Kagrra, (spelled with a ‘,’ on the end) are quite possibly my fav band right now. So now Im rounding up as much info as I can find about them. My Japanese language skills are virtually non existant, so all the info I find will be from other peoples sites. But I will give credit where credit is due and you will find links to all the info Ive abstracted. Unfortunately many of the websites I’ve found have great info, but haven’t been updated for a few years 😦 but il keep looking. For more up to date news and events I suggest looking at their official website (which has an english section with tour dates but sparse on info, so this is gonna mostly be about band info. Ok? good. ^^
Kagrra, is a deliberate misspelling of the Japanese word 神楽, or “kagura” (a traditional Japanese dance connected to Shinto traditions). Their name reflects the driving force behind their music, the band classify themselves as neo-japanesque rather than visual kei. They are strongly influenced by Wa’, which is basically (in my understanding) the essence of traditional japanese music, art and culture and in a sense, ‘being’ japanese. They incorporate ‘Wa’ into their music by using traditional instruments such as the Koto, and using traditional japanese melodies, scales, and rhythms. Isshi (vocalist) as a fan of classical Japanese literature also occasionally includes old japanese vocabulary and themes into his lyrics. On stage and for video they would also wear kimono, use fans, wear their hair in typical visual-kei style. Yet lately there has been a shift in the realm of visual kei away from the weird and wonderful, to a slightly more reserved image to open their music to a wider audience. Kagrra, have also done this as they believe that their previous image limited their musical expression and their new, more everyday style reflects the growth, evolution and perhaps maturity of their music. However for foreign audiences (recently they played in LA, America) they prefer to wear kimono as to help the audience have a greater appreciation and understanding of their style of music.
Kagrra, is the incarnation of the band CROW (1998 – 2000). CROW was started by the current members Isshi (vocals), Izumi (drums) and Nao (bass). They advertised for a guitarist in a local music store, and soon Akiya and Shin joined. During their time as CROW (signed under Key Party Records) they produced 1 mini album and 1 DVD and toured with their ‘brother band’ Lar~Mia. CROW were known as ‘kuroi tori -black bird’ and Lar~Mia as ‘shiroi tori – white bird’. It was also during this time they wrote their popular song Hyakki Yakou.
In 2000, they left their brother band, renamed themselves Kagrra and signed up under PS Company records. Later that June, Kagrra played Live for the first time, and released a mini album ‘Nue’ in December, which quickly sold out and had a second press in March 2001.
Also in March 2001, they went on tour with Dué le quartz and Ash for the TRIBAL WARNING tour, and together they released the WARNING! single in September 2001.
It was also with PS Company that they started using Fukaya Yoichiro for their album cover art. His illustrations became a kind of trademark of Kagrra within the fan community, but unfortunately they dropped this designer in 2006 as they underwent an image change.
In 2003 Kagrra signed with Columbia records and were henceforth known as Kagrra, adding a ‘,’ after their name that is actually symbolizing a magatama – a stone bead with a tail that were used as beads to gain protection from Kami. With Columbia, they produced 3 full length albums, Miyako (2004), San (2005) and Shizuku (2007). It was after San that they decided to change their image to suit a more mainstream audience, while continuing to bring ‘wa’ into their music, but without being limited by it.
In 2008 they released their latest album Core (King Records), which is a follow on from the style of their previous album Shizuku.
[Help needed: All their promotional work still seems to be with PS Company. Does this mean PS Company is more like an agent/producer that uses other record companies to make the records on their behalf? Im not quite sure how this works. ^^]
[Note: Ive tried translating their blogs with Altavista babelfish, which isnt a huge help, but is rather amusing.]
Isshi – vocalist. Born: 7 December 1978, Nagano. Blood type: A. Personal blog (in Japanese)
If you’re curious, this is a blog by a kind person who translated his blog nicely to english. Its a bit old, but you can get an idea of what a nice person Isshi is (see how nice he talks about his fellow band members).
Isshi has a wonderful vocal range, and has a certain ‘soft’ quality to his voice which gives it a mellow, almost soothing tone, without being weak or reedy. [Its also great to sing along to as a girl, coz a lot of his vocals are in my vocal range ^^]
Akiya -Guitarist. Born 25th August 1980, Ibaraki. Blood type: B. Personal blog (in Japanese)
Akiya is the youngest member of the band, and is also the main composer. He is a big fan of the Smashing Pumpkins (especially ex pumpkins guitarist James Iha (now possibly working on a solo album)) and enjoys many other bands and styles -western and eastern. Akiya is a very talented guitarist, and is one of the few japanese artists to play a 7 string guitar.
Shin – Guitarist, Koto & music mixing technician [<-what is that called anyone? ^^’] Born: 11 September 1979, Saitama. Blood type: B. Personal Blog
Shin is often considered the shy boy of the group as he doesn’t say an awful lot during interviews. He is very hard working and often spends hours in the studio as the music technician of the group, mixing and the like. As a guitarist he is very talented, and can juggle 2 guitars in the same song. He is a fan of LUNA SEA, and his favourite place is his Futon where he goes to relax, sleep, pass time etc. [Personally, I agree. Bed is the best! <3]
Nao – Bassist. born 5th February 1979, Hokkaido. Blood type: A Personal Blog
Nao has a rather large female fan following, mainly due to his charisma, and feminine features, yet still remaining masculine. During Lives’, Nao plays 4, 5, and 6 string basses, but usually plays a 5 string. He learned to play the bass from his older brother. Hes also a fan of metal.
