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I got culture.

Really, I did.

A few weeks back when I was in Japan, moona told me that the Yoshida Brothers were going to be in town for the first time ever and naturally, with no hesitation, I said I'm in.

Just who are these talented duo?

This was the song that got me hooked on the Yoshida Brothers (or the Yoshida Kyoudai, and yes, they are brothers); Monkey Majik featuring Yoshida Brothers - Change.

Our tickets were pretty cheap, only MYR35 and even though our seats were way up, the hall was small:

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Here's moona & I being all Casshern-ish (according to our friend; we were both sick and didn't want to spread germs around, very conscientious of us, no?):

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As soon as the lights dimmed, the brothers, Ryōichirō (the eldest) and Ken'ichi (the youngest), walked out on stage with their shamisens in a beige and light green-patterned white uwagi over a soft peach hakama, complete with tabi and zōri. There's just something...sexy about men in hakama, alright? Something to help illustrate (picture courtesy of cnjianqing.com):

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They started off slow, playing off of each other with shadows of cherry trees on the backdrop and suddenly the beat quickens and I find myself on the edge of my seat, staring in rapt amazement. Even though it was just them and their shamisens, they were able to hold us completely fascinated and I was alternately in awe and daydreaming of warhorses stampeding across a battlefield and of geishas dancing for samurai lords.

Ken'ichi, my favourite, introduced his solo with this charming, heavily-accented English; "We've been brothers for long time...we are very competitive also...now you will see who is the best brother." So adorable!

I loved his solo as it was a more melancholic style. It segues into a sad monologue that's slowly layered with complexity and I was breathless with his skill. I can't help but think of a story about hope alternating with despair and how, as human nature is wont to be, hope tries to triumph again. (Jo, this is totally Masaki's song. I hope I can find it D: )

Ryōichirō's solo reminded me of a hunter stalking its prey; a low, frantic strumming rising to sudden crescendo of brash notes and his shadow loomed large on the backdrop. His plectrum glinted in the light and the melody was dangerously teasing. The pace quickens like a hunter steadily chasing its prey down and it ended with such insolence! Ryōichirō, with a cheeky smile, said in closing, "I am older brother, so I am better."

If I were to compare these two, I'd say that Ryōichirō enjoys the music with his whole body; his face lights up with the biggest smile and his head is bopping along with the music and his foot is tapping to the rhythm. Whereas Ken'ichi coaxes the music out with his whole body, leaning close in to his shamisen but in the end, it's undeniable that both brothers know their instruments well; their fingers pluck and strum with enviable agility.

The last song of the one and a half hour show was what Ken'ichi described as the song they believed best embodied the true style of the tsugaru-shamisen, the style the brothers are well-known for and it was a long, complex piece that left you silent with awe. Their solos were brilliant and I honestly believe you could rightly place them side-by-side alongside the modern guitar greats of the world.

In the end, all I can say is 'I got cultured' and I enjoyed it.

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And oh, since we bought the first Malaysian edition of their CD, we got an autograph! Their hands were so soft, how is this possible? What miraculous moisturiser do they use??

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Truly a Sunday well spent. And I leave you with these amusing quotes found on our coffee cups after the show, courtesy of The Pacific Coffee Company at Fahrenheit 88:

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Go explore the Yoshida Brothers. Well worth the time. Here's one of their best songs to entice you with a freaking DJ mixing live, okay?;


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 23rd, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
holy farck.
i fall



shiz. they need to be here! OTL

Jan. 23rd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
Success! *cackles* I'm always happy to help convert fans XDD
Jan. 23rd, 2011 11:20 am (UTC)
! fusion shamisen music urghh and dude your tix, how come so cheap ;___; Dammit why don't I stay in KL permanently urgh :( but it looked like it was amazing and kasdhka FIND THAT SONG! FIND IT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT ;_;
Jan. 23rd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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