thoughts on music, design and literature

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Album Sneak Preview: Madokara Mieru

Surprise surprise! The second song on my album has already been released....sort of. It's called 'Madokara Mieru' (or 'Mado Kara Mieru') and the reason I say that it's sort of been released is because it's actually been covered even before the official release on Calling All Dawns. I know that sounds unusual, but here's the gist of it: Corner Stone Cues, a music library that does licensing of music for movie trailers, heard an early demo of the song and liked it so much that they thought they could license it for a variety of uses; movie trailers, sports coverage, etc. And so with my permission, they recorded their own version of the song, months before I recorded my own. Their version has been released on an album called Corner Stone Cues Presents: Eton Path, which is available on iTunes, Amazon, Walmart, and a number of other places. Already it's been licensed for use for the BBC's coverage of the Premiere League FA Finals and the Beijing Summer Olympic Games, so if you happen to be a British sports fan, you might have heard it already.

What are the differences between the two versions? Theirs was recorded by the London Studio Orchestra at AIR Lyndhurst. Mine was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. Theirs features a British choir and percussion. Mine features an LA based taiko group and a Northern California based choir. Mine also has slightly different orchestrations and arrangements. So all in all, they're not outrageously different.

But just for fun, I thought I'd post a clips from both versions so you could get a sneak preview of what's to come. Here's the intro from my Calling All Dawns version (and by the way, this is still a rough mix):

And here's the dramatic outtro from the Eton Path version:

As for the lyrics, it's sung in Japanese, and is based around a series of five Haiku, each corresponding to the changing seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter and ending on spring. Each verse is sung by a singer in a different stage of their life; so a young girl sings the first spring verse, an adolescent girl sings about summer, an older woman sings about autumn, etc. The song ends with a return of the young girl singing about spring, therefore completing the cycle of the seasons. So in essence, it's a song about the cycle of life.

As for the lyrics, they are:

madokara mieru
(kagayaku) ume ichirin
ichirin hodo no
(sono) atatakasa

madokara mieru
(mabushii) me ni wa aoba
yama hototogisu
(aa) hatsugatsuo

madokara mieru
(sawayaka) akikaze no
yama o mawaru ya
(ano) kane no koe

ikubaku ka aru
[yo mijikashi]

madokara mieru
(hieta) yuki no ie ni
nete iru to omou
(nete) bakari nite

madokara mieru
(tanoshi) ichihatsu no
ichirin shiroshi
(kono) haru no kure

The translations to all these lyrics (with a nod to their authors) are:

Hattori Ransetsu:
Through the window I see
on the plum tree
one blossom, one blossom worth
of warmth

Yamaguchi Sodo:
Through the window I see
a view of greenery
a wild cuckoo
the first bonito

Kaga no Chiyo:
Through the window I see
the autumn wind
resounds in the mountain—
temple bell

Masaoka Shiki:
how much longer
is my life?
[A brief night…]

Masaoka Shiki:
Through the window I see
all I can think of
is being sick in bed
and snowbound….

Masaoka Shiki:
Through the window I see
this lone iris
in spring twilight

Special thanks to Ohgi Midorikawa, who helped me with the adaptation of the poetry!

(Note: the MP3 sample was updated 11/5/08, to reflect a more recent rough mix. To download the clips, click on the triangle to the right.)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good Christopher! I can't wait to hear the full track as well as the whole album. Even thought about working for Immediate Music lol.

Talking of Immediate Music, have you heard their track called "With Great Power"? Very powerful and fantastic choir overtures.

Best regards

A Fan

August 21, 2008 at 4:18 AM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

Thanks for the tip. I have not heard that track, no, but I'll check it out.

August 23, 2008 at 6:17 PM

Blogger Tom Quinn said...

Wow, that's fantastic. Can't wait to pick up the album... which is coming out when?

August 28, 2008 at 9:54 PM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

I'm currently in talks with labels right now to release the album, so hopefully soon (but alas, things are never as simple as one would hope).

Thanks for your support, Tom!

August 29, 2008 at 3:25 PM

Blogger wee.loon said...

Sounds fantastic! The Eton Path version you posted don't quite sound like the one on

Was wondering if that's a rough mix too?

