Posts Tagged ‘ Hiroshima ’

Hiroshima – J-Town Beat

hiroshima3Hiroshima continues to bring west coast influences to world music, that transcend music boundaries.

Opening with “RED BUDDHA,” an exotic romp through Japanese Obon festivals, electronic drums and pop, it’s filled with celebration and fun. “LOST IN PROVENCE” is a catchy ‘road trip’ samba with a story all its own. “STATE OF MIND” is a sophisticated turn recalling the fusion of jazz and R&B. “DA KITCHEN” is funk and soul with a Hiroshima spin, and “LADY OF MYSTERY”– June, of course– is pure exotica. “KIMOCHI” (feeling) is a haunting, sensual mood piece and“MEIJI MAMBO” is a funky, tongue-in-cheek rocker with a wild ending. DAYS GONE BY is a moving vocal ballad composed and sung by Terry Steele, of ‘Here and Now’ fame. “AFTERNOON KOTO” is June weaving her koto magic in a beautiful tone poem. “CRUISIN J-TOWN” not only relates to the CD title, but is a ‘cooking’ latinrock re-make of a song from Hiroshima’s 2nd record, Obon. Finally, the powerfully emotional, “TO SAY GOODBYE,” is a beautiful treatise destined to become a Hiroshima ‘classic.’

 J-Town Beat is now available at CDBaby.

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Hiroshima – Departure

Hiroshima is the only Asian band to receive a Grammy-nomination and they have two. Legacy featured songs from the first 10 years and celebrated the band’s 30 years in the industry. Departure, number 18 for the celebrated Hiroshima who has created it’s own voice. . . One of the most unique bands in the world, Hiroshima combines traditional Japanese instruments, including koto, taiko and shakuhachi with western instruments and harmony, embracing rhythms ranging from Jazz to Latin and R&B –a blend referred to by famed British producer Robin Millar as “Urban World Music.”

After more than 30 years in the recording industry — and almost 4 million records sold – Hiroshima decided to leave record companies behind and venture on our own. It’s kinda scary, but given the changes in the music industry and what it’s now going to take for us to survive, we are moving toward direct contact with the community.

Departure is a new beginning for Hiroshima in many ways. The songs are all originals with just one guest artist, the incredible harmonica player Tetsuya “Tex” Nakamura, featured on the luscious opening track, “Have You Ever Wondered,” composed by June and Kimo. “Koto Cruise,” is the second song and features a funky groove and a burning koto solo. “Blues for Sendai” is just that. There’s a tribute to our friend and mentor James Moody, who passed last December. It’s called “See You Again,” and there is a lot of ‘quoting’ from his “Moody’s Mood for Love.”

After many years of requests, we have recorded our first full-on taiko solo ever, “Yamasong”–a live recording that really captures Shoji and Danny’s fierce interplay. “First Nation,” a composition by the Hawaiian Kimo Cornwell, is a powerhouse of a song embracing many cultures, as does our reincarnation of “Thousand Cranes.” The CD ends with a soulful version of “One Wish,” done as an acoustic trio.

Departure is now available at CDBaby.

Hiroshima – Legacy

Sometimes music is touching me so deep, that I must spread the word like a herald. Hiroshima‘s new album Legacy is motivating and pushing me into this direction. I use the old world herald in full conscience. It’s the melting of old traditional Japanese with modern jazz instruments which makes Hiroshima’s music somehow antique in the sense of an “old master”, a term for an European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such a painter. Equally their music is so modern and unique that one cannot compare their Asian-American jazz fusion with the music of any other group.

The new album is a collection of songs from Hiroshima’s first musical decade. The songs were not taken from the previous albums but re-recorded by the band’s current lineup, the founders Dan (sax) and June Kuramoto (koto), joined by taiko drummer/percussionist Shoji Kameda, drummer/percussionist Danny Yamamoto, keyboardist Kimo Cornwell and bassist Dean Cortez. Further guest musicians are Terry Steele, Jim Gilstrap and Yvette Nii (vocals), Richie Gajate Garcia (percussion) and the string arrangements of maestro George del Barrio.

“When you start looking back at fifteen records over thirty years, that’s a lot of material to choose from, ” comments Dan Kuramato. “So we narrowed the scope to the first ten years, which includes five records – two of which were gold. We tracked everything live in my home studio for this new recording, with almost no overdubs. In many cases, the songs on this record are fairly similar to the originals. In some cases, they\’re very different.”

The album starts with the GRAMMY nominated Winds Of Change from Hiroshima’s album Odori (1980). The new recorded version is more orchestral and focused on the ancient Japanese instruments. Mighty taiko drums are underlining the modern drum beat. Dan’s fabulous sax is shimmering over the ancient sound.

Continue reading Hiroshima – Legacy

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