Wagakki Band

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Wagakki Band
和楽器バンド
Wagakki Band Japan Expo.JPG
Wagakki Band during a photo shoot at Japan Expo 2014 in Paris
Background information
OriginJapan
Genres
Years active2013 (2013)–present
Labels
Associated acts Hanafugetsu
Website wagakkiband.com
Members Yuko Suzuhana
Kiyoshi Ibukuro
Daisuke Kaminaga
Beni Ninagawa
Kurona
Machiya
Asa
Wasabi

Wagakki Band (Japanese: 和楽器バンド, Hepburn: Wagakki Bando) is a Japanese band that combines rock music with wagakki (traditional Japanese musical instruments) and shigin (Japanese poems reciting art). [2] [3] [4] Their early songs were adapted from Vocaloid recordings but they have since written their own original music. Their music videos for the songs "Tengaku" (天樂) and " Senbonzakura " (千本桜) have attracted millions of views on YouTube. [5] [6] They have played live in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Contents

History

2012–2013: Conception and early work

Shigin singer Yuko Suzuhana (who had been elected Miss Nico Nama ニコ生 in 2011), shakuhachi player Kaminaga Daisuke, and koto player Ibukuro Kiyoshi formed the band Hanafugetsu in February 2012. [7] [8] Suzuhana also played piano at this time. Suzuhana then conceived a band that fused the traditional and modern sides of Japanese culture, leading to the formation of Wagakki Band.

In August 2012 the members of Hanafugetsu met guitarist Machiya, who was a notable session musician with a reputation for fast playing. [9] Around this time, Suzuhana also met drummer Wasabi at an event by Nico Nico Douga. [7] [5] Wasabi, Kaminaga, and Ibukuro had all previously worked with wadaiko player Kurona, who was invited to join the new ensemble. [9] The band's first work, still under the name Hanafugetsu, was an adaptation of the Vocaloid song "Tsuki Kage Mai Ka" (月・影・舞・華) with Kanade on shamisen and Shirakami Mashiro on bass. A video of the recording was released in October 2012 and went viral, remaining in the top 3 of the "Played It" category since then. [10]

Bassist Asa, a popular Vocaloid producer and creator of the hit song "Yoshiwara Lament", then joined the band. [5] During a gig in a Shibuya bar, the band was approached by shamisen player Ninagawa Beni, who became the final addition to the band. [7] [9] The formation of the new band was officially announced in March 2013. [11] [12] They initially operated under the name Suzuhana Yuko with Wagakki Band, but by early 2014 the name was shortened to simply Wagakki Band. [13] [10]

2013–2014: Early mainstream success

A video for the first song recorded by all eight current members of Wagakki Band, "Six Trillion Years and Overnight Story" (六兆年と一夜物語), was released in April 2013. [14] In August of that year they played their first live concert at Nico Nico Music Master 2. [13] [15] The music video for "Tengaku" (天樂) was released in October 2013; this video marked the first time guitarist Machiya revealed his face. [16] They then performed at the 10th Tokyo International Music Market (TIMM) for three nights in October. [13] At THE VOC@LOID M@STER 27, a Vocaloid convention in November 2013, the band released Joshou (序章), a mini album featuring Vocaloid covers. [13]

Wagakki Band held their first new year's concert, Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2014~Wagakki X Band Gassen~ (和楽器バンド大新年会~和楽器Xバンド合戦~), on 31 January 2014 at Shibuya's Club Asia. [13] On the same day, they released the music video for "Senbonzakura" (千本桜), which instantly became a hit on both Nico Nico Douga and YouTube, expanding their international exposure. [17] Wagakki Band covered Vocaloid songs for their first full-length album Vocalo Zanmai (ボカロ三昧), released in April 2014. [18] [19] The album reached no. 5 in the weekly Oricon rankings and stayed in the top 100 for 22 consecutive weeks. [13] After their early Vocaloid works, Wagakki Band has composed original music for their subsequent albums.

