The percussionist Midori Takada, author of the album Through the Looking Glass, considered a masterpiece since 1983 and reissued in 2017, debuts this week in Portugal with concerts adapted to the rooms of Braga, Lisbon and Espinho, where she will perform.
In an interview before Tuesday’s performances at the Immaculate Chapel of the Minor Seminary in Braga, Thursday at Culturgest in Lisbon, and Friday at the Auditorium of Espinho, the Japanese artist reveals that she will adapt her repertoire and selection of instruments to the specific environment of each stage, since it argues that all rooms have their own influence on musical performance.
“My performance will change according to the location because space is the body where the resonance is created,” explains Midori Takada. “As for me, ‘instruments’ means ‘materials’, they are not only those that are available in a music store, but also those that are in the soil – like water, metals, wood – and so far I have used [the digression ] a chair, the secretary of a military man who occupied Japan, part of a bridge, material from the Tokyo station, etc., “he told.
Pointed by musicians, critics and the press as a “minimalist”, “spiritual” and “meditative” artist, Midori Takada began her career in classical recording and soon afterwards devoted herself to a thorough research of the percussive languages of Asia and Africa, creating a body of work that also benefited from his experience in jazz and composition of soundtracks for theater, cinema, ‘animé’ and video games.
For the percussionist, all these areas are “only ramifications” of the musical creative instinct, since, “since the age of the Greek theatre,” the props are sole “realms of vision created from human thought, and as a result, the creativity is no different. ”
In this sense, Midori Takada is said to be the same artist who, in 1983, released “Through the Looking Glass”, recorded on analogue tape in only two days, due to budget constraints. Drawing on marimbas, gongs, chime bells, a harmonium and even Coca-Cola bottles blown like flutes, the artist executed these instruments at different distances from the microphone to create the effect of a three-dimensional sound sculpture and was correcting the errors detected by overlapping successive ones layers of tape to the initial recording, which gave the album a peculiar sonority.
“I have not changed since then, which may be because of my sense of a different era since I was born in a cell of remote antiquity,” says the percussionist. “I always created music because of my sense of myself – I felt restlessness, tension, hope, desire for relaxation – and I think people will find the same situation today,” he says.
Midori Takada also says that in live performances his motivation remains unchanged: “I only play to give my sound to the audience. If people receive it, my music has a conclusion.”
As for the way in which the percussion has evolved in the last 50 years towards a greater use of electronic timbres, the performer admits that this may have resulted from “an eagerness for the new, which seems to reflect the natural desire attitude of the human instinct “. This preference may still be an escape mechanism: “Using electronics, music has had new space to hide from the material world and this means that people today need immaterial space.”
For Midori Takada, digital and automatism symbolize, however, “the decline of the human body” and in this context prefers a different exploration of individual creative power: “Music is one of our instincts to make space safe. I say ‘use your body’ and thus will survive. ”
In any case, he argues that “words are not substance” and therefore devalues the complimentary adjectives used by critics in describing their work.
Defending that “music is the only vibration released in the air,” he appreciates in the audience the autonomy with which he chooses the sensations to withdraw from each spectacle and, to the young musicians who intend to make a career in the percussion, leaves only one advice: “Be free.”