Keisuke Kuwata

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Keisuke Kuwata
Birth name Keisuke Kuwata
Born (1956-02-26) February 26, 1956 (age 58)
Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Genres Rock, pop, blues, folk, alternative, kayōkyoku
Occupations Musician, singer-songwriter, producer, film score composer
Instruments Guitar, bass, drums, keyboards
Years active 1978–present
Labels Victor Entertainment
Associated acts Southern All-Stars, Yuko Hara
Website Southern All Stars

Keisuke Kuwata (桑田 佳祐 Kuwata Keisuke?, born February 26, 1956) has gained fame as a Japanese multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and frontman for the Southern All-Stars, as well as his own solo band, the Kuwata band. He has also done significant amount of scoring music for films. He went to Aoyama Gakuin University.

Kuwata is known for his innovation with differing genres of Western music. As a musician, he performs primarily on lead guitar and lead vocals, although he has experimented with playing in a variety of positions, and released one album in which he played every instrument on the record. In 2010, Southern All-Stars was ranked #1, and Kuwata's solo band, the Kuwata Band, ranked #12 on a list of the top 100 musicians in Japan.[1]

Kuwata has worked as a record producer, a movie director, has recorded albums as bandleader of his own band, the Kuwata Band, and has worked on projects scoring music to film.

Biographical information[edit]

Keisuke Kuwata was born February 26, 1956, and raised in Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Kuwata's wife, Yuko Hara, is also a member of the Southern All Stars. She is a vocalist and plays keyboards. The two met while in college, where they were in the same circle of musicians. They married in 1982, after the success of the band's single Chako no Kaiganbanashi, and invited 3000 fans of the band to their wedding reception. They share a love of the blues and have two sons together.

On July 28, 2010, Kuwata announced that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.[2] The operation to remove the cancer was successful and he has made several public appearances since June 2011.

Musical style[edit]

Yuko Hara on keyboards during the Southern All-Stars' 30th Anniversary concert

Kuwata plays guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. For one album, Suteki Na Mirai Wo Mite Hoshii (素敵な未来を見て欲しい), Kuwata played every musical instrument and recorded the entire album himself.

Kuwata's Western musical influences are varied. Along with his wife, the band's keyboardist and backing vocalist, Yuko Hara, the couple have long been inspired by American folk music, where preferences run from Bob Dylan, The Band, Blues, and Southern rock music, to British and American influences that are arguably pure Rock and Roll; with a flattering amount of songs covered from the work of Eric Clapton.

Aside from Dylan, Kuwata's work has shown emphasis on music of the American South, including that of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Little Feat. Along with the Southern All-Stars, Kuwata has performed with Little Feat on several occasions, and recorded cover songs from the band. He was a participant and performer in a tribute concert to the late Lowell George, (their original frontman), recording a medley on video that contained his version of "Dixie Chicken".

In 1991, Kuwata began a series of concerts, similar to MTV Unplugged performances, called the "Acoustic Revolution", featuring Hirokazu Ogura on guitar, and Yoshiyuki Sahashi on mandolin, along with other musicians using acoustic instruments. Here again, Dylan's influence shone through their work choosing standards including "Like a Rolling Stone".

Kuwata also developed a love for rock music. The influence from Eric Clapton is strong and can be heard even when Kuwata performs songs in same manner and style as those that Clapton himself covered, and did not write. In addition, other artists covered have been Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, and Sam Cooke.

In 1994, the "On Air Music Fair", "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley was performed by Kuwata and Ann Lewis (musician).

Philanthropy[edit]

Kuwata has performed with his band, and collaborated with several others annually to donate money towards AIDS research and treatment. To draw the largest possible audiences, Kuwata performs additional Western songs so the concerts are more inclusive to all who will attend. Depending upon the year of the concert, sometimes the chosen songs have a theme.

Kuwata has been joined in benefit concerts by other bands and musicians. Most notably, is the frequent appearance of the members of Yamagu (山弦), a band currently featuring the talents of guitarists Hirokazu Ogura (小倉 博和 Ogura Hirokazu?) and Yoshiyuki Sahashi (佐橋 佳幸 Sahashi Yoshiyuki?). Both artists are master guitarists and the band shows off their talents in an eclectic combination of jazz, blues, and rock, along with their own combination of ambient experimental music. Yamagu is considered a "guitar support unit", in the same way Westerners would think of a horn section. Some of these concert songs included:

