Ryuichi Sakamoto has performed in a new concert called Playing the Piano for the Isolated. As its title suggests, the performance was recorded in isolation and uploaded to YouTube amid the current COVID-19 crisis. The concert is joined by Hidejiro Honjoh, who plays the shamisen, a traditional Japanese three-stringed accoustic instrument.
The concert was recorded in Tokyo last month. It measures at approximately an hour and 40 minutes, spotlighting select songs Sakamoto composed throughout his expansive career. The first song played is “Andata,” a slow, wistful piano composition from his most recent album async. After this, he offers a brief introduction to the concert, bringing in Hidejiro Honjoh to play on his shamisen. After Honjoh’s performance, the two speak briefly about the origins of the shamisen, which according to the two, seemed to crossover from China to Okinawa. Later on, the two are seen creating a series of abstract noises — for instance, Sakamoto bangs the inner chords of the grand piano. Wrapping up the concert, the last song Sakamoto ends on is “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” the score to the 1983 war drama of the same name.
Scroll above to watch Ryuichi Sakamoto’s concert Playing the Piano for the Isolated.
In case you missed it, check out Sakamoto’s haunting score for Black Mirror Season 5.