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Keiko Matsui: Moyo

Keiko Matsui’s new project feels like it’s very much a new direction for the veteran artist, who made her debut 20 years ago and now blossoms with a new record label. The CD is also the first she’s produced by herself after her divorce from husband Kazu Matsui, who had produced her previous CDs. Keiko Matsui’s elegant acoustic piano melodies are still front and center (never more so than on the simply beautiful “When I Close My Eyes”), but much of the orchestral sweep of previous compositions has given way to an organic, less-is-more direction. She’s also added a dash of world music, as she recorded Moyo (Swahili for “heart and soul”) on location with musicians in South Africa, the U.S. and her native Japan.

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