In Japan, An Accordion for Every Child

We’re busy moving into a new place, so “MP3 Monday” will be postponed until later in the week. In the meantime, I’ll share a fun video from Accordeonactueel which, as best I can tell, is a Dutch accordion news site. Among the videos they’ve posted is this one featuring a series of Japanese childrens’ orchestras. (It could be the same one, just with different combinations of musicians.) But these are no ordinary orchestras — they’re made up almost entirely of accordions and melodicas. Why don’t we see groups like this in the US?

Koharu and Minority Orchestra

I usually associate bulky, five-row chromatic accordions with stern Eastern European men who play Rachmaninoff for fun. Not pony-tailed 19-year-old Japanese girls in short skirts. But this video of Koharu, accordionist for the all-female street band Minority Orchestra, has changed my perception. I tried running her website through Google’s translator, but then it made even less sense. Fortunately, her playing needs no translation.

If you enjoy this clip, be sure to watch her band performing in a vegetable patch.

[Found via Boing Boing]

Japanese Accordion/Ukulele Duel

We’ve mentioned jazz accordion here before, but never jazz ukulele, and certainly never the two together. However, this clip of swingin’ Japanese ukulele duo TTCafe (with guests) covers it all. A fairly straightforward rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic “Sir Duke” morphs into a spirited give-and-take between Kunitaka Watanabe on accordion and Takashi Nakamura on ukulele.

Jabara Sisters from Japan

Is it just me, or is YouTube the best thing ever? I mean, where else would I have found this video of the Jabara Sisters, a female Japanese accordion duo performing a traditional Romanian tune in what looks like someone’s grandmother’s living room? If enjoy this clip, check out another one of them doing a klezmer tune with one sister playing the pianica (melodica).

Goto Izumi and Her Accordion

Further proof of the accordion’s universal reach — I stumbled upon this clip of Goto Izumi, accordionist and vocalist for Japanese band Nekomushi, from a recent solo show in Hiroshima. I have no idea what she’s singing (or what those baby dolls are doing there), but the message would probably be lost in translation anyway.

[Found via Little Foreigner]

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