September 30, 2008 at 5:36 AM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

You's entirely possible that in my haste to make this blog post, I posted a clip from the wrong file. So yes, it might be a rough mix....or it might be the instrumental version. I have so many random files floating around my computer, I don't know what's what any more. :)

October 1, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Blogger Ryan Krahn said...

These clips sound great! I had to go straight to iTunes and pick up this track. I especially appreciate the interaction between the music and the well-chosen lyrics. Speaking of which, how did you find and select this poetry?

October 27, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

Ryan, thanks for the support! As for the lyrics, I went out and bought a little $5 book of Japanese haiku, that had both English translations and transliterations of the original Japanese haiku. I think Dover publishes it...there's some great stuff in there.

October 28, 2008 at 4:36 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

As usual you've captured a spirit in both to my ear. The changing voices evoke a purity and simplicity in the preview. I've already got the Eton Path from iTunes, and that arrangement pushes a powerful majesty forward that seems to be the nature side of the equation. Frail humanity with hope welling up and balancing with powerful and unfeeling but majestic nature on the other. It makes a great contrast to my listening. Very much looking forward to the release and hopefully it's in top quality iTunes/iTunes plus when it releases as well!

November 10, 2008 at 9:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds great, I also can't wait for it to come out, I will definitely be buying this, do you have an estimate of when it might come out? this year? beginning of next? I seriously cannot wait.

Best regards, for the best.

-Big fan

November 11, 2008 at 2:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first is really good
i see this music in a movie but without voices!

the second is nice!! in games or war movies

a civ fan

November 11, 2008 at 2:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing Christopher!!!!
Go ahead, you are the best one!!!
Luz Marina Soto
From Venezuela

November 11, 2008 at 5:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess that is good to make two versions of this song, the original song and in english with the same voice,
Nice work.
Congratulations, you are a winner!!!

November 11, 2008 at 5:18 AM

Blogger Red Panda said...

As always I am awed and inspired by your choice of music and arrangements! Thanks and congratulations on getting closer to a Grammy! Keep up the great work!

November 11, 2008 at 6:37 AM

Blogger Gilbert Fadda said...

I truly prefer your is more intimate, more subtil...I do not like the other version which is too much bombastic and that does not allow the music its natural breath...the voice of the girl...the arrangementes...

There is one primordial difference in favour of your version...the beauty it is heard in all the expression the harmonies can the other version the essence of the music cannot be cannot wait to see your cd published and available...
thanks for the music...
best regards
Gilbert Fadda

November 11, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea how I can have my words convey what I think of your music. My wife could very well have said it better than I could (referring to Baba Yetu) "I bet that's what music will be like in heaven."
I have the utmost respect for what you do and the art that you are able to produce of the highest quality.
I very much look forward to the privilege of listening to your upcoming album. Also good luck on your Grammy Nomination. It is certainly an honor you deserve. While I myself have never been nominated, I have had the honor of playing with Grammy Award winners and nominees. And that alone I see as of good repute.
Again, thank you for your contribution to the world,

J. Tejeda

November 11, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations & Good Luck... You are a humble & talented genius, Chris. You deserve to be recognized, rewarded, & honored. Thank you for speaking the universal language of music so elegantly and for also sharing your messages of peace & harmony with the world.

(it ain't no Grammy, but I'll also try my best to find some ways we can Thank You for what you've given us... keep up the excellent work & take care)
Best wishes,

November 15, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Blogger snarkyroxy said...

Thanks for posting the translation of the haiku - I've been looking for it ever since I heard the Corner Stone Cues version, which I thought was absolutely magical. Your original is even moreso...

I've been listening to the CSC version whilst writing a new novel and it's sort of become the theme of one of the main characters. If I ever get the darn thing finished, published and made into a movie (ha! wishful thinking!) I'll commission you to write the soundtrack! :)

December 2, 2008 at 11:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't wait to hear your new
( the first? ) album.
the japanese song would match with a japanese horror movie.

posted from Japan.

December 25, 2008 at 6:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello from Russia!
I really want to thank you for this great song, because I'm sure Madokara Mieru is the bright example of true art. As for me, you song is like the portiob of fresh air. So I'm looking forward to you full album.
Thank you once again!