The band held their first overseas performance at Japan Expo 2014 in Paris, France in July, in front of 4,000 attendees. Their first independent concert, Vocalo Zanmai Dai Ensoukai (ボカロ三昧大演奏会), was held later in July at Shibuya's Music Exchange. [13] [20] The music video for Wagakki Band's first original song, "Hanabi" (華火), was released on Nico Nico Douga in July 2014, followed by a retail release. [13] [21] In August they appeared at Japan's a-Nation Festival, followed by an appearance at a-Nation Singapore Premium Showcase Festival in October. [13] The band wrapped up 2014 with the DVD and Blu-ray release of the Vocalo Zanmai Dai Ensoukai concert. [13]

2015–2020: International recognition

The band's first hall concert, Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2015 (和楽器バンド大新年会2015), was held at Shibuya Public Hall in January 2015. [13] Their first independent overseas concert, Taipei Dayanchanghui (台北大演唱会), was held in Taiwan in May of that year. [13] Also in 2015, Wagakki Band headlined a sold-out concert at Club Nokia in Los Angeles in conjunction with Anime Expo. The Vocaloid IA software persona was the opening act, also in her first North American live show. [13] They appeared in their first television commercial that year, for Kirin Mets. [13] The album Yasou Emaki (八奏絵卷) was released in September 2015 [22] and reached number one on the weekly Oricon chart. [13]

On 6 January 2016, the band held its annual New Year's concert, Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2016 Nippon Budokan: Akatsuki no Utage (和楽器バンド大新年会2016日本武道館 -暁ノ宴) at the Nippon Budokan. [23] The concert was attended by approximately 10,000 people. [23] The album Shikisai (四季彩) was released in 2017, [24] followed by Otonoe (オトノエ) in 2018. [25]

In May 2019, Wagakki Band performed as part of Japan Night 2019 in New York with Hyde, Misia, and Puffy AmiYumi. [26] A month later, the band signed a global contract with Universal Music Japan after five years with Avex Group. As part of the deal, the band's management was transferred to the newly-formed Ignite Management (イグナイトマネージメント, Igunaito Manējimento). In a press statement published by Suzuhana, the band wanted to challenge themselves in a new musical environment. [27] The EP React , featuring four new songs, was released in December 2019. [28]

On 16 February 2020, the band performed their "Premium Symphonic Night Vol.2" concert at Osaka-jō Hall, featuring a full orchestra and a special guest appearance by Evanescence lead vocalist Amy Lee. [29] Lee also collaborated with the band in recording the single "Sakura Rising". [30] The band's sixth full-length album, Tokyo Singing , which includes the collaboration with Amy Lee, was released in October 2020. [31] [32]

Members

Discography

Studio albums
Compilations
Live albums
Extended plays

Awards

YearCeremonyAwardNominated Work
2015 Japan Gold Disc Award [33] Best 5 New Artists
Japan Record Awards [34] Planning Award Yasou Emaki
2018 Japan Record Awards Excellent Album Award Otonoe

See also

Related Research Articles

Hanafugetsu is a Japanese band formed in 2012. Consisting of lead vocalist Yuko Suzuhana, shakuhachi player Daisuke Kaminaga, and koto player Kiyoshi Ibukuro, the trio became the basis for the fusion metal band Wagakki Band.

Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete 1985 single by Hiroko Moriguchi

"Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete" is the debut single by Japanese singer Hiroko Moriguchi, released on August 7, 1985 under Starchild Records. The song was written by Neil Sedaka and Masao Urino, based on Sedaka's unreleased song "For Us to Decide". It is best known as the second opening theme of the 1985 mecha anime series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. The single peaked at No. 16 on Oricon's singles charts, making it Moriguchi's biggest single at the time until "Eternal Wind" charted at No. 9 in 1991.

Yuko Suzuhana is a Japanese singer, composer, pianist, and poet, best known as the leader of Wagakki Band.

<i>Vocalo Zanmai</i> 2014 studio album by Wagakki Band

Vocalo Zanmai is the debut album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on April 23, 2014 by Avex Trax in three editions: CD only, CD with DVD, and CD with Blu-ray. The album features Vocaloid songs covered in the band's style of mixing traditional Japanese musical instruments (wagakki) with heavy metal. Their version of Kurousa-P's "Senbonzakura" has since become the band's signature song on live performances.

