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New posthumous album from famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto announced

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A few months before his death, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto sat down at the piano and performed a final, private concert.

(SOUNDBITE OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO'S "TONG POO")

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

It was late 2022. Sakamoto played selections of his beloved film scores like "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," along with new compositions he had never previously recorded.

SHAPIRO: He was too sick to play the whole set without taking breaks. By then, Sakamoto had battled cancer for years, and he later wrote that, quote, "due to the exertion, I felt utterly hollow afterwards." He died in March of last year. He was 71.

DETROW: Today, Sakamoto's estate announced a new album of songs from that concert, called "Opus," and will come out in August. Here's the first song that's been released, a slow, meditative version of his 1978 classic "Tong Poo."

(SOUNDBITE OF RYUICHI SAKAMOTO'S "TONG POO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Katia Riddle
[Copyright 2024 NPR]