January 12, 2009 at 1:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is probably my favourite song ever! Everone else has covered what I wanted to say already. Much love to you~
Also I was wondering if you could tell me, who is the lady singer in the summer verse of "Madokara Mieru"? I'm having a lot of trouble finding any credits for this song since I don't speak any Japanese.

February 15, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

The 'summer' singer is Jen Shyu, an old friend. You can check her out at Thanks for the support!

February 16, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

I was picking up a friend in Santa Monica who was drunk and as he got into my truck, he found this CD on the ground. He popped it in and the first song was "mado kara mieru"

The song was so powerful it gave me goose bumps. I studied Japanese at UCLA and googled the lyrics and found this site.

I just wanted to say that if you can make such spiritually rich and moving songs such as this now, you surely will be one of the great composers of our time! Amazing talent. Keep up the good work.


April 1, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... incredible.... your music is AMAZING!!

May 3, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Anonymous Anders Haugen said...

A quick greeting from Norway. I can't wait for the Album, it will be, without a doubt the album of the decade. Your talent is beyond incredible. I'm not good with sententious or pithy aphorisms, but you are the new great composer of our time. Simply remarkable!

May 12, 2009 at 9:52 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

hello, first off I have to say that this is one of the most powerful, and emotional songs I have heard, so much so that it can send me into tears.

I have but one question... can you please elaborate on the instrumentation of the piece?

is the lead instrument in the beginning an Oboe?


June 4, 2009 at 11:15 PM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

Thanks, Cameron... that's very kind of you.

Yes, the opening instrument is an oboe. Well spotted (or heard). :)

June 6, 2009 at 2:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased the "Eton Path" album. I have now listeded to Mado Kara Mieru 22 times (first day). I am awe struck by this piece of music. The power of music penetrates the soul. thank you from aan American Stationed in Japan.

August 10, 2009 at 8:29 PM

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September 7, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Anonymous Annie said...

I bought the Cornerstone Cues track...
I fell in love with it last year, but I just never got my lazy ass in gear till now.

I've been playing it on piano for forever now, though.

September 14, 2009 at 9:06 AM

Blogger Robin said...

Brilliant, Christopher. Every track I have previewed (I have already ordered the full album) brings life to the seasons. The voices, lifting my spirit through languages both familiar and not, remind me that even though we are many in this world we are all one people. "Ici on parle beaucoup de langues."

I will likely annoy all my friends by overplaying the CD...

Robin T
Airdrie, Ab

September 15, 2009 at 1:58 PM

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Christopher,

I just stumbled upon your music because my college's a capella group is doing Baba Yetu for our spring concert, and I just wanted to tell you that I found the entire album so fascinating that it's been on replay in my dorm room for the past week. I love it! Thanks for the music and I can't wait to see what else comes out!

February 4, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Christopher,

I wanted to let you know that I absolutely adore your album, though I especially love the song "Madokara Mieru". (I have listened to it every day at least four times since I bought the album. It always gives me goosebumps!)
The lyrics of the song are awesome and the music is breathtaking! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I can't wait for your next album!

I wanted to ask you though whether you could add the lyrics (Japanese Kanji) of this song onto your website. (I have searched the entire web for it but couldn't find them U.U)

I hope you continue your awesome work!

Best wishes from Germany!
Julia *-*

June 2, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Blogger Christopher Tin said...

Hi Mrs. Owl,

The lyrics are at Just click on the song names and the lyrics will just pop up.

However, I don't have a kanji version I can post yet. Maybe if someone were to come up with one, I'd be able to post it, but unfortunately I don't speak Japanese myself!



June 2, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Blogger Unknown said...


Baba Yetu, Hayom Kardosh, Hamsafar, Sukla Krsne, and Kia Hora Te Marino, and the other songs on "Calling All Dawns" are so uplifting they give everyone in our office goosebumps and even bring tears to the eyes...

Thank you for creating music that transforms the mundane moments of life into a part of the epic journey we are all on together. Your songs are gorgeous and inspirational!

Madison, Wisconsin

July 28, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Blogger Samuli Perttula said...

This song, Mado kara mieru, has become one of the favourite lullabies in our family. Our second oldest son wants me to sing this song to him (with the album playing in the background) almost every night over and over again and he's now almost eight years old. Thank you for making this and many more inspiring and soothing songs.

All the best to you,
from Finland,

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