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This week the press has been full of articles about the latest high-tech addition to gravestones. Now you can add a QR code (either engraved or simply stuck-on) to a gravestone which will allow people to call up a video of, or about, the deceased person. This reminded me about my plans to have one of my favourite pieces of music played at my funeral. Rather than simply subject my family and friends to a single, one-off dose of my musical selection perhaps I can have one of these chips engraved onto my grave and visitors can, in years to come, get to know a little about my taste in music.
Just imagine if 900 years ago Sir Henry Duggleby had this technology available to him. What would we have seen in his video (perhaps a film clip of the famous knight out hunting with his favourite ferret on the Yorkshire moors or galloping with King Richard the Lionheart through France on the way to the crusades). If you are not familiar with Sir Henry Duggleby and our long family history please take a look at the Duggleby History page which can be found here.
So what is this piece of music that I intend to subject my mourners and the visitors to my grave to? It is a song called ‘Infection’ by the Japanese lady singer Onitsuka Chihiro (鬼束 ちひろ). Not that I have any intention of being killed by an infection – the name of the song is just a coincidence. This incredible singer is not very well-known in the western world and the song infection is less famous than I believe it deserves due to a fluke of history. The song was due for release in September 2001 and we all know that on the 11th day of that month there was a very dramatic and catastrophic terrorist event in New York.
To avoid any potential controversy which might have arisen from a misinterpretation of some of the lyrics of ‘Infection’ it was decided to heavily promote an alternative single called ‘Little Beat Rifle’. The two songs were released as a double A-sided single. ‘Little Beat Rifle’ is nice but not nearly as emotionally charged and moving as ‘Infection’ (and I definitely do not want to hear ‘Little Beat Rifle’ at my funeral or have its link on my grave stone – family please note!). I suspect the potential controversy with 9/11 related to the chorus in the song ‘Infection’ which when translated into english means “Exploded and spattered, these pieces of heart, sparkles everywhere, but since when have I become so weak?”. The Japanese text was referring to a deadly disease rather than the aftermath of a terrorist incident.
I guess the best way to explain why I like ‘Infection’ is to share it with you. Below is the video produced at the time the song was released (readers in some countries – like Germany – may not be able to play this first video: I also had to access it via my UK server. So underneath it I have included another clip of a live version from the DVD ‘Ultimate Crash ’02 Live At Budokan’). Acknowledgement and thanks go to Toshiba EMI/Virgin Tokyo – most of the tracks below come from the period when Onitsuka Chihiro worked with them (and produced 4 platinum albums, 2 platinum and 4 gold singles).
Here is the original video produced for the release of Infection:
If anyone is interested in the full English translation of the lyrics please let me know via the comments box below.
As mentioned above this song was originally released in November 2001. Onitsuka Chihiro has also released a number of other very good songs which like ‘Infection’ she wrote herself. Although these were hits in Japan and to a lesser extent in other parts of Asia (I discovered her when I lived in Taiwan nearly 10 years ago) they are to a large extent unknown in the west. This is the case for a lot of other good music which has been produced in recent years in Japan and other parts of Asia. Generally the songs are written in their local languages and in my experience it is not easy to translate them into English without losing the original impact and beauty (try listening to ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ in Japanese!).
If you are interested in hearing (and seeing) more of the work of this very talented singer/songwriter I have included a few more clips below. In some cases I have again added duplicate versions of the songs in case the first ones are not accessible in your country.
You can read more about Onitsuka Chihiro on Wikipedia (her own homepage is only in Japanese). If you want to obtain more examples of her work one of the best introductions is on the compilation album The Ultimate Collection: Chihiro Onitsuka (note the transposition of the names) containing 15 songs and released by Toshiba-EMI in December 2004.
Happy listening – when I hear her singing it reminds me there is more to life than just living
The clip below is Me Mai (眩暈 or Vertigo in English):
The clip below is Ibara no Umi (Sea of Thorns):
The clip below is Watashi To Warutsu Wo (Trick Ending):
The clip below is Ryuuseigun – Trick Ending
If you like what you see and hear in these samples please explore further; there are many more songs. Onitsuka Chihiro’s albums and hits are listed in Wiki but do not restrict yourself to the major hits. Some of the most beautiful discoveries are to be found hidden in the albums.
I am sure Heaven will be full of music from Onitsuka Chihiro; just one more reason to try to be good on Earth! If you have any comments, suggestions or recommendations please use the box below.