This is going to be a short article this week, I found out about a band and since I can’t get my hands on any of their albums I have only a handful of YouTube videos to write about. Needless to say, I’m so impressed by the sound of the Yoshida Brothers that I just have to write something for you guys. Zenlizard over at the Spooky Outhouse forums linked me to their unique blend of modern sound with classic Japanese instruments. Like always after the jump I’ll talk a bit about the band, what I’ve dug up from wikipedia mostly, and then comment on the few songs I’ve managed to track down.
The Yoshida Brothers are, as their name implies, a pair of brothers who debuted in 1999 in Japan as a duo playing the shamisen. While they play a traditional Japanese style their music is a fusion of the rapid and percussive Tsugaru-jamisen style along with Western and other regional musical influences. In addition to performing songs that are only on the shamisen, they also use modern instruments such as drums and synthesizers. Some commercials for the Nintendo’s Wii video game console that began airing in North America in feature the Yoshida Brothers song, “Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix).” Their first album sold over 100,000 copies and made them minor celebrities in Japan.
The first song I was linked was Rising. Rising is totally sold me on the band since it is one of their tracks that uses drums, guitar, and keyboard to add more depth to their sound. Normally I’m not a big fan of instrumentals, I like some lyrics and a good story, but simply the sound of the Yoshida Brothers is enough to keep me listening. Personally, I like the songs where they incorporate modern instruments more then the shamisen only songs, they just seem to have more character then the solos. This isn’t to say songs like Kodo aren’t also good but the lack of diversity in the sound really starts to bore me after awhile.
The brothers also turned up on a recent Nightmare Before Chrismas Revisited album, in which they remade the song ‘Nabbed‘. They continued to use the expected shamisen style but the addition of electronic elements is really what helped capture that Nightmare quality. While I’m not a terribly big fan of Nightmare either, I can’t deny that some of the tunes are catchy and the Yoshida Brothers rendition is no exception.
If you’re curious to hear some more of their work just go search YouTube. Dozens of songs are posted there and can really give you a good idea of what these guys are all about. Like I said, this is a shorter article so I hope I didn’t disappoint. Without getting my hands on their albums and the lack of lyrics to comment on I find myself at a lack of words beyond, go and listen.