‘Songs of Hope’, an Ode to Music by Joe Hisaishi

On this album, the Japanese composer unites the greatest sources of success in his career, including pieces previously unreleased on CD.


WordsLéa-Trâm Berrod

© Omar Cruz / Columbia Artists Music LLC.

Released in August 2021, Songs of Hope: The Essential Joe Hisaishi Vol. 2 follows a first album entitled Dream Songs: The Essential Joe Hisaishi. Music from iconic films (Spirited Away and Porco Rosso), orchestral works and solo piano recordings are all among the twenty-eight remastered tracks included on this album. Two of them are previously unreleased and from films of the same name by Takeshi Kitano, ‘HANA-BI’ and ‘Kids Return’. 

Over the course of his career, which has spanned over forty years, Joe Hisaishi —real name Mamoru Fujisawa— has released almost one hundred compositions. Known particularly for having collaborated with Hayao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano, the conductor has received several awards. An eight-time winner of the Japanese Academy Award for Best Music, he is ‘the most acclaimed Japanese composer to have ever worked in film’, according to Pitchfork. Thus, with an eclectic universe inspired by minimal, experimental electronic and classical music, he has reached listeners all over the world. 


A reluctant entry into streaming

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Hisaishi was forced to cancel his orchestral tours. Like Studio Ghibli who never wanted to digitalise their art, the lockdown periods pushed the Japanese composer to get involved in streaming. ‘At times like this, people focus first and foremost on the essentials: having a place to sleep, food to eat, but there’s no doubt that emotionally, things like music and the arts are also essential for us as human beings’, he explained to the Japan Times.

Thanks to Dream Songs, he brought comfort to his listeners while they were confined to their homes. With Songs of Hope, available on various digital platforms, the composer gives courage for the return to life after the health crisis. Nevertheless, the musician still believes that nothing can beat a real concert. ‘With streaming, everything is focused on singles. That means an artist’s depth doesn’t have the chance to shine through’, he declared to the Japanese newspaper.


Songs of Hope: The Essentiel Joe Hisaishi Vol. 2 (2021), an album by Joe Hisaishi produced by Universal Music. 

© Decca Gold

© Decca Gold