Check out this super fun music video by World Order, a seven-man performance group consisting of six dancers + Genki Sudo, a retired Japanese mixed martial artist, essayist, musician, actor and dancer.
This boy is super cute. He is a 10-year old (9 in this video footage from the Ellen show) who loves Ozzy Ozbourne and has made waves on YouTube. Super cute! He started playing at age three by watching his dad. I love his face when Ozzy shows up on stage. They actually got to play together this summer on Ozzy’s six-day tour.
I went to see a show by the Yoshida Brothers last night. They’re real brothers who play the tsugaru shamisen, a three-string traditional instrument, but they add elements of jazz, samba, and rock’n’roll to their tunes. It was really entertaining! They also had this awesome charismatic percussionist in a pink-ish beanie had an amazing collection of noise-making tools — wind chimes, rain sticks — that sounded so amazing when they were synced with the sounds of the shamisen. They’re from Hokkaido and are in their early 30s. Super fun! They’re on tour in the US now; you can get tickets to their final SF and LA shows this week on their web site.
Michael Jackson’s movie, Captain EO, has returned to Tokyo Disneyland as a limited attraction. It’s a 17-minute film that was part of the regular lineup of attractions from 1986-1994. I think it’s also showing at the Epcot Center in Orlando starting today. If you missed it or were too young in the 90s, you should definitely check it out.
In November, I blogged about Judith Hill, the mysterious half-black, half-Japanese woman who sang at the Michael Jackson memorial and in the movie This Is It. To celebrate the one year anniversary of MJ’s death, I visited Judith at her home in Pasadena and produced a radio segment for PRI’s Studio360 about her life and music. Her super-cute mom, Michiko Hill from Tokyo, makes a cameo appearance too. Enjoy!
Who knew R&B and enka went well together? Apparently this guy, Freddie, who has become somewhat famous in Japan for this love song, called Kansai Kuukou (Kansai Airport). I have never heard of him before and am finding very little information about him online, but according to the Asahi he’s an ex-marine from Alabama who used to perform at bars and lounges in Kobe but was inspired several years ago to incorporate a Misora Hibari song into his repertoire. He calls this genre “ensoul” — enka + soul. Interesting…
Sad news — the amazing musician Nujabes (real name Jun Seba) is confirmed dead today. He was in a car accident late at night on February 26 when getting off the Shuto Expressway. He was only 36 and ridiculously talented. I first discovered his music at a tiny wine bar in Golden-Gai, and have been a huge fan ever since. He will be missed.
On Boing Boing, I just posted this hilarious video of Japanese people singing Weezer on the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. Unlike the more fetishized, fabricated music videos portraying Japan, I thought this one was really genuine and funny.
Jake Shimabukuro, the thirty-something year old Japanese-American ukulele player from Hawaii, played his version of Bohemian Rhapsody at the TED conference today. I unfortunately was not there to hear it, but I found this video of him playing it on YouTube. It’s really nice. Enjoy!