<i>Yasou Emaki</i> 2015 studio album by Wagakki Band

Yasou Emaki is the second studio album by Japanese band Wagakki Band and the band's first album of original songs. It was released on September 2, 2015 by Avex Trax in five editions: CD only, two music video editions, and two live concert editions with DVD or Blu-ray discs. The live concert editions feature the band's concerts at the Shibuya Public Hall on January 7, 2015 and the ATT Show Box in Taipei on May 10, 2015. In addition, a limited edition "Gōka Kenran Box" was released, featuring a digital copy of the album and both video editions on a special USB flash drive.

<i>Tokyo Singing</i> 2020 studio album by Wagakki Band

Tokyo Singing is the fifth studio album by Japanese band Wagakki Band. It was released on October 14, 2020 by Universal Music Japan in six editions: a two-CD release with an instrumental disc, streaming, a first edition release with 144-page photo book, and three first edition releases with optional DVD or Blu-ray discs. In addition, a fan club exclusive "Shin Yaeryū-ban" (真・⼋重流盤) edition was released, featuring Mini Brokker figures of the eight members and a Blu-ray copy of the "WagakkiBand Japan Tour 2019 React -Shinshō- Final" concert at Yokosuka Arts Theater. The album features "Sakura Rising", a collaboration with Amy Lee of Evanescence.

<i>Kiseki Best Collection +</i> 2017 compilation album by Wagakki Band

Kiseki Best Collection + is the first compilation album by Japanese band Wagakki Band. It was released on November 29, 2017 by Avex Trax in five editions: CD only, two music video editions, and two live concert editions with two DVDs or one Blu-ray disc. The live concert editions feature the Wagakki Band Hall Tour 2017: Shiki no Irodori show. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive box set was released, featuring both music video and concert DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and a bonus two-disc DVD of the Wagakki Band Heian Jingū Tandoku Hōnō Live in Wagakki Summit 2017 show. The album compiles the band's popular songs from their first three albums and includes five new songs.

<i>Otonoe</i> 2018 studio album by Wagakki Band

Otonoe (オトノエ) is the fourth studio album by Japanese band Wagakki Band and their final studio release under Avex Trax. It was released on April 25, 2018 in five editions: CD only, two music video editions, and two live concert editions with DVD or Blu-ray discs. The live concert editions feature the Wagakki Band Premium Symphonic Night ~ Live & Orchestra ~ in Osaka-jō Hall show. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive box set was released, featuring an instrumental CD, both music video and concert DVDs and Blu-ray discs.

<i>React</i> (Wagakki Band album) 2019 EP by Wagakki Band

React is the first EP by Japanese band Wagakki Band and their first studio release under Universal Music Japan. It was released on June 12, 2019 in three editions: CD only, CD with photo book, and CD with DVD. In addition, a Universal Music Store exclusive box set with all versions was released. The band conceptualized the EP as a way to express their belief with a strong will to deliver their music to people all over the world.

<i>Kiseki Best Collection II</i> 2020 compilation album by Wagakki Band

Kiseki Best Collection II is the second compilation album by Japanese band Wagakki Band. It was released on March 25, 2020 by Avex Trax in five editions: two-disc CD only, two music video editions, and two live concert editions with DVD or Blu-ray discs. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive box set was released, featuring both music video and concert DVDs and Blu-ray discs, and a bonus mini-album CD. The album compiles the band's popular songs from all of their releases during the Avex era.

<i>Starlight</i> (Wagakki Band album) 2021 EP by Wagakki Band

Starlight is the second EP by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on June 9, 2021 by Universal Music Japan in three editions: CD only, Mars Red First Edition with DVD, and Tokyo Singing First Edition with Blu-ray. In addition, a Official Fan Club exclusive box set with all versions will be released. The Tokyo Singing First Edition concert Blu-ray features the band's concert from the 2020 tour show at Tokyo Garden Theater. The track "Seimei no Aria" was used as the opening theme of the anime TV series Mars Red, while the title track was the ending theme of the Fuji TV drama series Ichikei no Karasu.

<i>Cradle of Eternity</i> 2016 studio album by Yuko Suzuhana

Cradle of Eternity is the debut solo album by Wagakki Band lead vocalist Yuko Suzuhana, released on November 23, 2016 by Avex Trax in three editions: CD only, two-disc CD, and CD with DVD or Blu-ray. In contrast to Wagakki Band's style of mixing traditional Japanese musical instruments (wagakki) with heavy metal, the album features a more mainstream J-pop sound. Initial releases of the album included a trading card with a code to download the character Yuko Ortensia for the PS Vita game SD Gundam G Generation Genesis. A mu-mo Shop exclusive release included a keychain of Yuko Ortensia.

