Wagakki Band returns to US in March

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Wagakki Band recently announced two US performances this coming March! They will be at the Irving Plaza in New York on March 14, and at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas (March 15-20). From the moment they posted their first video, they have fast risen to popularity with their innovative take on music.

Traditional Japanese music incorporated with contemporary pop-rock. Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, Wagakki Band is exactly just that. Composed of seven instrumentalists and a vocalist, the band covers the drums (Wasabi), wadaiko (Kurona), guitar (Machiya), bass (Asa), koto (Kiyoshi Ibukuro), shakuhachi (Daisuke Kaminaga), and tsugaru-jamisen (Beni Ninagawa) for a unique fusion. They are able to do unprecedented covers and reinventions of existing songs due to their wide range of uncommonly seen instruments in the music industry outside of the traditional Japanese genre. Vocalist Yuko Suzuhana is also an accomplished utaite (singers who cover Vocaloid songs), well-known for her kobushi-like vocal wavers, giving her music a bit of a traditional–and possibly enka, albeit fast–feel. She is also a poem recital teacher, songwriter, and pianist, and also part of the group Hanafuugetsu, pair Yuukari, and trio Asty.

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For those who were into the visual kei or rock scene back in the early 2000s, Wagakki Band may remind you of the heavier rock band Kagrra, who was also known for integrating traditional Japanese instruments into their music and for even using Heian era lyrics for their songs. However, Wagakki Band is able to incorporate more traditional sounds due to their instruments. In addition, possibly because their vocalist came from a utaite background, they have also covered a good number of popular vocaloid songs. In the past year and a half, they began branching out with original songs, releasing their first original song in August 2014. They are currently promoting their new album YASOEMAKI released just this past September.

Their most recent visits to the US prior to this concert series includes their US debut performance in July at Anime Expo 2015, and their Wagakki Band Concert Movie screening at the New York Comic Con in October. They also contributed theme songs for Sengoku Musou (Samurai Warriors), Shingeki no Kyojin ~ Hangeki no Noroshi, and this year’s upcoming Sousei no Onmyouji (Twin Star Exorcists).

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Keira Truong
Keira Truong 143 posts

A Los Angeles based writer, she has been a long time fan of anime and manga, film, and music.

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