Friday, February 1, 2008

About Music - Agatsuma

Agatsuma Hiromitsu began studying the tsugaru shamisen at the age of six, going on to win the 1988 All-Japan Tsugaru-Shamisen Competition at the tender age of 14. This was followed in 1995 and 1996, by top honors at the Tsugaru Shamisen National Competition, said to be the country’s most prestigious.

Known throughout the world as simply Agatsuma, this original artist has long infused the traditional sound of the shamisen-a long-necked, three-stringed, lute-like instrument-with present day,international musical influences, including blues, rock, dance music, folk, flamenco and funk.

In September 2001, he made his major label debut on Toshiba EMI with the eponymous “Agatsuma.” This album, comprising five traditional pieces and five original ones, was named “Traditional Japanese Music Album of the Year” at the 16th Japan Gold Disc Awards. In his second album "BEAMS", (released in July 2002), he recorded ten original works, taking the tsugaru shamisen in new directions. The same album was subsequently released in America by Domo Records in January of 2003, upon which Agatsuma made his US debut. His five-concert tour of New York, Boston, Baltimore and Windsor in Canada was a huge success.

In March 2003, Agatsuma released a traditional shamisen album, “Classics - AGATSUMA III,” which includes tracks recorded live in a New York church. Currently he is broadening his field with over 100 annual concerts, sessions and media appearances both in Japan and overseas, while continuing to pursue “the traditions of and innovation in the tsugaru shamisen.”

Agatsuma has performed with well-known artist around the world and has appeared as a guest artist for the Japan performances of Marcus Miller. Agatsuma says his aim with his music is to bring people together, to bridge disparate cultures and to find common ground between them, in the same way he has blended the sound of ancient Japanese music with the varied influences of today's contemporary music scene. Visit one of my favorite world music artist at his website:

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