become is a pop group based on traditional Japanese ancient music.
become is a group of four musicians – three players of traditional Japanese instruments, performing on a permanent basis, and one percussionist who is a visiting player.
Starting its career as a traditional Japanese ancient music band in 1990,
And reorganizing itself as become in 1998,
become has done everything in its power to make outstanding performances and accomplish remarkable achievements,
Only to become what become is today.
Singing voices quite natural, splendidly clear and agreeable!
Pleasing sounds that bring a sense of tenderness and warmness, and a feeling of nestling in peace, brought back to your old home!
This is exactly what the singing group become has to offer to you.
Each one playing on Satsuma Biwa lute, Koto or Japanese flat-frame harp, Japanese bamboo flute Shakuhachi, and drums/timpani/cymbals,etc, respectively, the four musical performers produce a peculiar auditory space and atmosphere in which every sound and note corresponds with each other and makes up a harmonious whole of musical cosmos.
By using four kinds of instruments which have different origins, histories of development and different structures as instruments, the musicians cover the elements of pop, jazz, lap dancing and gagaku (“gracious” music that started in the imperial court of olden times), and at the same time, leaping freely from one field to another, finally come back to the point where Japanese ancient music finds a unity with the language, spirit and history of Japanese culture and art.
By virtue of their highly reliable performing abilities and breathtaking excellence of expression, and by bringing into full play their distinctive individualities as musicians, the four virtuosi create a world in which their music comes over to you as natural and faithful to the original as it is highly artistic and artificial, and where their production is as much Western as it is intrinsically Japanese.
This is why, while remaining truthful to the original spirit of Japanese musical tradition, yet at the same time, become crosses over the boundaries of Japanese music and finds an ever wider field of activities all over the world. Making its striking overseas debut at Festival de Chaillol in France in 2005, become has exhibited wonders of distinguished virtuosity in Europe and other parts of the world.
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Yoshiko Sakata plays on Satsuma Biwa lute, or short-necked plucked lute.
She sings while playing in performances. She also writes music and words for it..
In become performances you can enjoy her singing voices. They are quite natural, splendidly clear and agreeable. You can also appreciate distinguished features of works of her own composition as you listen to the stories she narrates and songs she sings.
Yoshiko Sakata has done everything in her power to improve her artistic qualities of instrument playing and storytelling, along with rearranging ancient pieces of music and putting classic literary works into present-day language. By carrying out her aspirations to the utmost, she has developed and extended potentialities of Biwa performances beyond the boundaries of traditional ancient music
Yoshiko Sakata has worked in various fields of activity in Japan and other countries: she joined “Rokkasen” group of Yoshiyuki Kozu, participated in Super Event of Yamamoto Kansai, and Music Stage of Kiyomizu Temple; and took part in the Monterey Jazz Festival of California, USA.
Yoshiko Sakata has worked a lot and done much for TV programs, Movies and Advertisements; she won the first prize in the 40th Biwa Performance Contest of 2004, and got the Education and Science Minister Prize.
Appeared on the screen for an NHK TV program “Geino Hana Butai”, wrote words and did singing for the theme music of another NHK program “Shin Nihon Kiko Futatabi”, ,
Yoshiko Sakai’s first album “Biwa: Uta-Monogatari (Stories told with songs to the accompaniment of Biwa)”, which appeared in 1999, opened up a new vista of Biwa playing and singing. Her second one of May, 2009, “Dan no Ura – Emperor Antoku Drowned Himself” is a collection of three new pieces of “Dan no Ura”, “Ohara Gokoh”, and “Miminashi Hoichi” (the first two drawing on the excellent classical work The Tale of the Heike, and the last one coming from Lafcadio Hearn’s Kwaidan).
Yoshiko Sakata teaches Biwa Lute Playing as part-time lecture at Toho Gakuen Junior College of Art, Tokyo.
Shakuhachi flutist Ryozan Sakata blows into an ordinary kind of bamboo wind as well on several occasions, and joins the chorus singing.
When he was an undergraduate student of Kobe University, Ryozan Sakata started to learn from two Shakuhachi masters of the Tozan School, Shuzan Kishihara and Taizann Kawamura; he won the gold medal in the 13th Tozan School Contest and was awarded the Education and Science Minister Prize.
