10 April 2010

Weird and coincident: funeral song for my birthday

('A Thousand Winds', kikawa Masafumi)

In celebration of my 35th birthday, last night, on my birthday eve, May and I went to Riverside Live House (河岸留言西門紅樓展演館), where the young Taiwan aboriginal singer Leo Chen (陳永龍) and the indie rock group Clippers Band (夾子電動大樂隊) had two gigs in a row.

It was a very enjoyable night. However, I'm not going to comment here on the two delightful performances, but instead I would like to highlight a Japanese song which Leo Chen presented to end his session in the first half.

Leo just released his first Mandarin album Come Rain or Shine (日光 雨中), a collection of classic songs written by Li Tai-Hsiang (李泰祥), a well-respected composer in Taiwan. As 'Farewell' (告別) is the lead track in this album, Leo had a theme of 'Farewell' at last night's performance and sang, apart from several pieces from the album, some more songs about valediction.

It was 'A Thousand Winds' (千の風になって) that captured my ears. The song derived from the well-known bereavement poem 'Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep', which is usually read at funerals or memorial services, and sometimes carved on tombstones.

The verse was translated into Japanese, set to music and first performed by a Japanese novelist, Arai Man (新井 満).

Last year, I gave May, as a birthday present, the single album of 'A Thousand Winds' by the Japanese tenor Akikawa Masafumi (秋川 雅史), which once reached No.1 on Oricon Singles Weekly Ranking (オリコンチャート) in 2007 and has since sold more than one million copies in Japan.

This year May invited me, also as a birthday present, to a gig, where Leo Chen delivered 'A Thousand Winds'. Neither of us expected this song in the programme.

It is absolutely a beautiful song although weird is the word I could say for this coincidence.

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