First of all, I would like to pay my respects once again to Mr. Kazuhira Takeshita who passed away on January 25 this year. (See my previous article, “Total Solar Eclipse and Independence 1 )
I wrote about my encounter with Mr. Takeshita’s CDs in the previous article, but to give you a quick overview,
Central music store (Site only in Japanese)is a CD/musical instrument store, a record store, and a studio on the second floor,
which is ideal for music lovers. It was established in 1953 and is probably the oldest independent label in Japan, or even Asia.
In the last article I wrote about Amami in 2006, I came across Mr. Takeshita’s CD “Amami Folk Songs: The Masterpieces of Kazuhira Takeshita.
For some reason, the jacket reminded me of my paternal grandfather, so I bought it without listening to it.
After returning home from that shocking experience in Amami, I was sorting through the various things I had acquired, including Tanaka Isson’s art books, when I casually played the CD in my studio… I was stunned by how beautiful the music was!
And when the intro to the 17th song came on, I cried like a baby. The next thing I know, I’m setting up my equipment, playing the song incessantly, adding synths, beats, and bass, and in about an hour, I created this music.
That weekend, after DJing for 8 hours a night by myself at a club in Roppongi (probably Colors?), I played the unfinished “YoisuraBushi” as an encore for the first time in the early morning. Then my friends came up to the booth and asked, “Where is this music from, Africa?”
Anyway, the party ended with a surprisingly positive response, and I went straight to a studio in Higashi-Azabu that my friend and producer JEBSKI owned at the time, where he let me stay to finish the piece.
I woke up in the evening, went to the Azabu Juban Onsen, which was still in business at the time, took a quick bath, and was walking through the newly built Roppongi Hills (I was feeling sentimental because one of the band members’ parents lived in a public housing complex before it was built) when I heard the sound of a shamisen (a three-stringed Japanese instrument) coming from nowhere.
Guided by the sound, I arrived at the Amami Fair and Product Festival. Taking advantage of this strange connection, I asked the oldest-looking person there, “Do you know a man named Kazuhira Takeshita?” He replied, “Oh, yes, I do. I’ll call him now. Oh, Mr. Takeshita? There’s someone in Tokyo who wants to talk to you, so I’ll pass. Go ahead.” He suddenly handed me a cell phone!
I hesitated a little at the sudden turn of events and told him.
“It’s nice to talk to you. I was born in Tokyo and now I live in Fukuoka. I visited Amami on business the other day and bought Mr. Takeshita’s CD at Central Instruments, and was so moved by the Yoisura verse that I decided to add my own sound to it…”
“I’m in Kakuse (Hyogo Prefecture), so please come and visit me,” he said.
The coincidence was that I was having a monthly party at a club called Sound Channel in Osaka, so I could use that opportunity to meet him in two weeks! So we decided to meet there.
Feeling an obvious series of miracles, I visited his shamisen class in the early afternoon, almost without sleep, after the party in Osaka on Saturday.
I saw Mr. Takeshita, an old man with naturally more gray hair than on the CD jacket, and he said to the students there (in their 50s and 60s) in a brash voice, “Well, this is my friend Mr. Miyawaki from Tokyo. Come and sit over here!” I was suddenly made to sit close to him.
From there, I was able to watch their practice for about two hours. Although his voice on the CD was not as beautiful as it was in the 60’s, perhaps in his 20’s, it was still more than enough to impress me.
And of course, I got to hear Yoisura bushi live!
Then, during the practice of “Rokucho,” which is always played at the end of Amami folk songs, he suddenly asked me, “Mr. Miyawaki, can you play the drum for me?” Even though I had never played Amami folk songs or any kind of drum before, he gave me a drum and drumsticks. I was taught just the basic rhythm pattern, “Do it like this,” and suddenly I was in charge of the rhythm unit for the practice performance of the group there.
But did I have some musical background? It was a surprisingly lively event, and after it was over, some women, especially the older ones, came up to me and said, “I feel like hitting it too!” It became like a post-party situation.
Then, Mr. Takeshita invited me to have dinner with him, and we went to a diner with him, his daughter (who is about 10 years older than me?), and his friend. The four of us went to a family restaurant. As soon as we arrived at the restaurant, he asked if I could have some shochu with us. Anyway, it was chic.
He was always higher and faster than me.
He drove me to the station, and at the end of the ride, I told him that I would like him to listen to the Yoisura bushi that I had modified, and that I would bring it to him next month. I told him so and we said goodbye.
I didn’t expect to see him so soon, with no time to imagine.
Life is so magical.
From that point on, I went to Kuise every month, bought a shamisen, and studied with Mr. Takeshita for almost a year.
