The Big Bird

More than two months have passed since the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and foreign media gradually proceeded to report about other happenings around the globe, resulting in many slowly forgetting about the events on March 11, only recalling them when something new is going on at the Fukushima power plant.We have previously reported about various charity projects from Japanese artists like X Japan’s Yoshiki auctioning off his custom made Kawai CR-40 crystal grand piano through his foundation, “The Yoshiki Foundation,” and GACKT’s “Show your heart” project in which he asked his fans from all over the world to collect donations and show their support via YouTube by writing the words “Show your heart” on a piece of paper and saying a few words of encouragement.

Another project that can be found on YouTube is the “Artists Support Japan” project. Artists from all over the world with various musical backgrounds took the time to record songs which can be listened to free of charge at the respective YouTube Channel ( The project’s aim is to support the Japanese people on their long road to recovery through music. After all, every one of us has probably already experienced the healing influence music can have when we feel sad, hopeless or depressed.

Among the artists participating in this project, you will also find Kyoji Yamamoto, lead guitarist and vocalist of the Japanese hard rock band BOWWOW. In collaboration with Atsuko Matano, who is in charge of the images and words seen in the video, he released a 10 minute long song called “Ookina Tori,” meaning “The Big Bird”.

The gentle piano/guitar duet tells a story about our planet Earth, human beings and space, all of which is underlined by Atsuko Matano’s images. During the first 4 minutes sadness is the dominating feeling delivered through the music, but later it changes to hope. While listening to the song you might start wondering why it sounds so familiar to you; a question which is answered in the very end, when it is revealed that “The Big Bird” consists, in fact, of two Christian songs. The first part is actually “El cant dels ocells,” an old Catalan Christmas carol and folk song in which more than thirty bird species celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The second part consists of “Ave Maria,” the musical version of one of the most spoken prayers among Christians.

Regardless of any religion or believe, Kyoji Yamamoto chose these two songs because “they have got beautiful melodies.” So, regardless of what God you believe in, if you are curious how Christian songs sound when played by a Japanese rock legend, go to YouTube and listen to the story about our planet, about us and about space.

Article by: Tamara M.

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