, billions of dollars, euro, pounds, or whatever the currency, are put to produce weapons, mines, bombs, etc etc etc.

but why?

because it's part of the economy.
because it's good business.
because we make money from the sales.
because we only care about ourselves.
because we think with our wallets and not with our hearts.


maybe i'm naive, but what's the problem? why can't we respect eachother? why can't we help eachother? people die every second because they have no food. and we put our money into weapons.

there's a serious intelligence meltdown. i'm waiting for the PEACE & LOVE revolution.

HIROSHIMA PEACE SITE:
pcf.city.hiroshima.jp


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


but august 6 is also a day with positive connotations,
because it's my girlfriend's birthday!

H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y , min lskling ! ! !



i hope some bird will sing for you in my place.

=)





03 Aug, 2010

New songs..... 


Posted at 22:38 under MUSIC, MUSICAL, THOUGHTS


as i've got plenty of new songs written, i will post something here during the next few weeks. it's all just early pre-production samples, but it will give you an idea of the sound.

i'm currently working on two projects - my fourth album with 9 or 10 songs, and the musical, which will include more than 25 songs. the musical songs are not finished, but my aim is to finish them during this year.

so, for the curious, what about the sound, what about the style of music?

my next album is influenced by 70's soul, and most songs are very melody-based, with easily recognizable chorus parts. i've tried some of them live, and many people really loved them.

as for the musical, the style is not at all influenced by bossa nova. there is some strong world music influences, and as musical songs should be they are focusing on the lyrics and melodies. the style is a little different from song to song, because each song is expressing certain feelings or action in the story, but some people will call them 'pop songs'.

i don't know. i'm just the composer, don't ask me to put the labels ;)

of the music from all the musicals i have heard, it strikes me that the songs themselves, which should be the main part, are often very weak. therefore i have been putting a lot of effort in writing the melodies.

so, yes, it's two years since i recorded C'EST LA VIE. but i have been writing more than 30 new songs during this 'silence'.

and if you ask me, it's 30 of the best songs i have ever made! more than ever before, i have had the feeling that i am just a collector of the songs; i tune in to the right frequency and listen. then, i try to put them down on paper. most of the time, each song can take weeks to get right.

and then, one day, with a feeling of complete satisfaction, i can sit back and smile. then, very often, a small tear of thankfulness also brims in my eye as my heart is overwhelmed by the emotion of hearing a new song which i can barely understand myself how it came to life.

i never understood inspiration. it's something out of this world.

=)





01 Aug, 2010

Blog update 


Posted at 14:43 under ART, OTHERS


i've just updated my blog, with a new look, and a partly re-organized structure.

in the menu on the right you can see CATEGORIES, now also including MOVIES, OTHERS and a special category for everything regarding my japan experiences and visits, obviously called JAPAN.

i have also re-organized ALL posts (from the start of this blog) so they are easier to find, as some posts never had a category at all. that's fixed now. only some small posts are still un-categorized, so only the really curious person can find them =)

i hope you like the new black and green "bamboo" look. as always, let me know what you think.

=)





30 Jul, 2010

Tokyo radio: J-Wave 


Posted at 23:43 under MUSIC, JAPAN


yesterday i had a wonderful surprise.

a friend in Tokyo heard my song "Passion" on her favourite radio station, J-WAVE, and told me about it in an email. it was a coincidence, as she was just home for a short time on her day off, and during that short time they played my song. i was very happy!

here comes the funny part - the host and DJ of the show, Rachel, also sent me an email, inviting me to join her show next time i come to japan!

