Kagrra, :: うたかた [Utakata]

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Songs

Kagrra, :: うたかた [Utakata]
Available on CD Japan: Single | Album [Limited Edition w/ DVD]
DVD: Peace & Smile Carnival 10th Anniversary Concert – 2009.01.03

Haunting and beautiful, this song blends traditional and modern Japanese music styles to create an exquisite work of art. From the first notes, it’s already clear that this cannot be anything but extraordinary. The koto is introduced, delicate, ethereal, bringing the rest of the instruments in. The verses are a delicate exploration of lost love and longing, anchored by a dynamic bass line, steady guitars, and the delicate interplay of classical violin and traditional koto. Singer Isshi’s voice may be a bit jarring at first but it works well with the music, providing contrast to the sweeping background. The instrumental evokes the musical equivalent of a waterfall, again led by the koto and finished by the lead guitar. The final chorus explodes into the climax, the epic soundtrack that leads to the finale.

One of two scenarios enter my mind whenever this song comes on. The first is a movie. Even without understanding the lyrics, the music suggests some kind of a journey that ends in tragedy. The koto always reminds me of sakura petals falling, an image invoking the change of seasons, the passing of time. The second isn’t quite as defined. It’s more of an emotional struggle, a wandering through one’s mind to find an escape. In this scene, the refrain evokes the snap and flap of great wings just before flight. There’s a break in the music towards the end which to me, is that jump. Everything is silent, gravity seems to have no hold. The instruments rush back in like a great wind, seizing and bearing me upwards to catch the draft. In that moment, is pure joy.

The first time I heard this song, it was live. I was towards the back of the venue, could barely see. I’d heard about the band but hadn’t really gotten into them. The first notes hit me like a freight train. I was transfixed, spellbound. I always have trouble trying to describe what happens when I’m swept up in a piece like this. Sometimes I just want to grab someone and shake them because I can’t make them understand. There is such amazing depth and emotion in this song that I often feel like I’m going to burst when I hear it. I couldn’t even think, let alone talk during the performance. All I could do was feel.

Since I don’t fluently understand Japanese, I had to look up the lyrics later on. The music had already reduced me to raw emotion. Learning the words behind it only added another dimension.

( Translation from Wings To Tomorrow )

[ In the slowly flowing time, I think about the distant past
The stars we saw that day shined more than anything. We certainly feel eternity.

[ Embraced fleetingly, the fallen feelings are like a spendidly blooming flower
No matter how many times the seasons change, will you be able to hear this voice?

[ No matter how many times we meet and part, time flows
To the point of drowning in tears someday, my heart overflows with feelings for you

[ Hopes pour down on you, to the end of our changing fates
I am singing of the belief that one day we can meet again

It is pure poetry, the message made even more tragic by the passing of Isshi last year. Kagrra, had disbanded well before that, but his beauty and their collective brilliance will forever be in my heart.


Originally posted here.


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