Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kitaro (喜多郎) - The Silk Road (絲綢之路)

I have recently included a "video bar" (scroll down the right-hand column) and if you click on the top of the four pictures (a picture of Kitaro), you will be able to listen to Kitaro's music and watch it as it is being played. At the end of the song, you will see various mini screens on the YouTube screen and each of these is a different song by Kitaro, with some very nice viewing to go along with them. Maybe not the thing for the very busy, but if you are just relaxing or maybe doing some stretching exercises at home, then this may be of interest.
I first came across Kitaro's (喜多郎) music when I was spending my first year in Taiwan as a Chinese language student. I would learn about new kinds of music just by walking past the hawkers who sold music cassettes by the side of the street and listening to whatever they were playing. I was immediately attracted by the sound of the Silk Road, this title referring of course to the road that the merchants travelled on across China and Central Asia in the days of the Genghis Khan and Marco Polo. The music was certainly different from what I had been used to in England. It was very soothing and relaxing, and even though some regarded it as "New Age", on a subsequent trip to England a prominent couple in the church I attended actually handed the tapes I gave them to someone who was dying of cancer to help him relax, and apparently felt it had a beneficial effect.
Kitaro apparently had no formal musical education, and claimed he could not read or write music. He relied purely on his ears and his emotions. From the video one can see he really gets into the music as do the other musicians with him. Some of his songs sound more Western and others much more Japanese (for instance Heaven and Earth with a lot of Japanese drumbeats, which is brilliant in my estimation).
When listening to music from other cultures, I am obviously concerned about whether the music is suitable or not, just as I will sometimes listen to the music our sons play to determine whether the music and the lyrics are wholesome or not. While I am not sure what every Japanese would think about this music, at least a fine Japanese Christian lady I shared an office with when in Hawai'i a year or two ago very much enjoyed it, and she also very much liked the "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" music, which is what you may hear when you first look at my blog (if you stay long enough for the music to load). (If this freaks you out, you can pause the music by going to the Playlist box in the right-hand column.) Thanks Pat for putting Playlist on your blog!
This morning, I went swimming at 9:00 am (as I normally do Saturday), and due to the wet and stormy weather there were fewer people than usual. I decided to swim long and steady, and covered 6,000 meters in exactly two hours, with no breaks. I started with the lane to myself, but around the middle 2,000 or so I was at times sharing the lane with four others, some who were pretty slow, and hence I had to weave in and out of people quite a lot, as I had to stick to my schedule. However, it broke the monotony a bit. I slowed down slightly the last 1,500 or so. I think these long swims are quite good, because when I eventually swim something like 2,000 meters in a race, I should be able to swim pretty strongly the whole way, instead of weakening around the turnaround buoy. After the two hours, I had a quick needed break and also went to the small pool where you can be massaged by a fairly strong column of water coming down from above, and then I finished off with 400 meters with hand paddles, as well as an odd 50m without them, to finish on 6,450 meters for the day. I also felt pretty normal the rest of the day at home, so I don't feel I overdid it. Tomorrow being Sunday, I will probably have a lighter and easier swim.

1 comment:

BreeWee said...

Hey you swimming machine!
I can not sing to save my life! ha ha, but I lead the Bible study part, the prayers :)
Yes, please do the tag!! Wish you were here to run tomorrow, I am a cheerleader, no running yet.