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Hidè Takemoto | Sky Flowers

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World: Japanese contemporary Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: Instrumental
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Sky Flowers

by Hidè Takemoto

Original compositions for classical guitar solo, duet, trio & piano. Delicate, sensible but exciting blend of classic, Japanese, Indian, Spanish, Rock to Heavy Metal is served by silky touch of the strings. Ultimate fusion of East meet West, and far East.
Genre: World: Japanese contemporary
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sunflowers of East (feat. Mitsuo Nagata & Yojiro Ohnishi)
5:52 $0.99
2. Para Amigos (feat. Mitsuo Nagata)
4:00 $0.99
3. Sky Pearl (feat. Ryosuke Hara)
5:54 $0.99
4. Geoff
6:17 $0.99
5. A Small Happiness
4:13 $0.99
6. Dear Mum,
4:26 $0.99
7. Guitar Concerto "Gion" I. Allegro (feat. Yumi Fujii)
9:34 $0.99
8. Guitar Concerto "Gion" II. Adagio (feat. Yumi Fujii)
10:05 $0.99
9. Guitar Concerto "Gion" III. Andante - Prestissimo (feat. Yumi Fujii)
5:00 $0.99
10. Stuart's Garden
5:16 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
SKY FLOWERS - Hidè Takemoto’s musical journey
The path to musical mastery is rarely a straight one.
Hidè learned this lesson early, painfully, when he stumbled into his first audition at Osaka College of Music. Aged 19 with barely a dozen guitar lessons under his belt he figured he was ready. Nerves jangling, he walked into the auditorium, bowed respectfully to the three examiners, took his seat, and started to tune up.
Then disaster struck. With a flat twang the E-string snapped, right at the bridge. Dismayed, Hidè began rummaging through his guitar case for a spare when a cold chill of realisation dawned.
“I’d never had to change a string before,” Hidè recalls, with a chuckle. “I didn’t know how to do it!”
“I still remember the terrible feeling as everybody looked at me like an idiot.”
Naturally, the rejection note was swift. But the experience wasn’t wasted, and when Hidè returned, calmer and more technically assured, the examiners could see a raw talent shining through. “I made sure this time I was fully prepared.” he says.
It was Osaka College where Hidè met his mentor, the classical guitar maestro Keigo Fujii.
Hidè remembers watching him transpose Albéniz’s ‘Leyenda’ in E minor to D minor, then G minor.  “My mouth was wide open. I couldn’t believe his skill and deep knowledge of music. Afterwards, I asked if I could have a private lesson with him and he has been my guru ever since.”
In 1999 Hidè bagged a scholarship to study in London at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. When he first arrived the vast array of musical talent on show was irresistible – and expensive for a Japanese student with no income.
“I’d never seen a real orchestra or an opera, so I spent most of my money going to concerts,” Hidè says. “I was eating the cheapest food - muesli with UHT milk three times a day.” Occasionally, he’d get a treat from a friend like sushi in exchange for an impromptu guitar gig.
Hidè didn’t start out as a classicist. Rock was more his thing. Those influences – particularly X Japan – can still be seen in his clothes and hairstyle, if not his sound. He can still churn out a Purple Haze or a heavy metal riff when he’s in the mood, but his interests now are far more eclectic.
His debutt CD - “Four Springs” - was a co-production with international shamisen player Hibiki Ichikawa blending Japanese folk traditions on top of classical guitar lyricism. He’s also gigged with Indian tabla players, rap artists, and other roots musicians from around the world.
“I used to be a good classical guitar player,” he explains. “But I’m really interested in blending modern styles like blues, jazz, rock, heavy metal with all kinds of traditional folk music from India, Japan, Spain, Brazil, England, Wales and so on.”
Musically, Hidè’s come a long way from the nervous teenager who couldn’t change a string. But he wouldn’t change a thing.
“Now I am lucky enough to be a working musician, doing what I always wanted to do since I was 15,” he concludes with a smile.

This collection presents Hidè’s most recent music, all written by himself and covering genres from baroque to rock with folk influences.

Ahead of the release of Sky Flowers, Hidè’s mentor and guitar maestro Keigo Fujii sent a heartfelt message.

“I met Takemoto when he was almost a beginner in 1995 at the entrance exam where he had an epic failure, but then he was accepted at Guildhall School just three years later. He is the quickest learner I’ve ever met.

“With classical training and foundation, his knowledge and love for rock and many other genres of music always give me a pleasant surprise.

“It’s my absolute pleasure to listen to his compositions and performances on disc.”


Sky Flowers track list

1. Sunflowers of the East
A homage to maestro Keigo Fujii, who taught me everything from scratch. I composed this piece by quoting some themes from maestro Fujii’s compositions with a touch of rock guitar flavour.

2. Para Amigos
When I got married in 2005, my Spanish friends – brother and sister Javi and Elena – offered to play something for our wedding. So I asked them if I wrote a piece would they play that. I gave this piece a Spanish title that means ‘To Friends’. The guitar duet arrangement was crafted by Mitsuo Nagata.

3. Sky Pearl
I wrote this song for my friend Ryosuke Hara who lives in Germany. Based on a Spanish-style rhythm, I included many references to songs that have influenced us both, from J.S. Bach Cello Suite, Japanese anime theme tunes, to folk songs. From Yngwie Malmsteen to Metallica!

4. Geoff
A song dedicated to Geoff Stephenson who passed away in 2017. Geoff was a mathematician who had worked with Alan Turing. He was a professor at Imperial College, London, ’where I met him and became great friends, and a patron when I was a poor music student.

5. A Small Happiness
This song was a wedding gift from me to friends, Mitsuo and Kayoko Nagada. I went to the same music colleges in Japan and the UK as Mitsuo – we even used to wear identical coats!

Dear Mum,
I wrote this song during a visit to my mother-in-law at the hospital where she passed away in January 2010 at the age of 57, after a six-year fight with cancer. She loved Japanese pop-song harmonies as well as “Recuersos de la Alhambra”, so I use a tremolo technique to evoke that sound.

Guitar Concerto ‘Gion’
This short concerto is influenced by traditional Japanese music, which I’ve became more interested in since leaving Japan. I wanted to capture the melody and rhythm of the Gion Festival in my home town of Kyoto. The piano version is newly written for this recording, based on the original version I wrote for guitar and a small orchestra.

7. Guitar Concerto ‘Gion’ - I. Allegro.
The Japanese melody is played on a complex, intense rhythm of Indian and rock music within the structure of a traditional sonata form. I use a plectrum like when I’m playing electric guitar to deliver a clear rhythm and of course, a heavy-metal groove.

8. Guitar Concerto ‘Gion’ - II. Adagio
This movement starts with a lyrical guitar-piano conversation with melodies of the East and the West, then moves on to a more emotional cadenza before a tranquil dialogue returns to prepare for the last movement.

9. Guitar Concerto ‘Gion’ - III. Andante - Prestissimo
The rhythm of the Gion Festival is heard from far away, gradually getting closer and becoming faster, transforming into progressive metal, once again with Indian and rock rhythms, finishing with the grand finale of a rock concerto.

10. Stuart’s Garden
This is a song I wrote for a friend of mine who passed away just before I could finish writing it. Stuart was an amazing landscape designer, so I wanted to the piece to feel like time had stopped, just as if I was standing in his magical garden in Wales .

Musical Journey written by Chris Fordyce, track list written by Hidè Takemoto



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