Keiko Matsui: Heart & Soul
AAJ: Can you tell me about the story behind the song, "Marula ?
KM: Oh yes, I picked some fruit from an elephant tree. My friend Hugh Masekela, a legend, invited me to his cousin's birthday party. At the party his wife Elinam introduced me to this drink made from a Marula tree which is sometimes called an Elephant Tree. For them, it is a very spiritual tree. It is called an Elephant Tree because elephants sometimes eat the fruit in the wilderness. So, imagining this fruit and the animals led me to compose "Marula.
AAJ: I think it is such a great story how trombonist Jonas Gwangwa, introduced you to the manager of a piano factory so that you could compose.
KM: Yes, I commuted there everyday. It was a very different environment, because in Japan or the United States I would be in the studio with my piano. There were so many pianos and they were all set on the ground. When it got dark, it would get cold. A melody came to me there when I was writing there, a song that I call, "A Great Romance.
AAJ: There are so many innovative things about your music, but I think most importantly it is always so unique. There is nothing really comparable to it. I think it is due partly to your ability to blend the eastern and western cultures.
KM: I hope that people recognize it as good music. Scenery and the spirituality are very important aspects to my music. I hope that, with this album, people will experience romance, adventure or any other of the many elements in my music.
AAJ: I think that the title is very fittingHeart & Soul, as in the heart and soul that you put into your music, but also the heart and soul of Africa. That is the autonomy of art in play.
KM: With this album and the recording process, I made a lot of new friends, and many great musicians and it was a wonderfully warm feeling to be surrounded by my friends, it was exciting. I recorded a song called "Black River one day while I was driving through the countryside and I saw a big bird gliding on the river, and it was very beautiful.
AAJ: Paul Taylor plays on that track. You actually discovered Paul and he has gone on to have a flourishing career. That element of camaraderie must be very rewarding.
KM: He was one of my band members before and he played on my seventh album, so it was like a reunion. The way that he works with me on my music is so special. I hope that people enjoy this album, and come out to see us at a show.
Keiko Matsui, Moyo: Heart & Soul (Shout Factory, 2007)
Keiko Matsui, Walls of Akendora (Narada, 2005)
Keiko Matsui, Summer Selection (Sony/Columbia, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, The Very Best of Keiko Matsui (GRP Records, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, Wildflower (Narada, 2004)
Keiko Matsui, White Owl (Narada, 2003)
Keiko Matsui, Live in Tokyo (Sony/Columbia, 2002)
Keiko Matsui, The Ring (Narada, 2002)
Keiko Matsui, A Gift of Life (Narada, 2001)
Keiko Matsui, The Wind and the Wolf (Pione, 2000)
Keiko Matsui, Keiko Matsui Live (Countdown, 1999)
Keiko Matsui, Full Moon and the Shrine (Countdown, 1998)
Keiko Matsui, A Gift of Hope (Unity, 1997)
Keiko Matsui, Dream Walk (Countdown, 1996)
Keiko Matsui, Sapphire (White Cat, 1995)
Keiko Matsui, Cherry Blossom (White Cat, 1992)
Keiko Matsui, Night Waltz (Sin-Drome Records, 1991)
Keiko Matsui, No Borders (MCA Records, 1990)
Keiko Matsui, Under Northern Lights (MCA Records, 1989)
Keiko Matsui, A Drop of Water (Passport Jazz Records, 1987)
Cosmos, Keiko Project (Canyon Records, 1985)
Cosmos, MUSOU TOSHI (Canyon Records, 1984)
Cosmos, (Canyon Records, 1983)
Cosmos, Bourbonsuite (Canyon Records, 1982)
Cosmos, HYORYU (Toshiba-EMI, 1980-1981)
Courtesy of Keiko Matsui