Robin Richards – Haga

Robin Richards shares “Haga”

(Feat. members of Everything Everything and GoGo Penguin)

“Haga” is taken from the original HOME artist film commission, The Earth Asleep, addressing the 2011 Japan tsunami and global trauma.

Rescheduled world premiere of live performance and film will be taking place 4 – 5 December 2020. Soundtrack album to follow on PRAH recordings.

Musician and composer Robin Richards (Dutch Uncles) shares an original track “Haga” online, taken from forthcoming original HOME Artist Film commission with accompanying live performance, The Earth Asleep (2020), directed by Clara Casian.

On Friday 11th March 2011, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded took place 18 miles from the Oshika Peninsula of Japan triggering a massive tsunami that killed over ten thousand people. Visual artist Clara Casian and composer Robin Richards travelled to the village of Otsuchi in remote North-East Japan to observe the experiences of local residents seeking to rebuild their lives and tend to the memories of those they have lost.

The Earth Asleep (2020) addresses the ways in which our exposure to extreme live-trauma in the form of rolling news and citizen reportage has resulted in an inability to process grief at a manageable, human scale. Film, poetry and live music intertwine to conjure a pathway by which the human soul might navigate unseen astral dimensions. As the earth sleeps, past and present merge in this live rhythmic montage. Produced by Bren O’Callaghan, Curator, HOME.

Featuring members of Everything Everything and GoGo Penguin, “Haga” is the first piece of music to be released from the film soundtrack. Composed entirely by Richards, it features members of two Mercury Prize-nominated bands: Chris Illingworth of GoGo Penguin on piano; and Michael Spearman of Everything Everything on drums and percussion.

“Haga” was inspired by a meeting with Otsuchi resident Masahiko Haga, who runs the Kirikirikoku community group, working with young people and orphans in the town. He showed Casian and Richards his meditative process of dealing with his grief through his connection to fire.

Robins remarked: “We interviewed several people in the town who told us about their different spiritual methods of dealing with grief and loss following the disaster, and their stories form the narrative threads of the film. Masahiko Haga explained to us that the spirits return to heaven when the fire goes out.

“The evening spent with Haga was an extremely powerful and moving experience, and Clara and I knew instantly that it would be an integral part of the film and score. The xylophone melody heard in the “Haga” is taken from the Otsuchi neighbourhood music – a melody played over the loudspeakers used for earthquake and tsunami warning, heard every few hours across the whole town.” 

The Earth Asleep is a HOME Artist Film co-commission supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.

It feels apposite that at a time of so much uncertainty and pain I find myself releasing a new single inspired by reflections on dealing with grief.

HAGA is the first single taken from the film soundtrack for The Earth Asleep, an original HOME Artist Film commission and response to the tragedy of the 2011 Japanese tsunami and the impact on the people left behind.

With the uncertainty surrounding the dates for the full release of the film and soundtrack, we wondered whether or not we should go ahead with this release. However, life continues and I wanted to share my latest work.

The people I met in Japan that inspired this work had rebuilt their lives after great tragedy and we will all do the same.

Thanks to Chris of @gogo_penguin, Mikey of @e_e_ and @arty_margit for performing on the recording. Visuals by @claracasian

Robin Richards