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WONG WING TSAN

Pianist and composer Wong Wing Tsan is the leading figure in Japan's New Age Music scene. His music, often referred to as "healing music", touches the hearts of many with its power to heal the tired and wounded soul. Wong, who enjoys the adoration of countless fans, was born in Kobe, Japan in 1949. He started his professional career as a musician at the age of nineteen playing Jazz, Soul and Modern Music. A meditative experience in 1988 led to his discovery of the music in him, prompting him to set up Satowa Music in 1991. He has since released 13 CDs from his label, each album a long-seller, while remaining true to his philosophy of distancing himself from commercialism, releasing music that he believes in and none other.
Wong's performances over these last 2 decades focus mainly on his improvisational work on the solo piano, spreading out into different territories ranging from classic Japanese children's songs to Jazz.
In 1997, he wrote the theme song for The NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Japan's non-commercial, public broadcasting system) Special, Kazokuno Shozo ( A Portrait of the Family) TV series. In 1998, he reunited with the original members of his band from 30 years ago to form the Jazz trio WIM and released albums WIM in 1999 and WIM2, On THE SMALL ROAD in 2001. Wong flew to Bosnia in 1999 to cover the landmine problem. He wrote the music to a poem written by a young Bosnian girl. The song, entitled "If There Were No Mines ", was used as the campaign song for a Landmine Victims Assistance program. A special four track CD of the same title was also released in 2000. More recently, he wrote the theme song to "Kokorono Jidai "
( "The Age of the Heart ") on NHK's Education Channel. He is constantly touring all around Japan as well as making frequent concert performances abroad.
Wong's solo piano interlaced with soulful improvisations is what makes his piano unique. The beauty in his flowing improvisations on the classic Japanese children's songs is what captivates the listeners' ears. People are moved to tears by the depths of the purity in his feelings when they first listen to his album Doh Yoh@(a collection of classic Japanese children's songs). The improvised phrases created by Wong are filled with unbound forgiveness, which is what reaches out to people and touches them. Wong forgives all that takes place in this world by playing the piano. He forgives all those that listen and accepts himself for who he is.
As is apparent by listening to WIM2 On The Small Road, Wong's improvisations are what make his Jazz original. When Wong plays Jazz, he grows a pair of wings with which he tells his own story as he soar the skies freely, riding the air current as he pleases and stopping at times to listen to his friends.
His message is the pillar that upholds his music, which is why his is a never-ending story. His story includes episodes of Wong's father who came from Hong Kong to Japan as an immigrant, and of Wong in his youth, traveling by boat to Hong Kong in search of his roots. Who was he and where did he come from? His music is filled with the quiet confidence of a man who has transcended the concept of nationality, a state of mind that is achieved after one has come to terms with his identity.
Even though Wong started his musical career as a Jazz musician, he later became known as the Master of New Age Music. It is my belief that the essence behind this title and the qualities of an improvisation artist are rooted in Jazz. Jazz demands the "here " and "now " from a performer and tells him to bare his soul. One cannot be an improvisation artist if he refuses to come to terms with the good and the bad within himself.
It is only of recent years that he finally felt that it was time to start playing Jazz again. That both original members Wong played together with 30 years ago immediately responded to his call must have surely been a gift from above. The unification of the three members sublimated the Jazz they made from "a process of picking up the pieces from their youth " to one of "fulfilling the lost dreams from their youth ".
By Yo Nakagawa
Translated Kyoko Matsuda





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