If you're now between 20 and 30 (or younger/older, anyway), were you used to watch any kind of cartoons during your childhood? If so, there's a chance that you watched some Japanese animated films by Hayao Miyazaki and his team from the Studio Ghibli. If not, it's not too late to watch them. ;) All the soundtracks of Miyazaki's films were provided by the great Joe Hisaishi, now 60, who is also recognized for the film soundtracks for the filmmaker Takeshi Kitano. I still remember watching the 1999 film "Kikujiro's Summer" on theatre with my class of secondary school and quite liked it.
To give support to Japan after the earthquake in March and help Japanese children to love playing music instruments, it was announced last month that people can attend charity concerts held by the talented Joe Hisaishi only in Tokyo, Osaka, Paris and Beijing, respectively on 9th, 18th, 23rd June and 9th July 2011. That created envy and happiness among the large fans community of Hisaishi. The Paris concert will take place on Thursday 23rd June 2011 and will be the first concert in France for the composer and the unique one in Europe. It's organized by Torpedo Productions and Shimizu Octo and it will last 2 hours 20 min, including an interval. According to the official website of the Paris concert, he will play some songs on piano and will be the conductor of the French symphonic orchestra, Star Pop Orchestra. The Belgian soprano Hélène Bernardy, 120 French choir members and the young French choir "choeur des Champs de Saint-Maur" will take part in that concert. The website reported that they will play songs from the famous animated Ghibli films, also from the Kitano's films, 2008 Japanese film "Departures"/"Okuribito" by Yojiro Takita, and the 2010 Japanese film ""Villain"/"Akunin" by Lee Sang-il. They mentioned Buster Keaton as well. Joe Hisaishi actually was involved in a project where he was asked to create the soundtrack for the silent film called "General" by Keaton. Amazingness! The tickets are quite expensive (38,50€, 55€, 71,50€, 110€ depending on the seats), but it's really worth to attend that concert, when you know that Mr. Hisaishi rarely makes public concerts, even in Japan, and that concert will be similar to the breathtaking Budokan concert in 2008. I hope there will be some videos of that series of charity concerts, released later on DVD for example.
Joe Hisaishi in Budokan-Studio Ghibli 25 Years Concert 1/10 from Stanly (thank you!)
Part 1 (above): Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind
Part 2: Princess Mononoke
Part 3: Kiki's Delivery Service
Part 4 - subpart 1 + subpart 2: Ponyo on The Cliff By The Sea
Part 5: Laputa, Castle in The Sky
Part 6: Porco Rosso
Part 7: Howl's Moving Castle
Part 8: Spirited Away
Part 9: My Neighbor Totoro
Part 10 (encore): "Madness" from Porco Rosso
Some films from the Studio Ghibli took an important place in my childhood. I even bought a few years ago a magazine about cinema which offered once posters of all the Miyazaki films and I put my favorite ones on my bedroom's wall at my parents' house. The soundtracks made me appreciate instrumental and classical music. I prefer these Japanese films to the Disney films, because they bring children genius stories, amazing animations and charming characters alongside great music (in an Asian way), and not characters who sing like being in a musical and not the kind of fairytales which end in the way you can guess from the beginning. They teach children true human values and make them understand relations with family, friends, earth and animals, how to think of your future and philosophical thoughts, giving people the oppportunity to imagine themselves the end of the movies depending on how you understand the story. They even make you emotional and your heart full of deep feelings. It's without any doubt that parents should let their children watch these films at least once. I recommend "My Neighbor Totoro" for the youngest (everyone loves Totoro!), and the not well-known "Whisper of The Heart" and "Only Yesterday" (one of my favorite films) for the young adults, I mean, when you're old enough to think of what you'd like to do of your future.