Izumi – drums. Born 11 February 1979, Hokkaido. Blood Type: O. Personal blog
Izumi is considered by the other members of the band to be the leader and the best at cooking. He was the best friend of Nao as they grew up, and gets along well with everyone. He enjoys collecting manga and is also big on jazz music. His strong drum lines and rhythms are major aspects of kagrras, songs, and add to the ‘wa’ of their music.
Albums & EPs:
|Nue (鵺)||December 1, 2000||PS Company|
|Sakura (桜)||March 3, 2001||PS Company|
|Irodori (彩)||October 3, 2001||PS Company|
|Kirameki (煌)||May 1, 2002||PS Company|
|Gozen||December 11, 2002||PS Company|
|Ouka Ranman (桜花爛漫)||September 24, 2003||PS Company|
|Miyako (京)||March 03, 2004||Columbia|
|San (燦)||July 20, 2005||Columbia|
|Shizuku (雫)||February 14, 2007||Columbia|
|Core||January 9, 2008||King Records|
|“Kotodama” (恋綴魂)||June 21, 2000||PS Company|
|“Genwaku no Joukei” (幻惑の情景)||April 27, 2001||PS Company|
|“Memai” (眩暈)||May 26, 2001||PS Company|
|“Kamiuta” (神謌)||June 29, 2001||PS Company|
|“Tsurezure Naru Mama Ni…” (徒然なるままに、、、)||April 27, 2001||PS Company|
|“Yume Izuru Chi” (夢イズル地)||April 3, 2002||PS Company|
|“Iro wa Nioedo” (いろはにほへと)||May 5, 2002||PS Company|
|“Kakashi” (案山子)||May 5, 2002||PS Company|
|“Sakura Mai Chiru Ano Oka De” (桜舞い散るあの丘で)||October 4, 2002||PS Company|
|“Kotodama” (恋綴魂)||October 4, 2002||PS Company|
|“Haru Urara” (春麗ら)||May 28, 2003||PS Company|
|“Yotogi Banashi” (夜伽噺)||July 30, 2003||PS Company|
|“Urei” (愁)||January 1, 2004||Columbia|
|“Rin” (凛)||July 21, 2004||Columbia|
|“Omou” (憶)||October 27, 2004||Columbia|
|“Sarasouju no Komoriuta” (沙羅双樹の子護唄)||February 2, 2005||Columbia|
|“Gen’ei no Katachi” (幻影の貌)||February 2, 2005||Columbia|
|“Chikai no Tsuki” (誓ノ月)||February 1, 2006||Columbia|
|“Utakata” (うたかた) *||November 22, 2006||Columbia|
Heres a couple of videos from past to present:
Early Kagrra: ‘Hyakki Yakou’ (live 2003)
Bit later: ‘Kotodama’ -2000 or 2002?
Mid-ish: ‘Urei’ 2004
Mid range: ‘Satsuki’ 2005
Change of image: ‘Sakebi’ 2007
Latest PV: ‘Irodori No sanka’ 2008
In My Humble Opinion:
The first song I heard by Kagrra, was probably the PV of Kotodama. It seemed interesting, but I wasnt hooked. It wasnt until I heard Irodori No Sanka that I was awestruck. (Im still relatively new to Kagrra, ^^) So I listened to the album Core and absolutely loved it! More! more! so then I heard Shizuku and that was just as great. Their music is so beautiful, especially when they incorporate ‘japanese’ sounds into their songs via the koto, by Izumis excellent drum lines and their melodies. I just recently heard San which I found to be a mix of their newer and older styles. The difference is quite noticeable and although their new style is still Kagrra, i can understand why some of their older fans might feel a bit like they sold out. Personally I prefer their new music style as thats what i started with (tho their previous image with the kimono was very pretty & cool ^^). Kagrra, have an almost spiritual quality to their music (I guess thats what ‘wa’ is) that always makes me happy no matter my mood. They have a nice mix of melancholy and happy songs which is great, and are have enough rock to not be considered pop, but they dont have a harsh quality that you sometimes find in visual bands (I think its mostly due to Isshi’s mellow voice). I also like how close they are, and how strong the friendship and respect between them is. Its really nice. So far I havent got bored of them and Im really looking forward to what they come out with next 🙂 (from what babelfish basically translated, I think theyre in the process of recording again. Should be good ^^)
Kagrra, Core Lyrics translation (thanks lesyeuxjaunes ^^)
A small amount of GuitarProTabs (Kotodama, Sakebi, Utakata)
Kagrra, No Su (Kagrra,’s nest) (check out youtube) -This is Kagrra,’s mini show about what they get up to in their spare time, -news and being silly. Great if you can understand Japanese! but amusing to watch if you dont anyway ^^
Filed under: About!Music:~ |
Tags: j-rock, japanese, Kagrra, music, neo-japanesque, wa