=)

i performed 3 songs live at J-WAVE in 2007. it was the first time i was in Japan - the second day, after four hours of sleep after 2 evening gigs the night before, and enjoying my life's first jetlag, i did my first japanese radio performance.

with the view from the radio studio in Roppongi overlooking all of Tokyo that lovely sunny november day, it is a memory for life.

i'm very glad to be able to visit J-WAVE again. "Rendez-vous" is a daily program, monday to thursday at 81.3 FM hosted by Rachel Chan. maybe you can hear it online if you're not in japan. i enter their website sometimes and listen to their podcasts. it's good practice for my japanese, and of course they play lots of good music!

next time, maybe i'll even be able to answer some questions in japanese =)


J-WAVE 81.3 FM:
j-wave.co.jp

Rachel Chan's blog:
ameblo.jp/rachelchan

Rendez-Vous @ J-WAVE:
j-wave.co.jp/original/rendezvous


J-WAVE - "the best music on the planet".

i'm thankful to be heard under that slogan!

=)





14 Jul, 2010

Crane 


Posted at 23:09 under MUSIC


the Tokyo paper crane reached the Swedish summer skies.....


photo taken about 22:30, the skies are still not dark....



this is the music of today, japanese singer/songwriter YUICHI OHATA:



=)





14 Jul, 2010

Concert photos 


Posted at 21:42 under MUSIC, JAPAN


i've just received lovely photos from my gig with YOSHINARI NAKAMATSU at Daikanyama Loop in Tokyo (June 13th).

there's a live recording from this gig, which will be broadcast on a japanese internet radio channel sometime in August. i'll make another post with updates.

all photos by Sunao Honda.

honto ni, awesome photographer, ne!?




before....



me and yoshi during the gig....



with the band....



jun.



ruy.



shinya.
















=)





12 Jul, 2010

Dallven 


Posted at 02:05 under OTHERS


this weeked i visited my aunt's family and my grandmother, and we spent a lovely saturday at my aunt's cabin in the "river" of Dallven, about one hour north of stockholm.

i post some photos here to share the spectacular scenery.



almost 30 degrees warm in the air, i sat down to rest, but fell asleep after 5 minutes.



the sun began to set in the distance.



as there is no electricty on the island, we went back to land when the sun set and the mosquitoes arrived. we returned in the same way as we got there - by boat.



steering a boat for the first time in his life - my nephew Anthon did a great job!



actually we took an extra cruise to try to spot some beavers, but we didn't have any luck.

but there were LOTS of mosquitoes. i got about 30 bites in 2 days...



self-portrait.



here you clearly see the currents in the water in front of the boat.



peaceful



.....



coming back to land, the boat made a beautiful turn in the water, perfecting this last photo.


=)





05 Jul, 2010

Last thoughts on Japan, for this time 


Posted at 21:00 under MUSIC, MUSICAL, JAPAN




so...

i'm back in sweden after a hectic last week in kobe, kyoto, osaka, himeji and tokyo (all at once!), and for once i could actually sleep on the plane. I actually fell asleep before the plane had left japanese ground!




but the skies were crying when i left ;)



the 27th's live performance with TAISUKE TSUGIMATSU was really wonderful, BAR MUSIC was sold out and the atmosphere was great. many people said they thought the night was magic or miraculous, and i think that especially the 4 songs i performed together with Taisuke went really great.

we did my song passion, TAISUKE's song natsu no numa, HIROMI UEHARA's song green tea farm (taisuke played lovely piano and i performed my first song ever in Japanese!) and BOB MARLEY's waiting in vain:

youtube.com/watch?v=mu7b3PuM30w
youtube.com/watch?v=BMrpGg1aJ2g
youtube.com/watch?v=YiQ6CU7QqVM
youtube.com/watch?v=YroJlgsWMxU

taisuke-kun yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


my last 2 days in tokyo was great, but as always time goes too fast. monday evening i experienced a private HANABI (fireworks) session in a park in naka-meguro with Taisuke, Hiroko and Toru. later i went to shibuya to have a last drink with Masa and Gen, drummer and guitarist from FROG. i went back to gakugei daigaku at midnight and when i got there my clothes were SOAKING WET. i guess it was the most humid and hot day so far in tokyo - around 31-32 degrees and a humidity that stuck your clothes like glue to your body.


taisuke and me preparing the miniature fireworks...
i love the fact that "hana" means Flower and "bi" Fire.

i've had several life-altering experiences this my fourth time in japan. i've initiated several collaborations with musicians in tokyo and really think something great will come out of it all.


