Terrible news today. I had gotten an email from commenter Tim on the subject of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s 68th birthday on Sunday the 17th. As we’d just posted recently on the “Bamboo Houses”/”Bamboo Music” CD3, I demurred on a congratulatory post for the gent’s birthday. Even though my spouse is a big fan of the Sakamoto sound.
Such that we kept trying to get the Moogfest or Big Ears Festivals to book Mr. Sakamoto in the last decade, to no avail, alas. When he was treated for throat cancer in 2014, that created an understandable shift in his ability to tour and travel to perform. The year after his treatment was a difficult one for the artist and since then, we have been treated to the film “Coda,” by Stephen Nomura Schible in 2018 that examined the period of relative inactivity and introspection that came with his healing process following his cancer treatment. Largely in the form of his anti-nuclear activism which was further impacted by the Fukushima disaster.
I was reading The Guardian today and saw the terrible news that Mr. Sakamoto has reported that he has now been treated for bowel cancer. He has said that the surgery was a success and he is currently undergoing treatment. All of this made more difficult by the Covid-19 impact on healthcare. The artist makes his home in New York City so he’s in America, where the impact has been highest.
At the artist’s sitesakamoto.com he has prepared a letter discussing this hardship and he closes it with the conclusion:
“From now on, I will be living alongside cancer.
But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.”
A sentiment that I can only agree fervently with. We look to Ryuichi Sakamoto and hope that his quality of life improves and that he is delivered from discomfort and suffering. His extant body of music is profound and wide ranging. Any music he chooses to share with the world onward will be greeted as a friend, and will be seen as a gift above and beyond what he has already created in over 40 years of top flight musicianship.
Very upsetting news. In addition to being a unique and brilliant artist, Sakamoto is a genuinely decent human being. Yes, we must hope for his recovery, and that he is spared from suffering. Thank you for sharing this update, Monk.
Shelf – Yes, not only does Mr. Sakamoto lend his voice to environmental issues, but he’s trying to navigate the treacherous waters of copyright and its effect on artists with commmons.com.
horrible news – as mentioned above he really does come across like an amazing person. not just a great musician but an incredible intellect as well. outside of Brian Eno I don’t know too many musicians with such a prolific and varied career. thought his last album was absolutely brilliant but my current favorite is this right here:
one of his commercial pieces used as a backing hip-hop track (sort of) – how cool is that?
critterjams – We need his last album!