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Global Beats: Ringo Shiina (Japan)


Japan cranks out new pop talent faster than you get from one station to the next on a Toyko subway train. But there is one particular artist that has struck my interest with her unique and uncompromising style of making music.

Meet Ringo Shiina, one of the most outspoken and creative pop artists from the Land of the Rising Sun. Shiina infuses her Japanese brand of pop rock (also called J-Rock) with elements of blues, jazz and traditional Japanese music with a cabaret-like elegance.

In 1998, Shiina debuted at age 19 as a solo artist with the single "Kōfukuron." In 2004, she started the band Tokyo Jihen to give way to her ambitions to turn up her rock edge. But late last year, she decided to be a solo artist again. Her first project was to serve as musical director of the movie "Sakuran," which inspired some of her upcoming new work.

Her new album "Heisei Fuzoku" will be released in Japan on February 21. The name Heisei refers to the current era in Japan (from 1989 on) and the ambiguous Fuzoku refers to both prostitution and formal manners or customs (Japanese is clearly of language of hidden connotations). The album includes new songs, covers and previously released tracks re-recorded with famed violinist Saito Neko.

I'm totally loving two songs on this album. The first is sparkling "Yokushitsu" ("Bathroom") with its gorgeous classical undertones and MUST-SEE video. The second tune to check out is her current single" Kono Yo no Kagiri," a frivolous, Broadway-esque duet with her brother Jumpei that will have you dancing along even when you have no clue what the song is about. It remind me somewhat of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" for some reason.

Watch Ringo Shinna "Yokushitu" (English Version)
Watch Ringo & Shiina & Jumpei Shinna "Kono Yo No Kagiri"

[This post was written in support of Madonna's Raising Malawi. Donate today. Email me if you have suggestions for Global Beats. Find previous installments of Global Beats here.]

February 14, 2007 in Global Beats | Permalink


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i love shiina!

you should also check out her art project called tokyo jihen (or in some cases called the tokyo incidents)


Posted by: redrival at Feb 14, 2007 8:42:45 AM

good morning arjan....
feliz dia de valentina --
i'll have to listen....avoid myspace like the plague -- all that traffic with bad interface and crashing systems. it needs an overhaul like so many things.

met someone from malawi over the years -- phobic and resentful of geographic placement....sorry, i am very familiar with geography of asia particularly south east asia programs and other nations of the homophobic and hateful african continent.

these people give relief programs such a bad name. it's like fags who spend an imbalanced ledger of time on britney's beaver cleaver and don't even touch the stuff!!

lots of issues -- lots of orphans -- lots of dis-ease -- music can work more than it has. money trying to speak where it can't. more is required than the lower chakras and adolescent behavior.

by the way, re: the scot. surprisingly, there is a little discrimination amongst (gasp!) whites in england.

Posted by: ricardo at Feb 14, 2007 12:44:28 PM

Please call her Shiina Ringo - Ringo means apple, and she chose her name to refer to Fiona Apple.

Posted by: at Feb 17, 2007 11:17:12 AM

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