Recently I was toying with the idea of learning the shamisen. So, I went to everyone`s favourite resource which is of course YouTube, and started listening to some clips. Most of the stuff was pretty impressive and I started to watch this one song which started off with a shamisen intro by the Yoshida Brothers. For anyone that doesn`t know, the Yoshida Brothers are shamisen megastars, really amazing players. The clip was titled, “Change”, on the Yoshida Brothers YouTube channel and was a collaboration with a group named Monkey Majik. Monkey Majik? Sounded familiar I thought. I watched the clip and got a very pleasant surprise.
Monkey Majik turned out to be a Sendai-based alternative pop/rap group that was named in tribute to that old TV show of the same name. The band consists of four guys, two Canadians (the Plant brothers, Maynard and Blaise) and two Japanese. Many Jpop bands, when most become successful move to Tokyo, but Monkey Majik has remained based in Sendai close its their fan base. They debuted in 2000 and sing in both Japanese and English. Change was released on April 25, 2007 in collaboration with the Yoshida Brothers and reached the number 52 spot on the Oricon charts. It`s a fantastic song mixing the shamisen with modern instruments, a great sound and the clip is filled with some great imagery as well.
You can see Monkey Majik`s official (English) website here.