Percussionist, composer, singer, flautist – Joji Hirota joyously eludes definition. Trained as a classical musician in his native Japan, he has now spent over half his life in England freely blending instruments and influences to create a music that is uniquely his own. His flute sounds like singing, his singing sounds instrumental, and his drums sound like nothing on earth.

Joji Hirota was born in Hokkaido in North Japan. He began to study percussion at the age of eleven and by the time he was thirteen he was composing his own music. He went on to study at the Kyoto Municipal Arts University.

Joji Hirota’s work with the Real World label began during the 1992 Recording Week at Real World Studios, when he collaborated with Clannad founder Pól Brennan and Chinese flautist Guo Yue to record Trísan, an album which won that year’s Tower Records Critics Award in New York for Contemporary Instrumental music.

Capturing the mastery and rhythmic grace of this outstanding multi-instrumentalist, The Gate is Joji Hirota’s 1999 solo release with Real World. Its epic tracks describe expanses of sea and sky conveyed with heart-stopping emotion; there is joy and exaltation, sorrow and yearning, and always virtuosic artistry, resulting in a deeply meditative and breathtaking listen.