Tomuya
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Tomuya

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Discography

"La Bicyclette" Extract from fortcoming album "Un Japonais à Paris" on internet site www.tomuya.com
4 track promotial CD released nov. 2006
"Ruby Dragonflies" 1999
"The night of wandering" 1982

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Bio

After receiving a fine arts degree in Tokyo where he studied Nô and Haiku, Tomuya started performing in avant-garde theatre in the late Sixties. He then played in a group with Ryuichi Sakamoto and performed at « Ginpari », a famous “Chanson” cabaret. There he discovered the works of Charles Trenet, Jacques Brel, Brassens, Barbara, Leo Ferré, and won his first contest with a song by Michel Polnareff.

In the Seventies, he published a book of poetry inspired by Lautréamont and Rimbaud, and adapted the songs of Brigitte Fontaine. In 1973, he travelled to Paris and discovered its concert halls : le Lapin Agile, le Caveau des Oubliettes, Don Camillo, the Olympia.

Back in Japan, he met success in 1982 with his first album, the funky «Night of wandering » (Warner). During this period, he directed « Cabaret Children », singing in many languages and creating new revues. He also produced other artists and presented a TV program filmed in Paris which brought to the Japanese public shows from Chez Michou, Le Paradis Latin, Le Casino…

In 1992, he settled in France, learnt the language and called upon his jazz experience to create his own show, a medley of standards and original songs including a first French composition « Le fleuve de la Jeunesse » (“River of youth”). In 1993 and 1995 he paid tribute to French Chanson at the Vieille Grille. The same year, he created « JAZZ 45 » in Tokyo, a show about the postwar jazz scene in Japan.

In 1996, he teamed up with composer Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch’s musical alter ego, and recorded an album in New York, « Ruby Dragonflies » (Crossover). Boris Bergman provided the lyrics. He presented this repertoire at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris in 1998. Also a cinema buff and collector of film posters, he produced a show in Paris and Tokyo in 1999 under the banner « Movie songs ».

In 2001, with a little help from two accomplished jazzmen, Francis Lockwood and Jean-Philippe Viret, Tomuya recorded an album. These musicians backed him at the « La Bohême » club where he presented Japanese versions of «Le Poinçonneur des Lilas » and other songs such as « Le Jazz et la Java ». He also paid tribute to Boris Vian in « Je bois », and to Michel Legrand and Dréjac with « Summer of 42 ». The following year, he presented the show « Dog buried in the sand » , a reference to Goya’s painting.

November 2006 : Beluga, Tomuya's indie label, releases a promotional CD containing 4 tracks from his forthcoming 14 track album "A Japanese in Paris" due for release in February- March 2007.

It is the result of a “close encounter of the French kind” with :
• Independent producer composer Eric Dufaure, an afficionado of cross-cultural projects (Pascal of Bollywood, the cast albums from “Irma la Douce” , “Judy and me”, “Lio sings Prévert”, “Iris”, the show by choreographer Philippe Decouflé), former MD of EMI Publishing France (1997-2001)where he worked with Saint-Germain, Richard Bona, Mino Cinelu, Noa and Youssou n’Dour, former Communications Director of rights society Sacem (1987-1996) where he produced documentaries on composers and writers, and former MD of Island Artists USA (1977) where he signed Grace Jones.
• musician Michel Taïeb (from the group Martine City Queen), arranger and also creator of street theater events.
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The recording is a Far Eastern tribute to French culture and an expression of the artist’s own « Paris syndrome » : a passion for the city, its people and its music, tempered by bittersweet Japanese melancholy with a French touch.

Recorded in Paris at the Studios de la Seine in 2005 and 2006, the album revisits twelve song classics, with Japanese and French lyrics, and offers two original songs. One travels from Gainsbourg (« Le poinçonneur des Lilas, Les p’tits papiers ») to Montand (« La Bicyclette » by Barouh and Francis Lai) via Nougaro («Jazz et la Java »),, Michel Polnareff (« Love me, please love me »),, Jo Dassin (« Les Champs-Elysées »), Juliette Gréco (« Il n’y a plus d’après » written by Guy Béart), Michel Legrand (« Nous voyageons ») and Charles Trenet (« Que reste-t-il de nos amours ? »). The 2 original songs co-written by Tomuya are “Gin” and “La Bossa des chats”.

In his approach to French Chanson, Tomuya innovates. His “crooner” vocal style, offbeat arrangements and cool “retro-futurist” approach create something special. During his Paris travels, he met up with a diverse group of artists and invited them to mix their voices with his in a new “dialogue of cultures” :
• Liane Foly, groovy on a flamenco version of “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”
• Bernard Lavilliers, masterful in a Tango treatment of “Le Poinçonneur des Lilas”, which was presented live on French TV (France 2) last April in the program “Gainsbourg pour toujours”
• Mona Soyoc, singer in cult 80s band “Kas Product”, and raucous on “Gin”
• Pierpoljak, in a bluesy reggae treatment of Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages”
• Lio, coy in “Les Champs-Elysées”, a Japanese favorite