Rockin’ Shamizen

The Yoshida Brothers - III
The Yoshida Brothers – III
The Yoshida Brothers

III (Domo Records, 2006)

The Yoshida Brothers are back with an album where they keep pushing the limits of the venerable Tsugaru-shamisen. On their third album, virtuoso musicians Ryoichiro and Kenichi Yoshida play a number of rockin’ pieces rooted in Japanese folklore, as well as deeply melancholic compositions, which are also rooted in Japanese music.

The Yoshida Brothers go beyond Japan. There is a visit to the lands of South
America on “Passion,” where they add tango elements, including bandoneon.

On several compositions, The Yoshida Brothers show their rapid fire expertise, playing fast paced shamisen duos. But there are also quieter moments. My favorite of these is the
delightful “Fuyu No Sakura,” which shows the beauty of contemporary Japanese music, combining evocative shamisen with distant taiko drums and shakuhachi flute.

But there is more. On an instrumental piece titled “Morricone” The Yoshida Brothers show their admiration for the famous Italian composer’s movie scores.

Buy III.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.