Japan Expo Paris - July 4-7, 2019 Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center
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WagakkiBand

A new very original and outstanding band is welcomed this year at Japan Expo’s Live House: WagakkiBand possesses a style of its own, a miraculous fusion between authentic traditional instruments and rock!

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biography

On December the 4th, 2011, Yuko SUZUHANA (vocals) wins the shigin (a performance of reciting and chanting a poem) contest of Nippon Columbia and decides to really engage herself into music, with something of her own: a fusion between shigin and contemporary music. The shigin come from the Edo period and are often undermined and a bit forgotten, since they are old instruments. Yuko wanted to show the world the special rhythm and beautifyl melody of this undervalued instrument. She then decides to play shingi live on Nico Nico Douga (a very popular videosharing website in Japan), and the number of followers immediately inscreased! People called her “shigin no Yukorin”. She then won the Miss Nico nama 2011 contest, which elects the best video posteress.

Sometime later, Yuko decides to add traditional instruments to her music. During auditions, she meets the very talented musicians Kiyoshi IBUKURO (koto, stringed musical instrument) and Daisuke KAMINAGA (shakuhachi, a flute made of bamboo). The three of them form the traditional trio Hanafugetsu. They immediately receive positive feedback from their fans concerning their innovative performances, for the power felt in the voice of Yuko, the flowing melodies of Ibukuro at the koto, or the energy of Kaminaga at the shakuhachi.

It is around that time that Yuko, the leader of the band, decides to add still more members: someone at the electric guitar, at the bass and at the drums. The three members of the band meet Machiya (guitar) in August 2012 during a Nico Nico Douga event. Moved by Yuko’s shigin and already thriving from a good reputation in Japan as session member at gigs and recording sessions of various major artists, he meets the trio and enters the band. Soon after that, Kurona(wadaiko, japanese traditional drums) and his lifelong friend Wasabi (drums) also join the others on their big adventure. Both Kurona and Wasabi have grown up from a very young age into a traditional musical world, and know how to contribute with their own personal ideas.

Asa (bass) and Yuko also meet during at approximately the same time. It was during a gig in a dining bar at Shibuya that the band meets Beni NINAGAWA, a tsugaru shamisen player from Tôkyô who plays this instrument since she was 4 years-old, besides being also an actress and an idol. At the end of the performance, she was so touched and moved that went to meet and introduce herself to Yuko SUZUHANA, with tears in her eyes. That’s when the band was finally fully formed.

With the support of the government’s project Cool Japan, they have grown fast as a band and are already very famous on Nico Nico Douga. Their videos are broadcast at the entrance of stores of the clothing brand gouk, and their last video Tengaku was seen more than 200 000 times in four days. An ever-increasing popularity… and it’s only the beginning!

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