an interview with Kitaro
I was at my first psychic fair in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. in the mid-80s when this music came over the loudspeaker. I was mesmerized. It permeated my entire being and connected to my soul, causing a yearning to go to the place where music like that was made. That was my first experience with the music of Kitaro and Silk Road and 12 years later, I still feel the same way. Kitaros music takes me out of this world and into someplace else, something much deeper and purer.
Kitaro has been called the godfather of New Age music. He has released over 25 albums of his own music as well as being instrumental in launching a new series of releases by unknown artists. He remains a gentle presence in the world with a deep love of nature.
Amanda: You have said that feeling is the most important element in your music. Do you think that is why your music touches people at such a deep level?
Kitaro: When I compose my music, mostly I compose it up in Colorado, in the mountains. I need to be alone, and it's kind of like a meditation. I spend a lot of time taking care of my house and spending time outside, in nature. I need to do these things, more than creating music, because while doing the work, I listen and watch nature and then go back to the studio, to turn the experience into music.
I think a more important thing is how much time we can spend without music and then going to the music. The younger people think "Yeah, music, music, music," but I like to say, "No, music is not difficult stuff. Music should be easy." How much time can we spend and experience in nature? That is a most important thing for me.
Amanda: So you think your life and music are about nature?
Amanda: What is the most important thing you are trying to say through your music?
Kitaro: Im not thinking too much during composing. I believe in taking my time, going into a much deeper place in the music. A kind of natural order, ideas, and inspirations come up. Sometimes Ill try to get the pieces inspiration but it wont come. When it comes naturally, it's perfect every time. When its not natural, when I try to get inspiration, nothing happens, so for me its about natural life and natural movement.
Amanda: What are you most grateful for in your life?
Kitaro: Im so happy to have music. This is a big element for me. Music means I can go out of this planet, immediately. Then I can go into my body some place, some time. I like to take a trip to outer space inside my own space and the music helps a lot, almost 100%. Music is the ticket.
Amanda: Your music does that for me. I can remember the first time I heard Silk Road about 12 years ago. It still does the same thing to me as the very first time I heard it. Do you see your music changing at all in the future?
Kitaro: My music, year by year, seems like its following my age. Its changing a little bit, but my basic philosophy of music is "nothing changes." A little bit, you know, the technology will change and the instruments will change; little by little something is different. Im expecting that the people can feel which is better. My feeling is that if people follow only technologies, they will lose the spiritual, so Im expecting people can think a little deeper because the sounds affect the human body; also, the sound affects the Mother Earth. We need to take care of our bodies.
Amanda: So do you believe your music is soothing to the earth?
Kitaro: I like to vibrate, to share the vibration. Thats the big reason I have a drumming ceremony in Japan on Mt. Fuji in autumn. The drumming goes all night. This is an annual event. This year, it will be October 5. We will be drumming the whole day.
Amanda: Is this just you?
Kitaro: The first year, just me. I have done this for over ten years. Today, I think around seven hundred people come, all drumming. Its really powerful.
Amanda: Do you think this somehow then gives you your yearly charge and really enmeshes you with the Earth energies?
Kitaro: Yes, kind of a miracle; you can see the miracle. Last year we were there and a huge typhoon came. We spent a whole night but couldnt drum, but the year before that we had a perfect full moon and perfect sunlight; the moon was going down and then, on the opposite side, the sun was coming up. Its like a miracle situation. So, it depends on how we can spend time, how we can spend energy; it depends on the person to feel something beyond the something.
Amanda: Is this event open to anyone who wants to experience it?
Kitaro: Yes, Id like to share it with many people.
Amanda: You said earlier that you dont think your music has changed all that much. Do you feel that, at least in some subtle ways, as youve grown as a person your music has reflected that?
Kitaro: Actually I have never been educated in music, but I could feel something about harmony, about music. My music is not based on the regular music scene. Its something beyond, beyond the "rules" of the music. Nothing compares. I, myself, am the same; nothings changed but my energy.
Amanda: What is your favorite piece of your music?
Kitaro: Right now is it the last song of the newest album, Gaia. I composed the music in my studio, flew to Japan, and went into the recording session without my music. Then I recorded the chanting voice and brought it back to the U.S. and tried to fit it in the song, and it was perfect: the pitch was there, the tempo was there. That for me, is a miracle of my life. The singer never listened to my music. I recorded his chanting and it fit perfectly. I have three different chord changes in the piece, and his chanting changed right before I did. It was a miracle.
Amanda: Who do you like to listen to?
Kitaro: Sometimes I like to listen to classical, like Debussy. Classical music is more dramatic, more visual for me. I like to have that kind of visual, since Im a visual person. That is my favorite.
Kitaros latest release, Gaia, has just been released. Kitaro himself took the album's cover photo; its the front of his house in Colorado. He says, "Its like heaven."
The annual drumming event will take place on Mt. Fuji at sunset on October 5. Some 2,000 participants are expected to attend.