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New posthumous album from famed composer Ryuichi Sakamoto announced

Joel Saget
AFP via Getty Images


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



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.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Katia Riddle
[Copyright 2024 NPR]