Japanese culture is ubiquitous in major cities across Canada with its popularity apparent in areas such as food/cuisine, fashion, video games and technology.
But Japanese music gets little to no recognition at all.
Which is unfortunate since Tokyo secretly harbors what is arguably the most exciting music scene in the world.
Compared to their North American counterparts Japanese musicians tend to be more adventurous when it comes to song-writing and especially live performances.
Females also play a much more prominent role on-stage, in the audience and as sound technicians.
Tokyo’s independent and underground music scene has an ebullient energy and freshness that is highly addictive and without peer.
Tourists visit Japan to feast on sushi and ramen, sightsee at temples and spas and enjoy the weirdness of capsule-hotels and maid-cafes.
Yes, the food is awesome, but to visit Tokyo and not spend a night watching a show at a tiny live-house in Koenji or Shimokitazawa is to miss out on one of the best experiences Japan has to offer.
Next Music from Tokyo is a non-profit, one-of-a-kind tour transporting the audience on a virtual trip to a gig in Tokyo’s underground live house scene.
Choosing the line-up of bands each tour is a painstaking process that strives to
showcase a wide mix of musical styles while emphasizing the highest quality of
music and performance on-stage.
The goal is to curate the best concert the audience has ever seen by featuring Japanese bands that play with a degree of skill, creativity, energy and passion that is rarely seen in Canada.
Vol 2 was named the best concert in Montreal for 2010 by the Montreal Mirror.
Vol 3 included a legendary sold-out show at the Rivoli which made BlogTO’s list of best concerts in Toronto for 2011.
“Will I be able to enjoy the music if I don’t understand Japanese?”
Music transcends the Japanese-English language barrier because even without lyrics music uses rhythm, melody and tone to communicate a myriad of emotions with feedback reciprocating from the audience in the form of applause, cheers and dancing. Even if sushi, Godzilla and karaoke are the only Japanese words in your vocabulary you can still enjoy the music thoroughly and appreciate the gist of the emotional content and ideas being expressed.
Next Music from Tokyo may not succeed in becoming the best show you see your entire life but we’ll settle for somewhere in the top 3 while introducing Canadians to the great music that is overflowing from all parts of Japan, especially Tokyo.