WRWTFWW Records and MEG Museum (Geneva) announce a new full-length album by celebrated Japanese percussionist Midori Takada, in collaboration with Buddhist monks belonging to the Samgha group of the Shingon school of Koya-san, led by Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa. Recorded at The Premises Studio (London) and in Tokyo in 2019, You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana is a majestic work combining a suite of six Buddhist liturgical chants and a musical creation by Midori Takada. The Buddhist chants come from three types of repertoires: shomyo ("Teisan", "Unga-Bai", "Sange", "Taiyo"), but also goeika ("Kannon-Daiji") and mantra ("Hannya-Singyo").
After supervising the recording of the Buddhist chants, Midori Takada added her own compositions, with subtle layers of percussion and the melodies of her beloved marimba, giving full life to the sacred texts. Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa explains: "Shomyo is a form of declamation of sacred esoteric texts, inherited over many generations. The power of words goes far beyond their mere pronunciation. I think there is something that words alone cannot really convey. If I recite prayers in a musical way, the feeling transmitted will be even stronger than if I say it normally, in everyday language. I think that the musicality of a work carries a hidden power that cannot be expressed in words alone. The setting of the music has an additional power for you and for those around you who listen to it. The words of a song are not just words set to music. They carry an additional hidden power that cannot be expressed in any other way. Listening to Midori Takada's musical performance, the words truly seem to come alive."
Original recordings of the Buddhist chants are held in the International Archives of Folk Music (IAFM) at the MEG Museum in Geneva. The album sleeve features an artwork by famed Japanese sculptor Katsura Funakoshi selected by Midori Takada.