When I was a child, my grandmother used to play shamisen and hanafuda (Japanese playing cards) with my sisters every night at home, so the sound of the so-called female shamisen was my basic background music at home.
I didn’t know until I grew up that my grandmother was not related to me by blood, but she was still very kind to me.
Perhaps because of this experience, the connection between us is more important to me than the connection between us by blood.
Anyway, from Mr. Takeshita, I feel a connection that goes beyond being a stranger. He passed away this year, but I feel that he is still close to me even after his death.
In July 2007, with the permission of Mr. Takeshita and Central music shop, and after paying the license fee, the CD album was released under the double name of CISCO and CROSSPOINT, which was the forefront of independent record stores at the time.
Incidentally, in 2007, I also visited Mr. Takeshita’s hometown, Kakaroma Island, by myself.
The following photo taken there was used for the label design of the 7-inch record that was released in 2008.
At this time, I had no idea where I was going, so I just wandered over to Kakeroma Island and hung out on the beach…
A guy who looked like a hippie uncle with a long beard and hair approached me and I decided to stay at his pension.
He gave me dinner, made me drink, and asked me to play bass, guitar, and drums on the stage that he had built. But I’ve never played Stand By Me or any other common music, so they were quite disappointed.
I learned that it’s better not to carelessly say that I’m a musician lol
By the way, I heard that UA, who has relatives in Kakaroma, and EYE from Boredoms also came there. What a small world.
The August dance of Amami was wonderful that year as well.
In June 2008, the following 7-inch record was also released.
After that, it was licensed to several compilations, including overseas ones, and became a work that caused a strange spiral.
The past, the present, and the future intersect.
I deeply believe that it is a truly mysterious phenomenon.
And then Amami in 2008.
As I get used to the unique climate of Amami, I like it more and more.
It is a beautiful island without any commercialization or resorting.
The solar eclipse of next year, 2009, is finally upon us.
What is going to happen?
What is waiting for us there?
＜To be continued＞
Born in Tokyo, he started playing in bands and DJing at the same time when he was 15. As a DJ, his innovative and original style has taken the world by storm, and his activities have quickly expanded from huge festivals to underground parties both in Japan and abroad. In 2003, he went on a recording tour with local musicians in Cuba. In 2003, he went on a recording tour with local musicians in Cuba, and since then he has been recording all over the world, and started his own label, Crosspoint, as a new guideline for world music.
In addition to music production, he also produces video works, picture books and art books, and organized the outdoor festival “Jomon and Rebirth” in 2012. In 2017, he released HIGHTIME Inc. with DJ Tasaka, and in 2018, he released ZERO with MACKA-CHIN of NitroMicrophoneUnderground and MaL of PART2 STYLE. In 2018, he also started the unit ZEN RYDAZ with MACKA-CHIN of NitroMicrophoneUnderground and MaL of PART2STYLE.
In the same year, his music under the name of J.A.K.A.M. was released in analog form on the French label HardFist, which led to a live performance at the huge 30,000-person Nuits Sonores Festival, followed by a DJ tour of Europe and Israel. In 2019, the production of MYSTICS, a unit with Marcus Henriksson and Kuniyuki of the internationally popular Minilogue/Son Kite, began, and this year, 2021, the long-awaited album will be released. His original vision is spreading all over the world, crossing all genres.
He has been behind the decks at home and abroad with:
Acid Arab (FR) / Adam Ffreeland (UK) / Alex Patterson (The Orb, UK) Andy Baz (Background Records, Germany) / Asaf Sammuel (islael) / Dego (4Hero, UK) / Fabio (UK) / Francois K (NY) / Fred P(NY) / Foolish Felix (UK) / Grooverider (UK) / I.G.Culture (People, UK) / Jeff Mills (Chicago) / Joe Claussell (NY) Nick the Record (UK) / Moodyman (Detroit) / Panasea (Germany) PHOTEK (UK) / Storm(MetalHeadz, UK) / Suv (Fullcycle, UK) / Q-Bert & Inbisibl Skratch Piklz, Mix Master Mike with D-Styles, Yogafrog and Shortcut (US) / Theo Parrish(Detroit) / Terre Thaemlitz (US/JPN) / Tom Wieland (Vienna) /DJ KRUSH (JP) / Flying Lotus(US)/ / Boredoms (JP) / FAUST (Germany) / Dennis Bovell(UK) / Dillinger Escape Plan (NY) / Juno Reacter (UK) /Lee Perry (Jamaica) / LKJ (UK) / Lake Trout (US) / Mad Proffesor (UK) / Mala (UK) / Marcus Henriksson(SW) / Meat Beat Manifesto (UK) / Merzbow , MMW (US)/ Yakaza Ensemble(Turkey) etc. His style keeps evolving and defies categorization.