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‘Sakura’ musician Masa Takumi wins Grammy for best global music album

Musician and composer Masa Takumi won the Grammy Award for best global music album at the 65th annual installment of the event in Los Angeles Sunday night, becoming the first Japanese artist to ever win the category.

The 44-year-old creator, born Masanori Takumi, won for “Sakura,” his fifth full-length solo album released last September. The eight-song collection showcases Takumi using traditional instruments such as koto, shamisen and bansuri (Indian flute), along with touches of modern bass and percussion.

In a description of “Sakura,” Takumi’s website states: “Each spring the presence of cherry blossoms gives us a moment of utmost elegance. With the fleeting nature of this beauty in mind, its blossoming essence is cherished. Through the creation of this album I have given cherry blossoms the ability to bloom not only in the spring but year round in each and every moment of our lives.”

Takumi beat out an album from the Berklee Indian Ensemble and a collaborative release from Anoushka Shankar, the Metropole Orkest, Jules Buckley and Manu Delago. He was also nominated against former best global music album winners Angelique Kidjo and Burna Boy.

Takumi made his recording debut in 2000 as a drummer in the rock band Siren. Starting from 2003, he became a prolific producer and songwriter for J-pop and K-pop acts. He has since written and produced songs for such Japanese groups as AAA, Exile and Da Pump, and has worked with South Korean acts like FT Island and Kara.

This is not Takumi’s first time as a Grammy contender: He played guitar on Jamaican duo Sly and Robbie’s 2011 album “One Pop Reggae,” which was nominated for a best reggae album Grammy, though it did not win.

While Takumi is the first Japanese artist to win in the best global music album category, several other Japanese musicians have won Grammys in the past, including Ryuichi Sakamoto for his work on the soundtrack to “The Last Emperor” in 1987, new age creator Kitaro in 2001 and Tak Matsumoto of rock band B’z for his pop instrumental collaboration with American artist Larry Carlton in 2011. The most recent Japanese Grammy winner before Takumi was conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Saito Kinen Orchestra, who won the 2016 award for best opera recording.


大阪府出身の作編曲家・宅見将典さんが、アメリカ音楽界で最高の栄誉とされるグラミー賞を受賞しました。 ロサンゼルスで開催されているグラミー賞授賞式で「最優秀グローバル・ミュージック・アルバム賞」を受賞したのは、宅見さんが「MASA TAKUMI」名義で去年9月に発売したアルバム「SAKURA」です。 宅見さんは大阪府出身の44歳で、日本時間の午前8時過ぎに受賞の喜びを語りました。 宅見将典さん 「アメリカンサウンドと和楽器の融合を目指して、どちらの国の人にも聞いていただけるような作りにしたので、それが良かったのかなと思います」 また、長崎県出身のドラマーでパーカッショニストの小川慶太さんが参加するバンドが「最優秀コンテンポラリー・インストゥルメンタル・アルバム賞」を受賞しました。


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