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Kitaro - A Biography

KitaroKitaro (japanese: 喜多郎) was born on the 4th. of February, 1953 as Masanori Takahashi in Toyohashi, Japan. In Highschool he loved Soul and Rhythm & Blues. He learned playing E-Guitar and performed with his band "Albatross" on parties and in clubs. His biggest influence in this time was Otis Redding. "Rhythm and blues has a kind of depth, emotions how can I say it? The audience feels something like same kind of emotions from my music. My music is not rhythm and blues, but it feels like soul.".

His nickname Kitaro was given to him by friends after the main character from the japanese cartoon television series "Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro".

In the early '70s he changed completely to keyboards. He joined the band "Far East Family Band" and toured with them around the world. In 1975 he met the german synthesizer musician and Tangerine Dream-cofounder Klaus Schulze in Tokyo and later again in England. Schulze produced two albums for the band and expanded Kitaro's knowledge of synthesizers.

A quotation from Kitaro gives us his view on synthesizers: "With a synthesizer I could create an ocean, a winter coastline, a summer beach, a whole scene."

In 1976 Kitaro left the "Far East Family Band" and made a long trip throught asia, visiting countries like Laos, China and Thailand. In India he lived for about 6 months in Poona at the (at that time) famous ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

Back in Japan Kitaro started his solo career in 1977. The first two albums Ten Kai and From the Full Moon Story became cult favorites of fans of the nascent New Age movement. But it was his famous Soundtrack for the NHK series "Silk Road" which brought him the international attention.

Kitaro struck a worldwide distribution arrangement with Geffen Records in 1986; in 1987 he collaborated with different musicians, e.g. with Micky Hart (Grateful Dead) and Jon Andersen (Yes) and his record sales soared to 10 million worldwide.

End of the 1980ths he relocated from Japan to the USA. Outside of Ward (a little town near Boulder/Colorado, USA) he moved to his house and studio "Mochi House". This place, surrounded by nature, was his home for several years.

In 1994 Kitaro won the Golden Globe Award for his soundtrack for Oliver Stones movie "Heaven & Earth". He was also nominated several times for a Grammy in the category New Age (which he won in 2001 for his album Thinking of You).

Kitaro is a star, but he is very modest. "Nature inspires me. I am only a messenger", he said. "To me, some songs are like clouds, some are like water". Since the 1980ths his reverence for nature leads Kitaro to annually give thanks to Mother Nature in a special "concert": on the day of August or September full moon he beats on the Taiko drum from dusk to dawn. Every year people watch and assist him during this "concert". In the past this happening took place close to Mt. Fuji, Japan. Since experts measured higher radiation there the event was moved to Nagano, Japan. There are several movies about this event on Youtube.

From 1983 till 1990 he was married with his first wife Yuki Taoka (they have a son, Ryunosuke, who lives in Japan). They separated because Kitaro worked most time in the United States while she lived and worked in Japan. In the middle of the 90ths Kitaro married Keiko Matsubara, a musician who already played on several of his albums.

After the experience of a heavy snowstorm in 2004/2005, Kitaro and his wife thought about finding a new place to live. They moved to Sebastopol in Northern California. Kitaro created his new studio "Mochi 2" there. The house & studio "Mochi House" in Ward was sold. Kitaro still owns his 250 year old farming house in the japanese mountains in which he lived before he moved to the USA.