Matsumi Hatano interview transcript
Matsumi Hatano: Mr. Mamiya, he called me then he told me about the project, roughly. But even from his very short talking about this project, I thought this going to be really important for me. I mean, important event for me inside, I mean, because of the concert. It's so deep and big for maybe everybody. But so he said he wanted to sing in his piece and if I said yes, he would like to put the singing part. So I said, "Well, this is so greattoo great, too big for me," then I told him please let me take my timemaybe two or three days to decide to do that. Because I didn't want to say yes casually. So I thought about that for three days. Then I could read some concept about this project then I thought again: This is going to be a very important concert for me. To think about something ... it's not new, but deeply, deeper than before, I did. So I decided to do itnot just for my music career or anythingjust to find something inside me. So that's the first impression, kind of.
Dan Olson: Say a word about Mr. Mamiya's piece, "Germ." Vocally, is it a very demanding piece?
MH: Very much. And it is not easy for me to sing. I mean the range is not ... vocal range is not little, it's quite big. So ... and the expression, I got to use every emotion and every kind of my vocal color in that piece just for maybe 10 minutes? For my part. But I got to use everything. In a way so it's great, really great.
DO: Is ... say more. Talk more about your feeling about a commemoration and what do you think is the healing power of music?
MH: I don't ... actually from the musician's side, I don't think we can say we can heal somebody. I would think. Because from the listeners or audience, I can always get very warm comment: We've been healed by your singing or voice or music. Then first, year as my professional singer, I got a comment, kind of that, from my audience. And I was kind of wondering or surprised: Why these people said so? Then I have been keeping ... I keep thinking about it always because I never try to heal or I never thought about that when I sing, because in singing, or in practice, I always struggle, or trying so hard to get into or to ... get close to the soul of composer or atmosphere of the period or anything.
I'm struggling always to give a birth, kind of, in expression. So in my struggling they feel a kind of healing. That I was always surprised about that, then-in these two, one, or one and a half year-kind of feeling I've arrived, it's not because of me, it's maybe ... it's just born in their mind if they were healing by themselves. I mean the audience. It's not just me. If I thinkthis is my individual opinionif the artist thinks "I'm going to heal somebody," or "I want to heal somebody by this music," in my opinion, I don' t know that it's going to happen to the audience so. It's always happening, so ... luckily or ... it's inspiration between the audience and artist ... So maybe healing is always bond between the audience and artist ... kind of.
DO: Well said. Beautifully said.
DO: Yes. Very much. Does the idea of a commemoration, do you think, reopen old wounds? Is it controversial among your friends, among your family, among people you know? Is this a controversial idea?
MH: "Controversial." I don't get that.
DO: Where did all my words go? I've lost my words now. Does the idea of a commemoration cause arguments?
MH: Between my family? Friends?
DO: Friends, family ... anyone you know?
MH: About attending this project? Not at all. Not at all. So many friends and my family ... and my teachers, they were surprised about the original concept about this. Because, unfortunately, I've never heard about this kind of project in Japan. So, I definitely would like to play these pieces ... play in Japan, bring out to Japan with all of them.
DO: What do you think would be ... why would that be important to do, do you think?
MH: Well even my parents don't have experience to attend the Second World War, or that kind of war, because he was about 10 and my mother was five years old. So they had just a little remember about they couldn't eat, or they were always hungry. Or sometimes, she still remembers about the sign or sounds from the airplane to bomb a city. Still, she was five years old. Sometimes they talked about that to us, to me and my brother. But, well, that's all, actually.
So when I felt first about Japan is one of the parts of the Asian country ... when I went out from Japan to study singing in England. So before that, I didn't know why, I didn't like at all about Japanese way of thinking or behaving. It was too narrow, not open minded. In my way, I thought so selfishly. Then I went to England, and I was staying in an international hostel. Then the students mostly fromI don't rememberfrom 80 countries, or ... yeah ... in the international hostel. One hundred students from 80 countries, kind of. So I shared a double room with Chinese girl from Hong Kong. She told me so many English 24 hours. So it was so good and I could have so many Asian friend in London. I didn't expect any of that. I just thought about English people when I was in Japan. But, in London-such big city-and got so many people from everywhere in the world. There, I could have a friend form Malasia, Singapore, India, and Pakistan and everywhere.
So it was so nice to have a kind of feeling, you don't have to say anything. Then, because of my studying in England, I could feel I am an Asian, kind of. Do you understand? It's hard to tell, and I try to tell about this to Japanese people, to a Japanese friend in Japan, but it was so hard to understand with him. But I like Asia very much.
DO: Mitsumi Hatano, thank you so much for coming by to talk with us. Really a pleasure.
MH: Not at all.
DO: Your English is just superb.
DO: You're able to express yourself with such depth of feeling that it's really moving.
MH: Really? Oh, that's good.