Newsletter March 2015

With both Prince William and One Direction out in Japan and in the news there, it’s time to redress the balance a bit with some news from the Far Side..

Lots of New Releases out in March

Including quite a few YMO related items..

Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto have a live DVD and Blu-ray out with guests including Yukihiro Takahashi and many other of their usual collaborators such as Keigo Oyamada.


Another live concert on CD and limited edition CD+Blu-ray is of Akiko Yano with Tin Pan, featuring Hosono.


Ryuichi Sakamoto’s album, Illustrated Musical Encyclopaedia (Ongakuzukan) gets a SHM-CD reissue with an extra CD of unreleased tracks.


and don’t forget, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Playing the Orchestra is out 25th March on CD, DVD, Blu-ray or all together.

Another YMO/Hosono/Takahashi collaborator/backing musician is guitarist Ren Takada, whose latest album is the songs of his famous folk singing father Wataru Takada


Out on March 4th is Tomita’s Space Fantasy SACD, Tomita on NHK and the standard version of Clair de Lune is re-released in April for 10 pounds


There are two fascinating CDs in a new series to mark the 70th anniversary since end of the second world war- Spy Prevention Songs and Soldiers and Comedians on the Front Line, rare archive recordings of the day.


Two brilliant, unclassifiable bands have compilations out, Cicala Mvta and Lonesome Strings and there’s two albums by Lonesome Strings with female singer Mari Nakamura.


On the ‘traditional’ music front are three rare albums from the 1970s of ‘shakuhachi rock’ by Minoru Muraoka, which are in fact of enka, pop and bizarrely, sailing.


While more orthodox recordings are three albums by koto legend Tadao Sawai and a new album by Tomoko Yamaguchi.


From the rest of Asia are four quality ‘Custom CDs’ from the Smithsonian Folkways label from Vietnam, Bali, Java and Lombok.


And onto other things.

We were sad to learn in February of the deaths from cancer of two cultural icons in their own very different worlds.
Kabuki actor Bando Mitsugoro X died on 21st February aged 59. He was one of the best actors, and especially known for his dancing as head of the Bando-ryu school of classical dance. We put up a video of him on our You Tube channel at the beginning of the year.

And just a week earlier on 14th, Sheena, from the Rokkets died aged 61. Sheena & The Rokkets have been one of Japan’s most enduring bands, playing rock, blues and punk with an all too rare attitude. She was a bit like a Japanese version of Patti Smith, who influenced her. Several of their albums were produced by Haruomi Hosono.

Sheena was featured on one show of Far Side Radio available to listen to again on Mixcloud (where you can follow us)

or with links to the CDs from the Far Side web site

Other shows were psychedelic sounds, new releases (along with Sheena), a Best of Far Side Radio with interviews and sessions from including Jah Wobble, Makoto Kubota, FM3 and Huong Thanh, and Ancient meets Modern Japan.

and thanks to anyone donated for the Resonance fundraising week. You can still donate at the Far Side Radio page.

We now have 50 videos on the Far Side Music You Tube Channel

In the last month these have have included Yasuaki Shimizu, YMO, Korean group, Puri, Okinawa’s Takashi Hirayasu and Yukichi Yamazato and Otomo Yoshihide.

We’re still catching up on the blog with various biographies (Lonesome Strings, Yasuaki Shimizu) features (Takashi Hirayasu) and CD liner notes (Rough Guides to Japan, Okinawa)

To keep up to date with news, new releases, radio, videos and anything else, best way is to Like us on Facebook

or Follow us on Twitter.

Or just wait for this newsletter! which will be along in another month.

Until then, hope there’s something of interest.

All the best

you can subscribe to this newsletter by sending us an email via the Far Side web site


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