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Essay “The Sound of the Heart”

March , 2019
“Utagoe no Hibiki (Echoes of singing voices) – Danjukariyushi”

“Let us start quietly.”
We said to each other, hitting it off right away and started discussing how to put the story into the 4 minutes of the music.
Daichi Miura, Akira Senju and I, rehearsed for the first time, two days before the actual ceremonial event. It was a rare occasion for me to perform a non-classical piece of music,but I felt comfortable as my brother Akira had made the musical arrangements.
Artist, Daichi Miura is amazing. He has just turned in his 30’s, but his soul for music was truly mature. I was so surprised.
I knew that he was an incredibly talented dancer but this time, he completely shut out dancing.
Our performance was for the ceremony to commemorate Emperor Akihito’s 30 years of enthronement, held at the National Theater on February 24th. The song sung by the Okinawa born artist Daichi Miura was “Utagoe no Hibiki”, of which the poem was written by Emperor Akihito, and music composed by Empress Michiko.
My brother Akira Senju arranged its original piece of music and had made the version for this occasion. The original song “Utagoe no Hibiki” was the song about the time when the Imperial couple visited Okinawa Leprosy Sanitarium in 1975. Back then, the people in the Sanitarium, so touched by the Imperial couple’s visit, sang the Okinawa folk song “Danjokareyushi (Danjukariyushi)”. The song is a famous, traditional folk tune to celebrate departing ships and the people in the Sanitarium started singing it in a big chorus as a farewell to the Imperial couple.
My brother arranged the song by featuring both the songs “Utagoe no Hibiki” and the “Danjokareyoshi”, making it into one song.
Therefore, we needed to put the story into the song as mentioned above.
Very quiet at first, gradually heating up, becoming something very heart warming.
On stage, allured by Akira Senju’s piano, Daichi Miura started singing “Utagoe no Hibiki” quietly, suppressing his feelings, and sang as though if he was squeezing out his voice. I followed by playing the melody which was the “Danjokareyoshi” itself. I loved the arrangement by Akira Senju as it made the music sound like music that came from somewhere beyond our memories. The 2 melodies were sung and played simultaneously towards the end. Strong emotions welled up from the soul of the heart, which were indeed the love of the Emperor and the Empress, the souls of the people in Okinawa, the thoughts of Daichi Miura, all of which Akira Senju had woven into the song.
On February 26th, two days after the ceremony, I was invited to the Tea Party at the Imperial Court and had the greatest honour of receiving greetings and blessings about the performance from the Imperial couple and the members of the Imperial Family.
Next month on April 1st, the new era name will be announced.
The last Ceremony of commemoration in the Heisei era and the Tea Party truly touched my heart so deeply and have become the unforgettable and dearest memories in my life.