Tag Archives: Multicultural Music

Ryuichi Sakamoto – The Last Emperor

Ryuichi Sakamoto (?? ?? Sakamoto Ry?ichi?, born January 17, 1952) is a Japanese musician, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor, based in Tokyo and New York. He began his career in 1978 as a member of the pioneering electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO),[1][2] where he played the keyboards and occasionally sang the vocals. The band was an international success, with worldwide hits such as “Computer Game / Firecracker” (1978) and “Behind the Mask” (1978),[3] the latter written and sung by Sakamoto. At around the same time, he began pursuing a solo career in pop music, debuting with an experimental electronic fusion album The Thousand Knives of Ry?ichi Sakamoto (1978), and later released the pioneering electro music album B-2 Unit (1980), which included the electro classic “Riot in Lagos”.[4][5][6] After YMO disbanded in 1983, he produced more hit solo records, including collaborations with various international artists, through to the 1990s.

He began acting and film composing with Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), which he starred in and composed the score for; the song “Forbidden Colours” which he composed for it became a worldwide hit and he won a BAFTA Award for the film’s score.[7] He later won an Academy Award and Grammy Award for scoring The Last Emperor (1987),[8] and has also won two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a film composer.[7] In addition, he also composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony. In the early 1990s, he briefly reunited with YMO, playing an instrumental role in the techno and acid house movements of the era, before parting ways again shortly afterwards.[9] His 1999 musical composition “Energy Flow”, also known as the alternative title of the single disc Ura BTTB, was the first number-one instrumental single in Japan’s Oricon charts history.[10] He has also occasionally worked on anime and video games, as a composer as well as a scenario writer. In the late 2000s, he reunited once again with YMO, while continuing to compose film music. In 2009, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France’s Ministry of Culture for his musical contributions.[3]

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