Ryozan Sakata organized a traditional Japanese ancient music group “Orihime (Weaving Princess)”, this group developing to become become.
Organizing member of become, Ryozan Sakata is also leader of neutral, which is a Shakuhachi-centered band.
As instructor of the first rank (in the Tozan School), Ryozan Sakata makes CD labels, appears on TV and radio programs, takes part in musicals; his performing activities extend from classical music down to contemporary music,
Ryozan Sakata took part in musicals and record playings of the theatre company Shiki (The Four Seasons), Tsurutaro Kataoka, Kei Ogura, and others. He was invited as a guest to the concert of “Kosetsu Minami –Melodies of Time – “
His own CD labels “Neutral, Mizu no Tsuki (Moon on the Water)” and “Ao i Hana (A Blue Flower), Peace and Quiet I” were ranked as annual bestselling albums by a magazine concerned with traditional Japanese music.
Ryozan Sakata made performing expeditions to US and Mexico, East Europe, France, South Korea, and Brazil. He was invited to National Moscow Academy of Music commemorating Tchaikovsky as a Shakuhachi instructor in 2009.
Ryozan Sakata teaches Shakuhachi flute playing (blowing) as part-time lecturer at Toho Gakuen Junior College of Art, Tokyo.
As a member of become, Koto player Miwa Inaba joins the chorus singing; she also writes and arranges music for the group.
Miwa Inaba started to learn Koto playing at the age of four;
she became a pupil of Akiko Yazaki to learn the Koto playing method of the Ikuta School
and the jiuta (Kamigata or West-Japan) manner of plucking the three stringed Shamisen;
she also learned to play the seventeen-stringed harp from Teiko Kikuchi.
In addition, Miwa Inaba learned theories of Composition, Arrangement and Impromptu, and a theory of Jazz music.
Not only as a solo player of Koto, she also performs in cooperation with contrabass and other string instruments of Western music.
Besides opening her own concerts to publish original numbers of her composition, she works with Yoshiko Sakata; in become activities, she has done much to compose and arrange with the lutenist: she has composed a number of melodies that are played in become performances
Miwa Inaba also played an important pole in the composition and playing of the above mentioned “Ohara Gokoh”, a piece included in the latest Biwa album “Dan no Ura”.
Together with Yoshiko Sakata, Miwa Inaba joined concert expeditions of Kei Ogura.
Her own labels “Rains Far, Far Away”, “Beyond Blue” were released by OCM Record.
Miwa Inaba has worked a lot and done much for TV and radio programs, programs particularly worth noting are NHK TV programs of “Asia – Great Nature Unknown” and “Upbringing of Children of the Mother Earth” (winner of the Grand Prix for 2005 of NHK Japan Prize),
On an international scene, Miwa Inaba joined the China Travelling Exhibition to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the normalized relations between Japan and China sponsored by The Japan Foundation in 2002;
and took part in become Exhibition in the Far Eastern Russia for a demonstration of traditional Japanese music in 2003.
Playing both the harp with twenty-two strings and the seventeen-stringed harp, and yet treating them as two different kinds of string instruments, Miwa Inaba has opened up a new perspective of Koto playing and appreciation.
This is where her strenuous efforts of creating individualistic pleasing sounds have borne fruit.
Drummer Takanobu Kimura sings, narrates stories and joins the chorus singing.
Takanobu Kimura has been a member of become since 1992.
In the become performances of singing stories, the drummer plays parts of characters while making various dramatic settings by percussion instruments.
History of his main activities runs:
Takanobu Mimura took part in concerts and recordings of Yuko Otaki, NOVA, Hip Up, and some other singers and groups as a drummer in 1981;
He joined SHIRO of Tokyo Kid Brothers in their American Tour of 1983 (since then he has made stage music for the company and taught its intern students);
Since 1996 he has been a member of Tokyo Bibimba Club together with Hirobumi Kasuga (former member of Carmen Maki & OZ), Nobuyoshi Teraoka (Anarchy), Byun Inja (Korean dancer and singer), and others;
He took part in Tsugaru-Shamisen recordings and concerts of Masahiro Nitta in 2002 and afterwards. (Tsugaru is a province of Aomori Prefecture up at the north end of the mainland Japan.)