<Singing - its role in cultural exchange>

- I heard that you design your stage costumes yourself. Is it true that you created a dress by simply placing the fabric directly onto your body without using a pattern?

ANNA : I design practically everything myself. I really enjoy drawing using the imagery of the songs and thinking about the scenography of the performances.
I was given a fantastic lace fabric last year. When I placed it on myself I had an idea and I came up with the design spontaneously. It was a very delicate tissue, with very few joints, I was very careful when cutting it. I created this dress with my manager.
This dress gave me the advantage of a good image during my performance. After this I created another dress using a similar kimono fabric. I was amazed at being able to create dresses in so little time. It's with credit to my manager, who helped me with this and for that I thank her!

- You invest an enormous amount of time in your singing. What is singing for you?

ANNA : It's my life and soul.

- We were surprised by your album "Omoi" which continued to play on the theme of tango. For the first time in the history of tango you performed, in Japanese, songs which are popular worldwide such as lullabies and songs for children. How did you come up with this new idea?

ANNA : I wanted to introduce Japanese people to tango. To use rhythms from the old songs that we listened to and danced to as children, using tango to give new life to these songs... This idea has worked well abroad. I was very happy that the audience could feel the emotion beyond the lyrics in this album.

- In Paris while wearing a kimono, you sang songs from Piazzolla in Spanish accompanied by Parisians musicians; in New York, while singing Vietnamese songs, accompanied by American musicians, you wore an 'ao dai' (traditional Vietnamese costume) embroidered with the motif of a blossoming cherry tree. Behind this clear vision, your performance seems to bring together cultures from all over the world.

ANNA : I can't thank you enough. I am pleased that you have remarked on this. My wish is to create through song an international cultural exchange. For my concerts abroad I so wanted to bring the kimono, traditional in Japanese culture. I wanted for the audiences to discover this part of Japanese culture with their own eyes. I did the same thing with the Vietnamese songs from the new album, I decided to bring an 'ao dai' for all the concerts.
I still remember the Argentinian ambassador saying in New York "I think that what you are doing serves as a link between the United States, Argentina and Japan..." and I push myself to continue moving in this direction, step by step.

- On the new album, for the first time there are songs that you produced yourself. How did the recording sessions go?

ANNA : Well... I wrote, recorded and produced two songs in Berlin. During the recording, while singing 'Anatato tomoni (with you) -ano uta-' I experienced something new. I cried during this song and this created empathy around me. On the other side of the recording cabin, the engineers leaned their heads towards me, questioning what was going on. They said, "We don't understand Japanese (as the text of the song is Japanese) but we can feel the emotion in the lyrics". We only did one take. The engineers and personnel had tears in their eyes. On leaving the recording studio they applauded warmly and said "it's wonderful", the second song 'Deai (meeting) -ichigo ichie- ' is a very dramatic song. I am very happy to have been able to do such a moving recording with such a great team.