Found it! Sorta.
September 13, 2007
When I was sitting in a train station in Japan, I watched a variety show that featured a young guy with a banjo lookin’ thing who was dressed in traditional garb … but produced some SERIOUS TECHNO ACTION with some lady with a flute and a guy with a drum. It was awesome.
Not being able to communicate in Japanese has put a serious crimp in my plans to find out who this guy was and buy all of the music he’s ever made. So, this evening I was hunting around on the Intertron, and found a few things that get me close … but not quite there.
First, the thing he was playing is called a shamisen, which translated into American means “three stringed, cat skin banjo, played with a spatula.” No joke, it’s made with cat skin.
That let me dig up some pretty sweet stuff, like this dueling shamisen video, some hot solo action, a little shamisen vs. a DJ, and a shimsen vs. taiko video that gets pretty darned close to what I heard in that train station. The common thread in most of the good stuff I found is Kinoshita Shinichi, who, apparently, has awesome fingers. This is a promising lead.
Any chance anyone else out there can help me in my quest?
Update: Worth posting again — the Hifana Wamono video that planted the Japanese hip hop / techno seed in my brain earlier this year.