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KUMA HARADA
BIOGRAPHY



Name: Tokiyoshi Harada

Nickname: Kuma (bear)

Date Of Birth: June 10, 1951

Place Of Birth: Saporo

Native Country: Japan

Instrument: bass

Music Business: Professional bassist, music producer, educator.


Kuma started playing guitar when he was about ten or eleven.

 

He went to a High School, which was a Music show that travelled all over Japan, they studied while they travelled and performing along the way. The School travelled to America and as the bass player wanted to become a doctor and concentrate on his studies, he didn't go. As Kuma played a bit of bass at that time, he became the bass player. As he was touring USA for three and a half months he sort of fell in love with playing the bass, and when he went back home, started playing bass.


Kuma arrived in England in 1972 and met Snowy on his third day, and joined his band. Kuma played with Snowy in 'Jonathan Kelly's outside' and he was also involved with Peter Green's 'In the skies' album. Kuma was also in a band called Gonzalez, which was a session musician's band, and when Snowy was touring with Pink Floyd and Thin Lizzy, Kuma did mainly recording studio sessions.

 

When Snowy recorded the album White Flames, along with Kuma on bass, Richard Bailey on drums and Jess Bailey and Godfrey Wang on keyboards. Kuma produced the tracks 'Bird of Paradise' and 'Lucky Star'. "Bird of Paradise was originally recorded in Tony Visconti's studio, when Snowy was still with Thin Lizzy. The track was a demo and we used it because Snowy played such fantastic guitar. So we used it on the album and put new arrangements and then when we finished the album we wanted to do it as a single. Nobody believed that was a single but Snowy and me we felt it. So Snowy sang it again and we redid the arrangement with keyboard and when we were mixing (that was a time before computer mixing) so Snowy, Ian and me we do one take and we listened in a cassette then come back and do it again.

 

Snowy never says 'I can't do any better than this as far as his guitar playing goes, he wants to do better all the time and then I am the one who has to convince Snowy this is good, listen to it. That particular tune, he came out of the studio and he said 'you know Kuma, I can't do any better' which is fantastic. When I'm producing or recording, something has to happen in the studio, there's a magic about it. I don't like pre-arranged and pre-prepared everything and just go into a studio and do what you are supposed to do. That song was like a demo, there was a magic about his playing and with the mixing there was a magic about the mixing."

 

Kuma has his own 24-track studio and has been working with the Japanese artist, Maki Takamiya for the past 4 years. He plays bass and produced and mixed a 4-track demo, which is being released in Japan. Kuma is also Chairman of Barefoot Cultural Exchange, which is as a non-profit making organisation provided hundreds of young people the opportunity to broaden their horizons through a range of study programmes, linking language and other specialised fields such as sport, music and other arts Kuma first came to London in 1971, and as bass player with his band "The Breakfast Band" had a No 1 Clubchart hit in 1980. Kuma has recorded, produced and toured with many notable figures from the music world, including Kate Bush, Van Morrison, Mick Taylor (Rolling Stones) Imai Miki and Hotei Tomoyasu. Since 1996 he has become one of the leading figures in promoting grass roots cultural exchange through sport and music. As well as helping to set up a range of sports exchange programmes, he has also been instrumental in setting up creative music workshops in both Japan and Britain. In acknowledgment of his outstanding contribution to inter-cultural understanding, Kuma was invited to Downing Street to meet with the Prime Minister Tony Blair and Emperor Akihito on the occasion of the Emperor's visit to the UK in June 1998.


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