The Japanese New Age movement – When we think of the New Age movement, the first thing that comes to mind is the songs of the Irish singer Enya and her typical soundtrack of stretching classes and Yoga of Academy.
Well, in fact, the mystical aura of his music must be the greatest exponent of a movement with origins in the late 60's that is based on a rising hippie scenario in which he associated the esotericism of his practices with the favorable musical climate for meditation and inner peace.
But, did you know that not only can the movement have exponents much further away than the Norse plains of Ireland, but it also maintains influences exerting its power to this day, and much closer than it seems?
We will take a look at the origins of the Japanese New Age movement, as well as its evolution and, finally, how it comes to us in a completely different cultural context.
Kitaro is perhaps the Japanese artist with the greatest worldwide projection, appearing among the biggest names in the style, such as Yanni or even Enya herself. A Grammy and Golden Globe winner, he was a pioneer of the style and a passion for synthesizers guided his career within the scene.
In his own way, Kitaro fled from western esotericism and began to incorporate elements of his own culture into his music. He also liked ostentatious presentations, with large sets and alongside symphony orchestras, in the fashion of many of the electronic music artists of that time, such as, for example, the Frenchman Jean Michel Jarre who transformed his shows into grandiose occasions worthy of opening games. olympics
His greatest achievement lies in the soundtrack of the documentary Silk Road, a grandiose work that took 17 years to complete and which chronicles the influence of trade routes on the culture of japanese civilization.
Masakazu Yoshizawa, like Kitaro, stood out in his career in two ways: first, in the use of typical Japanese instruments within the international New Age phenomenon (for example, the shakuhachi, shinobue, hichiriki bamboo flutes) and second, in the decisive participation in some soundtracks (the multi-instrumentalist has participated in Jurassic Park, Bruce Lee and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). He associated with many other important artists throughout his career, among them another prominent Japanese: Osamu Kitajima
Osamu Kitajima was another great multi-instrumentalist and producer who, thanks to the favorable scenario, ended up standing out worldwide. However, although Kitajima followed New Age music.
As we can see in his presentation Thru Cosmic Doors (the title, by the way, gives away the entire game), his music gradually evolves from a less meditative path, thanks perhaps to the expansion of his universe with producer Chris Mancinelli, from whom he ended up becoming a permanent partner.
At the beginning of his career, the musician lived in England, and under the influence of Psychedelic Rock by Syd Barrett, Donovan and the Beatles, he adopted the pseudonym Justin Heatcliff and recorded his own album of the style! The result? Excellent!