Unite with the power of music!!

SAEKO’S STORY — CHAPTER 2: CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN (Campaign Period: From March 15 to May 19, 2017)
As a musician, I believe music has the power to say, or to express, something beyond cultural boundaries. I believe, when artists with different cultural backgrounds work together and offer great music as a blend of their unique life experiences, they embody the beauty of diversity, of all individuals, regardless of gender, age, colour or race. Please support my challenge to form an international heavy metal project again, and let us embody beauty of all lives … simply as we are.
Saeko Kitamae
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After 11 years of silence … it is time to resume the project, SAEKO
(A translation of the Japanese crowdfunding campaign site .)
You are an important part of this chapter: Support my come-back with an "international line-up"!
  Hi everyone. I am a heavy metal singer, Saeko Kitamae, born and raised in Osaka. In my teens, I was impressed by the power of music that unite people beyond cultural boundaries, and soon I started writing songs in English.
  After several years of music activity in Japan, I flew to Europe in 2002 all by myself.
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  It was a cold winter time… Alone on the street in Hamburg, I handed out flyers to find a heavy metal band to join.
  Shortly, a curious turn of fate led me to sign a production contract with a producer Lars Ratz (Metalium). Trained under Henning Basse (Metalium, Firewind etc.), I recorded a duet in the fourth album of Metalium. Soon, a solo project SAEKO was formed around me with internationally renowned musicians from Germany such as Michael Ehre (Metalium, Gamma Ray etc.), Herman Frank (Accept, Victory etc.) and Sven Luedke (Mob Rules). With the project, I released 2 albums worldwide and sang at Wacken Open Air, one of the largest heavy metal festivals in the world, as the first Asian female singer while touring with Doro, Blaze etc.
Video: On tour with Doro.
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Magazine articles from those days. From R to L, Metal Hammer (Italy), Maxi (Germany), Rock Hard (Brazil) and Heavy Rock (Spain).
  It may sound like a wonderful success story, but the life in Europe was very different from the one in Japan. The different language, culture, sense of value, customs, business rules, the law applied to non-EU citizens (besides my artistic activities such as writing music and lyrics) … it was impossible to handle them all by myself, and I was eventually forced to give up staying in Europe in 2006, which was the end of my dream of this international project; once flying back to Japan, I wasn’t able to continue it anymore.

  Bitterly disappointed, I vowed to break down the barriers I experienced. The first barrier was "language and culture". So, I matriculated at the worldly famous Leiden University and obtained a master’s degree in “English Language and Culture” in 2009. Following that, I established a business, Office Shinpuh, in Japan to lessen troubles of Japanese musicians upon their entering the international market. This business made me familiar with the structure of legal aspects in music business, and I eventually got certified as a specialist of the intellectual property in Japan.

 Now, 11 years from stopping my career as a singer, I'm equipped with a better knowledge of language, culture, music business, legal aspects; I feel it is about time for me to challenge again, resuming my activity as a singer.
Step1: As a statement of my breaking silence, I will release a new arrangement and re-recording of 2 representative songs of SAEKO.
  Although I am aiming to form a band with an international lineup, looking for 4 members with no less talent and experience than the musicians who got involved with SAEKO before from around the world and gathering them to one place cost too much; unfortunately, I cannot take this way from the very beginning. I rather should go step by step; a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step!
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  As the very first step, I decided to release 2 songs with a duo with top notch musician and engineers simply to present my current singing voice and deliver a statement of my breaking silence. (I will also make a music video for one of the 2 songs.) Only after that will I look for members around the world to form a full band with an international line-up.
The pianist I chose for this duo project is Sakiko Masuda, who was top of the graduating class in Jazz Composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, having won several awards at international jazz festivals. I asked her to arrange my past songs, and she did a great job, giving them completely different touch, while accompanying me on the piano.
  Her piano was recorded and produced by Koji Mannami at Sanwa Recording Studio, Japan.
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  Meanwhile, my vocals (and drums played by Italo Graziana on one song) were recorded and produced by the Italian maestro of rock music, Alessandro Del Vecchio at Ivorytears Music Works Recording Studio, Italy, who has worked for a number of worldly renowned musicians (please check his website for his excellent career). He also mixed and mastered the both songs. I am deeply grateful to him for what he did.

