Plapla Pinky at Villette Sonique on Saturday 25th May

A great piece of news that is sure to please a good number of you: Plapla Pinky are playing at the Villette Sonique festival on Saturday 25th May at 7pm.

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Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys

Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys

The Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys look like a real bunch of outsiders. They are a singular mix of good humour, electro and… mambo! Each Tokyo Panorama Mambo boy is a member of numerous projects, a true band of incorrigible adventurers: Gonzalez Suzuki, a radio presenter on Love FM and the leader/producer of the jazz club group Soul Bossa Trio; Paradise Yamamoto, first official Japanese Santa and the celebrated inventor of Mambonsai; Comoesta Yaegashi, a Japanese DJ pioneer who regularly officiates alongside Yasuharu Konishi (Pizzicato Five) on the label Readymade.

The origins of the Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys date back to the end of the 1980s; 1986 to be precise. A strange formation (2 percussionists and a DJ) to say the least, they launched themselves onto the Tokyo club scene and were soon in the Oricon charts (information and statistics on the Japanese music industry). The adventure lasted 6 years. In 1993, they decided to take a break to give some time to their (numerous) other activities. 2008 is the year of the big comeback. Like an exotic phoenix rising from the flames, the Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys have resumed service. Energy and bonhomie intact, they are embracing the dance floors once again with their sparkling made-to-measure mambo.

Mambo? Damaso Perez Prado introduced mambo to Japan at the beginning of the 1950s, first on record, then on stage when he visited the archipelago for the first time in 1959 and performed several memorable concerts in Ginza and Asakusa. Mambo took Japan by storm, even the celebrated enka (Japanese popular music) singer, Hibari Misora, put her melodies to latin rhythms. The energy of the mambo was the perfect accompaniment to the atmosphere of post-war Japan, the Showa period, “the 30 glorious years”. A veritable process of hybridisation began, which lasted until the introduction of rock.

What remains is the memory of the energy and ecstatic atmosphere that reigned over the bars and dancehalls of the capital. And it’s this energy that the Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys want to access. There is no nostalgia though. The Tokyo Panorama Mambo Boys are simply worried that the music of today has become too cold. So they’re getting out the congas and putting on their frilly shirts to go out on a new mission; warm the hearts.

© 2008 text: Franck Stofer, translation: Jack Sims, photo: Eric Bossick

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Tatsuya Yoshida

Tatsuya Yoshida

A real octopus, Tatsuya Yoshida began the drums at the beginning of the 1980s. 25 years later, he has become a truly polyrhythmic monster with syncopated respiration. An initiate in progressive music from high-school days, Tatsuya Yoshida listened to Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Camel and This Heat. Although he cites his main influence as Christian Vander and Magma’s Kobaïan operatic choruses and interlaced phrasing, Tatsuya Yoshida also mines other seams to create a new, complex and concentrated style, incorporating the expressivity of prog rock, the freedom of jazz and the energy of punk.

The foundations of Japanese independent and alternative music were born in the Eighties. Tatsuya Yoshida was already playing in the group YBO2 beside Masashi Kitamura and K.K. Null (Zeni Geva) when, in 1985, he formed a duo, Ruins, with just bass and drums. Four bass players came and went: Hideki Kawamoto, Kazuyoshi Kimoto, Ryuichi Masuda and Hisashi Sasaki. With the departure of his last bassist, Tatsuya Yoshida set out on a quest for a new pretender, but abandoned his mission, unable to find a candidate up to the job. The music Ruins were creating had become so complex that electronic machines were now Tatsuya Yoshida’s ideal partner.

Ruins then became Ruins Alone. Like syrup or strong alcohol, Ruins make music that makes you grimace. Ruins is a lab of the Tatsuya Yoshida stamp, a direct interface between his brain and his drumsticks. You could get 15 rock records out of one Ruins album, just by adding a bit of fizzy water. Each composition could be developed in many different directions. Tatsuya Yoshida plays in over 20 groups; he needs to, to sustain sufficient space for his overflowing creativity.

Tatsuya Yoshida has worked with some of the greatest improvisers on the planet, such as John Zorn, Fred Frith or Derek Bailey. Today, above and beyond the Ruins Alone project, Tatsuya Yoshida is the composer and drummer both in Korekyojinn, an instrumental trio that pushes polyrhythmic complexity to its ultimate limits, and the Koenji Hyakkei ensemble, a quasi-orchestral formation that bridges the gap between prog rock and contemporary music. In his time out from music, Monsieur Yoshida compulsively photographs stones. He travels the world in search of the mineral beauty of monumental statues and the millennial energy of rocks.

© 2008 text: Franck Stofer, translation: Jack Sims, photo: Eric Bossick

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