<i>Vocalo Zanmai Dai Ensoukai</i> 2014 video by Wagakki Band

Vocalo Zanmai Dai Ensoukai is the first live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on November 26, 2014 by Avex Trax in two editions: two-disc DVD and single-disc Blu-ray. In addition, an Amazon Japan exclusive release includes a two-disc Audio CD version in each edition. The video covers the band's concert at the Akasaka Blitz on August 27, 2014.

<i>Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2016 Nippon Budokan: Akatsuki no Utage</i> 2016 video by Wagakki Band

Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2016 Nippon Budokan: Akatsuki no Utage is the second live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on March 23, 2016 by Avex Trax in four editions: two-disc DVD, single-disc Blu-ray, and both editions with two-disc Audio CDs. In addition, an Amazon Japan exclusive release includes a bonus video from the band's 2015 Japan tour. The video covers the band's concert at the Nippon Budokan on January 6, 2016. It also features "Senbonzakura" filmed at different angles featuring each member.

<i>Wagakki Band 1st US Tour Shōgeki: Deep Impact</i>

Wagakki Band 1st US Tour Shōgeki: Deep Impact is the third live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on January 25, 2017 by Avex Trax in four editions: DVD, Blu-ray, and both editions with additional documentary. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive release includes both documentary editions. The video covers the band's concert at the House of Blues San Diego on July 14, 2016 as part of their first U.S. tour.

<i>Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2017 Tokyo Taiikukan: Yuki no Utage/Sakura no Utage</i> 2017 video by Wagakki Band

Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2017 Tokyo Taiikukan: Yuki no Utage/Sakura no Utage is the fourth live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on June 21, 2017 by Avex Trax in six editions: 2-disc DVD, single-disc Blu-ray, two Documentary editions, and two Live CD editions. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive release includes all editions and a bonus audio CD. The video covers the band's two-day concert at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on February 17–18, 2017.

<i>Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2018 Yokohama Arena: Ashita e no Kōkai</i> 2018 video by Wagakki Band

Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2018 Yokohama Arena: Ashita e no Kōkai is the fifth live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on August 8, 2018 by Avex Trax in four editions: DVD, Blu-ray, and two Live CD editions. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive release includes all editions and a poster. The video covers the band's concert at the Yokohama Arena on January 27, 2018.

<i>Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2019 Saitama Super Arena 2 Days: Ryūgū no Tobira</i> 2019 video by Wagakki Band

Wagakki Band Daishinnenkai 2019 Saitama Super Arena 2 Days: Ryūgū no Tobira is the sixth live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on March 20, 2019 by Avex Trax in four editions: two-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray, and two Live CD editions. In addition, a mu-mo Shop exclusive release includes all editions and bonus DVD and Blu-ray copies of the band's Dai 36-kai Seikaiisan Gekijō ~ Munakata Taisha Wagakki Band Tandoku wo Hōnō Live concert. The video covers the band's two-day concert at the Saitama Super Arena on January 5–6, 2019. It was the band's final release with Avex Trax before their contract expired and they signed with Universal Music Japan in June of that year.

<i>Manatsu no Daishinnenkai 2020 Yokohama Arena: Tenkyū no Kakehashi</i> 2020 video by Wagakki Band

Manatsu no Daishinnenkai 2020 Yokohama Arena: Tenkyū no Kakehashi is the seventh live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on December 9, 2020 by Universal Music Japan in four editions: DVD, Blu-ray, Live CD Edition DVD, and Live CD Edition Blu-ray with 60-page photo book. The video covers the band's concert at the Yokohama Arena on August 15, 2020.

<i>Daishinnenkai 2021 Nippon Budokan: Amanoiwato</i> 2021 video by Wagakki Band

Daishinnenkai 2021 Nippon Budokan: Amanoiwato is the eighth live video album by Japanese band Wagakki Band, released on June 9, 2021 by Universal Music Japan in two editions: Blu-ray + DVD and a limited edition release with 60-page photo book. The video covers the band's two-day concert at the Nippon Budokan on January 3–4, 2021.

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