  Since this is a prelude to the full project that should follow, I plan to release them independently (I prefer to look for a record deal after the full project is set up). Still, I want these great songs to be heard from countries other than Japan. So, I decided to release them digitally.
Songs’ background
1. "SA-KU-RA"
  What song could embody the rebirth of SAEKO? Asking myself, I remembered about March 2001. Back then, I was in Hawaii for rest and recuperation after having collapsed from illness and depression.
  During my stay, I happened to visit the Battleship Missouri Museum, a ship where a 19 year old Japanese zero fighter dived toward the end of World War 2, with a dent made by the pilot still left on the side of the ship.
  When he dived, his body was divided into two at the impact, with his upper body left on the deck. Seeing this, Missouri's Captain, William Callaghan, ordered his crew to bury this Japanese pilot in respect at sea. As ordered, his body was committed to the waves, seen off by the American crew on the following day, April 12th.
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Photo credit: Battleship Missouri Memorial.
  Hearing this episode on the very deck where it happened, I felt ashamed of myself: "The young pilot must have been dying to survive and live … but the circumstances of the age didn't allow him to do so". Unlike him, I was at liberty to live. Nonetheless, I thought of, even if once, killing myself.
  That moment, I realised that my life was not only mine: "All who are given a chance to live are obliged to live for the sake of those who had to give it up, and to hand down these episodes lest the world should forget it, lest the similar tragedies should repeat". And I said to myself, “I will walk on with a positive attitude again!”, which was the beginning of my recovery.

  Later in 2005, while being active as a musician in Europe, I wrote a requiem for the war dead, “Sa-Ku-Ra”, inspired by the episode above. This song, thus, symbolises the moment of my rebirth and it seems to me to best choice for the first step of the rebirth of SAEKO.

2. "No More Sins for the Gods"
  In my high school days, which is about 25 years ago, I wrote a song "Sins for the Gods", feeling an irony about the world conflicts due to Gods, who were supposed to bring peace among us; the paradox is illustrated in the title “Sins FOR the Gods”. Since then, the song had been played over and over.
  More than 10 years later from the composition, it was also recorded as the opening song of the first album of SAEKO and played at live shows in 2004 (cf. the video above).
  The new arrangement with Sakiko Masuda was titled as “NO MORE Sins for the Gods", which denotes my wish for the world to change gradually. (Besides Sakiko Masuda, Italo Graziana, who played drums for this song, added a special touch to the new version. )
Music Video
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Production meeting at the video shooting company, Filmer Inc.
  A music video of “SA-KU-RA” will be shot under beautiful cherry blossoms in Osaka, Japan and will be uploaded to Youtube in late July. At the end of this video, a picture of burial at Battleship Missouri (see above) will be inserted, credited by Battleship Missouri Memorial in Hawaii.

I would like to add this picture because the episode illustrates not only sadness of war but the dignity of human mind and compassion towards enemies. It reminds us of the fact that we have such beautiful hearts. Through my music video, I'd like to introduce the episode to the world, showing how people, friend or foe, can sympathise each other.
Power of Music and Words: Beyond Borders
  When the world is going to the “our country first” policy, mutual understanding is needed more than ever. And I believe music can enhance it. For example, people from different backgrounds sing together in perfect accord at concert. That’s probably why the Nobel Prize was awarded to Bob Dylan last year.
  In this internet era, Japanese musicians will have an access to the non-Japanese audience more easily than before. However, the average level of English among the Japanese people is so low (ranked as 142 out of 172 countries) that I rarely see Japanese singers who can properly convey their thoughts in English.
  This is another reason why I’d like to make a come back now. While stopping my musical career, I devoted my time to enhance my language skill, obtaining a number of English language related degrees and certificates; my current profession is to write English lyrics.
  Now, not only by the power of music but also by the power of words, I would like to share my thoughts with the audience around the world.

