This weekend we saw the Yoshida Brothers at the Old Town School of Folk Music. It was really really cool.
They are amazing shamisen players who popularized the ancient instrument by playing traditional and western style music.
Their tag line is that they play "with the fervor of Jimi Hendrix".
Seeing them in person is stunning because of the speed with which they play and how they are able to synchronize their playing at that speed.
They started with a more traditional song. It seemed like the shamisen was talking, in Japanese, of coarse but they were making it talk. I've heard guitarists do this as well and it started me thinking.
That people create instruments that sounds like their language. It seems like a simple concept but I've never thought of it before.
The equivalent western instrument is a banjo. The banjo has a very twangy sound much like the American South and Appalachia.
I would love to see a shamisen player and banjo player play together. That would be really cool.
Fun Fact. The Yoshida Brothers are from Noboribetsu, Japan, which is one of my favorite places in Japan.