2012 is looking like it might be a good year for Japanese music events in the UK. Here are a few upcoming highlights that I’m personally quite excited about…
Friday 15th June - Cornelius presents salyu x salyu at the Jazz Cafe
The experimental and exploratory music by Japan’s Keigo Oyamada (i.e. Cornelius) combines cheerfully dissonant and pleasant sounds, pure electronica, samples and magic. His most recent production of pop craftsmanship features the face and voice of Salyu, the angelic girl who charmed Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill and whose “Suru Kizu Kaifuku” became one of the most memorable hits from the soundtrack. With a long career behind her, Salyu made Cornelius responsible for the production of “s(o)un(d) beams”, in a meeting of minds that combines the best of both worlds. It is magic and imaginative J-pop, which includes Cornelius himself and Yumiko Ohno of Buffalo Daughter when performed live. (Image and text source)
Saturday 28th July – Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra at the Highbury Garage
In the late 1980s, there was a band executing countless lives on streets and clubs of Tokyo…, their name is TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA. Their dynamic yet absolute performance drew growing audiences, and so releases the first 12′ vinyl record ‘TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA’ from an indie label in 1989. The following year, gaining more and more fans, they make a major debut by the single ‘MONSTER ROCK,’ and its recorded album ‘SUKAPARA TOU-JYO’. With the combination of the roots ska and the borderless sound -”TOKYO SKA”- the band gradually conquers the reputation as one of the biggest names as live bands in the whole wide world. (Image and text source)
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra will also be performing at the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in Charlton Park, Wiltshire, which is on from 27th – 29th July. The festival also features another group from Japan called Marewrew, who will be performing with Oki Dub Ainu Band and replicating songs of the ancient Ainu people of Japan.
Wednesday 18th December – Tomoyasu Hotei at the Camden Roundhouse
Hotei best known internationally for his song, “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”, instantly recognisable as the theme from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill will make a rare and exclusive performance at the Roundhouse this December. Hotei, whose career spans more than 30 years, began as a guitarist in the legendary rock band, BOØWY. A collaborator both in the studio and live on stage with many diverse international musicians including David Bowe, Jesus Jones, Sugue Sigue Sputnik, Hugh Cornwell, Asia, INXS, Joni Mitchell, Ray Cooper, David Sanborn and Chicago to name just a few. His musical achievements are not limited to multimillion selling albums, producing and song writing hits in his native Japan. In 1996, he played guitar under the baton of Michael Kamen at the closing ceremony for the Atlanta Olympics. His recent achievements include a live performance with Roxy Music at the renowned Fuji Rock Festival 2010, a recording session with Lee Ritnour for his album, 6 String Theory, and arranging the theme to Tom Cruise’s box office hit Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol. (Image and text source)
If you want to keep up-to-date with all of the latest J-music news, I recommend checking out Japan Underground‘s blog which is a great source of information about gigs and new music releases in the UK. The gigs I’ve mentioned above are only a tiny taster of what’s happening this year. I have a ticket for Cornelius this Friday, but don’t have tickets for any of the other gigs yet. I wish I could go to them all, but it doesn’t look like my wallet will stretch to it at the moment… Fingers crossed for that lottery win!
Of the artists mentioned above, I have seen Cornelius and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra before, and am very excited about the idea of seeing them again. Cornelius and Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra are very different acts, but both gave such memorable performances. Here are a couple of photos from when I saw them in 2007…