Joji Hirota is a Japanese shakuhachi and percussion player. In The Gate, he presents with a group of his compositions plus his arrangements of some traditional Japanese folk songs. Three songs are sung by him and one by a young boy. There are three pieces for Japanese percussion. Right from the start, listening to the first piece, listeners will be enchanted by the sound of a string quintet and shakuhachi. Although the arrangements are Western in nature, the pace of Hirota's music has a typically Japanese character. There is a kind of calmness, meditative feeling in a way, found normally in traditional Japanese music, except of course for the percussion pieces that are characteristic of the verve of this type of music. Joji Hirota produces a most enchanting music, not in a negative sense of a cute music, but in the very positive sense of a deeply entrancing music. A must.
AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes