Joji Hirota


Joji Hirota

Joji Hirota was born in Hokkaido in North Japan.  At the age of eleven, he began a lifelong study of percussion and has been composing from the age of thirteen.  In 1972 he came to England at the invitation of Stomu Yamas'ta to become the director and percussionist of the Red Buddah Theatre and has lived here ever since.  In 1977 he became the musical director and percussionist for the Lindsay Kemp Dance Company. With them Joji toured extensively throughout Europe, Mexico, Canada and the USA, South America and Japan.

He met Ant for the first time in 1980 when they worked together on the music for the TV series Rule Britannia.  This collaboration has continued to produce some outstanding music on a regular basis on album releases as well as Library and Television soundtrack work.

Joji has played on numerous sessions for a wide variety of artists.  In 1991 he formed Trisan with former Clannad member Pol Brennan and Chinese flautist Guo Yue and they recorded an acclaimed album for Realworld.  The group toured Europe, Canada and Japan. In November 1992, Trisan recorded their first album, which obtained the No.1 nomination by Tower Records New York in 1993 for best contemporary instrumental music. In 1993, the group toured the USA.  

In February 2004, Joji received a commendation from Ambassador Orita for his contribution to the introduction of Japanese culture in UK through the medium of Taiko drumming and other musical activities.

Joji has recorded several solo albums, including The Gate which features an eclectic mix of emotional vocals interwoven with Taiko drumming, shakuhachi and string quintet.  His latest album is Japanese Folk Songs which features hauntingly beautiful melodies that create images of traditional life in Japan. 

Joji continues to work on a number of diverse musical projects and also performs live concerts on a regular basis.

2008 saw the release of Wildlife which features highlights from several of the Television projects he has collaborated with Ant on over the years.


Selected Discography

Albums with Ant

Missing Links Volume 3: Time & Tide (1997) 

A compilation of Library and Television music recorded by Ant and Joji between 1992 and 1997.

See the main discography entry for this album for more information



Wildlife (2008)

A selection of highlights from the music that Ant and Joji have written and recorded for various wildlife television programmes.

See the main discography entry for this album for more information

Joji has also contributed to a number of Ant's other albums including Invisible Men, New England and Sail The World.  Ant and Joji have also collaborated on a number of soundtracks for wildife television programmes - more details can be found in the Media section.


Joji's solo albums

Japanese Folk Songs (2007)

1. Solan Bushi
2. Sakura Variations
3. Kodomo No Uta Medorei
4. Haru No Umi
5. Esashi Oiwake
6. Komori Uta
7. Kokiriko Bushi
8. Jawa Kai No Shima Jima
9. Komoro Mago Uta
10. Takeda No Komori Uta



Japanese Taiko (2004)

1. Harvest
2. Pageant
3. Haru - Ichiban
4. Musashi Mai Uchi
5. Hokkai II
6. Chido-Setsu
7. Suisei - Hanabi
8. Heart Beat
9. Yuki Jizoh



The Gate (1999)      

1. Reminiscences II
2. Esashi Oiwake
3. Hiten, Ryu And The Pageants Compete
4. Komori Uta
5. Profoundly
6. Kokirio Melody
7. Hokkai
8. Lullaby From Takeda
9. The Gate



Rain Forest Dream (1990)

1. Ubiquity
2. Purple Spring
3. Celebration of Harvest
4. Malaysian Image
5. Satellite Express
6. Rain Forest Dream
7. Demon Dance
8. Pacific Samba



The Wheel of Fortune (1981)

1. Sublimation
2. The Sunlight Peak
3. Water Dragon
4. Reminiscence
5. Pure Joy
6. A Song Soars Tomorrow
7. Dreams of Silver River
8. Fire Dragon
9. Celestial Voice
10. The Wheel of Fortune



Sahasurara (1976)

1. The Ancient Consciousness of Evil Spirit
2. Process of Cloud
3. A Point of Contact
4. A Billion Years' Memory
5. The Law of Causality
6. Sahasurara - Sunrise

Album released as George Hirota


Collaborations with other artists

Joji Hirota & Pete Lockett: Taiko to Tabla (2004)

1. Kokiriko-Bushi
2. Pageant II
3. First Thoughts
4. Hisho
5. M'Bira Dream
6. Koravi on Chennais Sandy Shore
7. Invocation, from Past to Present
8. Seventh Element of Glaciers
9. Chappa Chappa Ki-da-ta-ka
10. Solan-Bushi



Guo Yue & Joji Hirota: Red Ribbon (1994)

1.Goodbye Again
2. Beginning
3. Little Bird
4. Red Ribbon
5. Misty Lake
6. Pneuma (Exhalation)
7. Mountain Path
8. Element
9. Himalayas



Trisan (Joji Hirota, Guo Yue & Pol Brennan): Trisan (1993)

1. Triangle
2. Big Trouble In Old Ballymore
3. May Yo I
4. Dragon
5. Mother And Son
6. Wintermoon
7. River of Life
8. Tri Le Cheile

Selected session appearances

Stomu Yamsh'ta & His Red Buddha Theatre - Man From The East (Island Records, 1973)

Bernard Szajner  - Brute Reason (1983)

The English National Opera - Pacific Overtures (Original Cast Recording)
(That's Entertainment Records, 1988)

Jah Wobble & Invaders of the Heart - Celtic Poets (1999)


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