  • 1996 Theme: Jazz Cafe
  • 1997 Theme: Kayou Suspense Theater
  • 1998 Theme: All Request Show
  • 1999 Theme: Eric Claptoso
    • "Little Wing", by Jimi Hendrix, and "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?", recorded by Eric Clapton several decades earlier.
  • 2000 Theme: Best Songs of The 20th Century Selected By Kuwata
  • 2001 Theme: Plays The Beatles
  • 2003 Theme: Disco And Soul Of Glory
  • 2008 Theme: Hitori Kohaku Utagassen
  • 2009 Theme: Movie Songs

Discography[edit]

Albums and DVDs[edit]

  • Keisuke Kuwata (1988)
  • From Yesterday (フロム イエスタデイ) (25 Jun 2001)
  • Kodoku-no Taiyō (孤独の太陽) The Sun of Solitude, 1994)
  • Rock and Roll Hero (2002)
  • Top Of The Pops (2002) (27 Nov 2002)
  • Musicman (2011) (23 Feb 2011)
  • Ashita Hareru Kana (16 May 2007)
  • Subete no Uta ni Zange shina - Live Tour '94
  • Kuwata Keisuke Act Against AIDS 2008 Shouwa 83 Nendo!Hitori

Singles of the Kuwata Band, 1986[edit]

  • "Ban Ban Ban" (1986)
  • "Skipped Beat" (スキップ・ビート )
  • "Merry Christmas In Summer"
  • "One Day"

with the Southern All-Stars[edit]

  • "Sad Feelings (Just a Man in Love)" (悲しい気持ち) (1987)
  • "Itsuka Dokoka-de" ("Somewhere some time (I Feel The Echo)" ("いつか何処かで") (1988)
  • Mayonaka-no Dandy ("真夜中のダンディー") Midnight's Dandy (1993)
  • "Tsuki" ("月") "Moon" (1994)
  • "Matsuri-no-ato" ("祭りのあと") "After the carnival" (1994)
  • "Naminori Jonny" ("波乗りジョニー") "Surfing Jonny" (2001)
  • "Shiroi koibitotachi" ("白い恋人達") "White Lovers" (2001)
  • "Tokyo" ("東京") (2002)
  • "Ashita Harerukana" ("明日晴れるかな") "Will it Be Sunny Tomorrow?" (2007)
  • "Kaze no Uta wo Kikasete" ("風の詩を聴かせて") "Listen to the Wind's Song" (2007)
  • "Darling" ("ダーリン") (2007)
  • "Kimi ni Sayonara wo" ("君にサヨナラを") "Good-Bye To You" (2009)
  • "Hontou ha Kowai Ai to Romance" ("本当は怖い愛とロマンス") "In Fact, Fearful Love and Romance" (2010)

Performed with Super Chimpanzee[edit]

  • Kuri Forever (クリといつまでも Kuri-to Itsumademo?) (1991)
  • Kuri Forever karaoke version (クリといつまでものカラオケ付き Kuri-to Itsumademo-no Karaoke-Tsuki?)

Keisuke Kuwata and Mr. Children[edit]

  • Kiseki-no Hoshi (奇跡の地球(ほし) Earth of miracle (1995)

Keisuke Kuwata and Yuzo Kamon[edit]

  • Kuwata Keisuke, Yuzo Kamon & Victor Wheels Live!(嘉門雄三 & Victor Wheels Live! (1982)

Film work, record scoring[edit]

Kuwata directed the movie, Inamura Jane, for which he composed the music. It was released on September 8, 1990 by Toho.[3] Previously, he composed the music for Aiko 16-sai in 1983, which won the Award of the Japanese Academy for Newcomer of the Year, and the Yokohama Film Festival's Festival Prize for Yasuko Tomita as Best New Actress.[4] He has also written the scores for several Japanese films. Kuwata wrote the theme song, "Ashita Hareru Kana", featured in the popular Japanese television drama series, Operation Love, which won the award for "Best Television Theme Song" at the 53rd Japanese Television Awards, in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kuwata, Keisuke (1998–2009). "Top 100 Japanese pops Artists - No.1". 2009 All Media Guide , Muze Inc., japan music data (in Japanese and English). Japan: HMV. pp. 音楽 情報ニュース/. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Pop Vocalist Keisuke Kuwata Diagnosed With Cancer
  3. ^ Inamura Jane
  4. ^ "Awards for Aiko 16-sai". IMDB internet awards. IMDB Internet. 1983. Retrieved 2009-05-26. 

Further listening[edit]

桑田佳祐 小倉博和 Act Against AIDS 1999