last week i also met japanese NIHONGA artist MASAKO KUROKAWA, and after a tempura lunch with her and her husband, novelist HIROYUKI KUROKAWA, we went back to their house where i could see many of Masako's lovely paintings of maikos and japanese young women, sketches and drawings. the reason i wanted to meet her was to see if she can make the artwork for my coming MUSICAL album, for which i am now composing the songs. i really think we can have a good collaboration.

masakuro.exblog.jp



while still in tokyo i was lucky to find a NOH theatre workshop in english, which gave a brief but really perfect introduction to the art of Noh, so i could better understand the performance i had long planned to see. both tokyo and kyoto have Noh theatres, but i chose the tokyo one. NOH is really a wonderful artform, like all japanese traditional arts it's refined to perfection. the expression of the masks which seem to change depending on the angle of the actors head. i want to include some small, scenic elements of Noh in my musical, so i will try not to break any rules hahaha




one of the most peaceful places i have experienced in japan, together with the temple at MOUNT SHOSHA, was KOKO-EN - the japanese gardens next to HIMEJI CASTLE. the incredibly beuatiful, big parks really washed away all stress and worries from my city soul.





i have really improved my japanese during my stay. some of my friends barely speak no english, so it leaves no other choice than to understand eachother in japanese. i have been introduced to new japanese music, and often listen to music in japanese now.

since my first visit in japan, in 2007, i really felt at home with everything, and maybe i am destined to live in japan. the last month, many threads have crossed as if to bring me back as soon as possible. many people say that my music is very well suited for a japanese audience, and i always get a wonderful welcome by the audience wherever i perform.



from the live performance at Roman Records Cafe.



and the (vietnamese?) lunch close to Gakugei Daigaku station. of course, without meat ;)



me and three members of FROG - Reiji, Gen and Masa.



Toyono, me, and Yoichi Okabe, at Praca Onze.



at NARITA airport (tokyo) i found this funny sign outside the gate:



To "samurai" - no sword allowed into aircraft.

To business person of the world - sharp objects are prohibited on board except for your sharp brains.


=)


new doors have opened and i may return to tokyo already this autumn. i was really sad to go back to sweden.


passing through stockholm...


this weekend i went to a wedding party outside of lmhult (south sweden), a wonderful party, and i'm happy for Anna and Anders and wish you a continued happy life together!

when i went to bed at 3:30 in the morning, the sun was about to rise over the lake. a very peaceful scenery.




the day after, i was completely exhausted and fell asleep on the beach. when i woke up, i had company by some tired ducks. they were quite friendly though.




after all, sweden is SO BEAUTIFUL in the summer. just check these blue and yellow fields i photographed yesterday.



it's time for relaxation and "recharging" of batteries.

=)





02 Jul, 2010

Youtube clips 


Posted at 10:12 under MUSIC, JAPAN


i'm back in sweden, but will update my state of mind in a few days, i just want to post these youtube clips from last sunday's gig with Taisuke Tsugimatsu and me. for just having rehearsed all songs twice, i think we did a helluva job, and many in the audience called it "magic" or "miraculous". both taisuke and me want to do more gigs and collaborations together, so we'll see when that can be.

here are the clips:


NATSU NO NUMA - taisuke's amazingly beautiful song, i join him for some lines (in japanese).





GREEN TEA FARM - hiromi ueharas lovely song, i sing it completely in japanese. the first time for me, but i think i did pretty well, according to the audience's reaction hahaha....





PASSION - my "japan hit", here in a special "Bar Music" (name of the venue) version, including Fujii Toshimitsu on percussion.





WAITING IN VAIN - bob marley's song, that i never liked until i heard Taisuke's piano version that he has also recorded on the album "Long Conte" (it makes me angry that many japanese albums are never available for digital sales in the west!!!!). here i sing and Taisuke plays the piano part, and Fujii plays "congas" on a wooden chair =) - taisuke's piano part is very beautiful.




and until next time i will have time to learn the lyrics hahaha


=)






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