  And I hope you support my attempt to form an international heavy metal project again. I believe, when artists with different cultural backgrounds work together and offer great music as a blend of their unique life experiences, they embody the beauty of diversity of peoples. I would love to embody such beauty … simply as we are.
Support Messages
From Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Voodoo Circle, Revolution Saints etc.)
From Michael Ehre(Metalium, Firewind, Uli Jon Roth, Gamma Ray, Unity etc.)
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I worked with Saeko from 2003 to 2006 and know her to be a great singer and performer so it was a real shame when she flew back to Japan and took a break from her music career. Now I’m happy to hear that she’ll try to form a new band with an international line-up. To make this happen, let’s all support her and wish her the best of luck. I, for one, look forward to hearing Saeko’s powerful voice again very soon.
From Mariko (Fairy Mirror, Saeko etc.)
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About 20 years ago, I heard Saeko's voice for the first time. The moment I heard her singing, I was so moved by the passion, energy and message it conveyed that I joined her band right away. She was the same then as she is today and said to me, "I wanna unite people with the power of music for a better world", which is easier said than done. To realise her ideals, she had to fight and suffer a lot. However, every time she fell, she rose up again, even expanding her horizons to the world abroad. I've seen all very closely; so I know she's as good as her word. Therefore, I'm in the full conviction that she will make it this time as well. May her inspiring message be heard around the world again!
From Satoshi Yoshikawa (Director at OBP Academia)
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A singer who had dared to challenge on the world stage and came back with broken dreams will attempt a comeback from Osaka. I didn't imagine that I would be a part of such a dramatic story! The first impression of her when she became a member of OBP Academia was … well, I was just overwhelmed by her past career wtih heavy metal, life in Europe, MA in English etc. As time passed, however, I came to know her better. While seeing how modestly she makes efforts every day, I eventually felt like helping her as a director of OBP Academia, and introduced her to a crowdfunding campany, FAAVO Osaka. I am sure that she will prove that we can challenge and make it in our life as many times as we wish.
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The crowdfunding campaign was launched by a Japanese crowdfunding site, FAAVO, which accepts supports only from Japanese residents. Still, there's a way to obtain items via PayPal.

If you wish to obtain one of the items below, please contact us via
Mail Order. We will send in a bill to you via PayPal. ;)

Items available from outside Japan

Limited DVD
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3,500 Yen (about 32 USD, about 30 Euro), international shipping fee included

Includes Music Video, Single ("SA-KU-RA 2017" and "No More Sins for the Gods") and karaoke of these songs, Voice Message from Saeko (Japanese and English)
* Delivered in July.
Limited DVD Delux
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5,000 Yen (about 46 USD, about 43 Euro), international shipping fee included

1. Limited DVD (Music Video, Single ("SA-KU-RA 2017" and "No More Sins for the Gods") and karaoke of these songs, Voice Message from Saeko (Japanese and English)), 2. Name print on the DVD package, 3. An autographed card
* Delivered in July.
Skype Japanese Lesson
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7,000 Yen (about 64 USD, about 60 Euro)
Only 10 items left.

Skype Japanese lesson with Saeko (30 mins X 4 times).

* Saeko is a certified teacher of Japanese.
* From late May to mid-July.
Special Supporter Package
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50,000 Yen (about 460 USD, about 430 Euro), international shipping fee included

1. Limited DVD (Music Video, Single ("SA-KU-RA 2017" and "No More Sins for the Gods") and karaoke of these songs, Voice Message from Saeko (Japanese and English)), 2. Name print on the DVD package, 3. An autographed card, 4. Adding your name in the closing credits of the music video (if you wish), 5. Special supporter’s card with a serial number, 6. A letter of thanks written by Saeko (Japanese or English).
* Delivered in July.

Campaign Schedule

2017 Feb. 6 : Form Team Saeko (volunteers to support Saeko's come-back).
2017 Mar. 11: Set up Facebook Page "SAEKO - Power Metal - Japan".
2017 Mar. 15 : Launch the crowdfunding campaign.
2017 mid-Mar. to early Apr.: Make a graphic image for digital release.
2017 mid-Mar. to early Apr.: Shoot a music video of "SA-KU-RA".
2017 Apr. 7: Public speech on the crowdfunding campaign.
2017 Apr. 12: Digital release of the single ("SA-KU-RA (2017 ver.)" and "No More Sins for the Gods (2017 ver.)").
2017 May 19: End of the crowdfunding campaign.
2017 early to mid-Jul.: Delivery of the limited DVD.
2017 late Jul. to early Aug.: Publish a music video of "SA-KU-RA (2017 ver.)" on YouTube.

* The items will be delivered after the campaign is finished. Although the delivery of DVD is later than the digital release of the songs, you can stream the songs for free on for one month from the release date (Apr. 12).
Listen to the single already released on April 12th: