The concept of blending traditional instruments and sounds with modern musical genres isn’t a new concept; one need only look at examples like the Yoshida Brothers rocking out on shamisen to see it done well. Wagakki Band takes that musical fusion to a new level through its sheer size: a group of 8 musicians including shigin singer Yuuko Suzuhana, Machiya on guitar, Beni Ninagawa on shamisen, Kiyoshi Ibukuro working the koto, Asa on bass, the energetic Daisuke Kaminaga playing the shakuhachi (Japanese recorder/flute), and Wasabi and Kurona on drums. Their hopes, spelled out during their press conference, was to connect with audiences across different cultures.
Lofty sentiments to be sure, but the Wagakki Band is capable of delivering upon that promise. In the course of doing some pre-concert research on the band, I came across their video for “Senbonzakura”. Wagakki Band takes the Vocaloid source material, gives it a rock backdrop, and sends it off with Yuuko Suzuhana’s vocals. The song itself is enjoyable and the band’s manic energy goes a long way to showcase their passion for their medium.