Dec 15, 2015

Christmas Concert at Daikanyama Unit Tokyo on December 23, 2015

Since 2008, Hikashu has been holding special concert with guests around christmas time and this year it will be held at Daikanyama Unit Tokyo on December 23.

This year's guests are Sakata Akira, Tennis Courts, Kamomentaru, and Semba Yuki. Also Nanawo provides djing between sets.

Sakata Akira is a veteran jazz saxophonist who has been a frequent collaborator of Hikashu (and Jim O'Rourke's idol). He started playing in late 1960s, joined Yamashita Yosuke Trio in early 1970s and toured worldwide. Later he went solo and remains quite busy to this day.

Tennis Courts is a pop duo. Kamomentaru is a comedians duo. Semba Yuki is a model and dancer who graced the cover of the "Hanauta Hajime" album which Hikashu released in 1991.

This annual Christmas concert features a special program and fans throughout the country come to gather for the event. It's quite a treat so come and join the crowd.

Sakata Akira

Tennis Courts


Semba Yuki

Sakata Akira throws a sales pitch about the christmas concert

Hikashu's own notice for the concert

"Hikashu's Christmas 2015"
@ Daikanyama Unit
Daikanyama, Tokyo
open 17:00 - start 18:00
adv 4,000 yen
tickets available now via Ticket Pia, Lawson Ticket and eplus.

Daikanyama Unit, Tokyo

Dec 5, 2015

Hikashu - Return to Tengri PV (2015)

Makigami just uploaded PV of "Return to Tenguri", a cut from Hikashu's latest album, Ikitekoi Chinmoku [Silence Be Alive].

The video uses footages from their recent Russian tour, probably this year.

Nov 29, 2015

Nomoto Kazuhiro Memorial Concert on November 30 and December 13, 2015

In November and December 2015, Hikashu holds two concerts commemorating the late Nomoto Kazuhiro, an ex-member of the band.

Nomoto started playing alto saxophone while attending a college in Tokyo. He joined Hikashu in 1984 shortly after graduating. Soon he went contributing the band by playing and composing.

He quitted the band in 2002, and died next year by esophageal cancer. He was 43.

In 2004, Hikashu already has did a tribute concert for him with Umezu Kazutoki who is a veteran saxophone player and a long time collaborator of Nomoto. So this is the second time the band commemorating the deceased one.

This time there is a lot of guest, all of them had played with him in the past and getting together for commemorating him.

For Hikashu fan, this is a big reunion as well. Being formed in 1978, the band went through many line-up, and two of them will be reformed. Part one is 1991 and Part two is 1996 and both line-up have left impressive albums for us. They were great bands - so don't miss these precious opportunities.

November 11, 2015
Nomoto Kazuhiro Memorial Concert Part 1
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
Acts: Hikashu with Inoue Makoto (synthesizer) and Tsuno Ken (drums), Otomo Yoshihide (guitar), Kuri Corder Quartet
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

December 13, 2015
Nomoto Kazuhiro Memorial Concert Part 2
@ Pit-Inn
Shinjuku, Tokyo
Acts: Hikashu with Yoshimori Makoto (keyboard) and Niida Kozo (drums), Yanoyuki (theremin) and Akagi Chuji (vocal, guitar), Sakata Akira (alto saxophone), Betsuni Nammo Klezmer
open 16:30 - start 17:00
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen

Pit-Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Nov 25, 2015

"a sonic explosion from another world" - Hikashu in Copenhagen 2015

Hikashu at Kocertkirken, Copenhagen on October 31, 2015. photo Lars Bjørnø

Hikashu has just completed a foreign tour. This time the band performed in Russia, Lithuania, Germany, and Denmark. Notably they broke into west europe at last, although this is not the first time ever -  they played in Berlin and Hannover in 1991 shortly after recording the "Hanauta Hajime" album at Hansa Ton Studio in Berlin.

Anyway, the result is very encouraging - it seems that the reception is quite well everywhere they performed. The following is one of the evidence - the review of G((o))ng Tomorrow 2015, the avant-garde music festival in Copenhagen. The original is in Danish (of course) and the excerpt is quoted here with the help of the mighty Google Translate.

A blow for tomorrow's music or an echo of the past?
Reportage from G ((o)) ng Tomorrow 2015
by Simon Christensen

With the name change from Wundergrund to G ((o)) ng Tomorrow desired festival organizers to strike a blow for tomorrow's music. This showed from the speech at the opening concert in the Concert Church, after which the pretty amazing percussionist Marilyn Mazur struck festival officially gong with a cozy newly composed piece (for gongs in different sizes), and so the name was sworn in with the stylish 'Selbst bewusstheit'.

The festival of new, experimental music and sound art was held this year for the tenth time, and compared to the previous one must say that special focus on international artists this year has grown on this ever-curious event. Not just came musicians from Beirut, New York, Zagreb, Tokyo and Sydney via Berlin, but they also brought their own local expression instead of playing out of the universal beaten track. The festival is also event like shuffling cards for modern composition, rhythmic music, performance and noise with new commissioned works from current musicians and composers from the Danish scene. And it is an event which in its basic form is to open the experimental composer music often easier esoteric scene up by including Copenhagen's most evocative special venues and a few half-tacky tricks from experiential handbook like. slow food, crossover art and receptions beer.

(...) humorous ended G ((o)) ng Tomorrow the concert with the legendary Hikashu, which was formed in 1978 and then followed the Western zeitgeist inspired by both rock and early electronic music and synth-pop à la Kraftwerk. The concert was Hikashu's first ever on Danish soil, but the group's frontman, extreme vocals and theremin player, Koichi Makigami have been several occasions in recent years, where he has both performed solo and in The Living Room with Torben Snekkestad and the aforementioned Søren Kjærgaard.

2015 edition of Hikashu is, however, entirely on its own feet in a style of music, ranging from avant-garde of complex compositional positions and Makigami's vocal experiments to the decidedly prog-rock groove. Hikashu were found to be in great shape with a rather interesting instrumentation with sound effects from childish toy, rustling plastic bag in guitar pickups, bamboo flutes and theremin games in expressive style. So far as is known, the material was a mixture of new and quite old stuff, and although I could not decipher much of the themes was quite humorous and well-executed way to end the festival on a sonic explosion from another world.

G((o))ng – Et slag for morgendagens musik eller et ekko af fortiden?

Nov 3, 2015

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation on November 14, 2015

Tokyo Operation is back. This time the unit is led by a saxophone player Tanaka Kunikazu.

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation
Tanaka Kunikazu Unit

Izumi Satoshi, guitar
Kurihara Tsutomu, drums
Keitaimo, bass
Shika Udai, cello
Takara Kumiko, percussion
Takei Makoto, shakuhachi, fue (pipe)
Tanaka Kunikazu, saxophone
Tanaka Yumiko, shamisen
Nakaji Hideaki, trombone
Nobie, vocal
Ono Satoru, synthesizer

Makigami Koichi, prompter

November 14, 2015
@ LaMama
Shibuya, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

LaMama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Gigs in November 2015

Hikashu and Oki Itaru at Vilnius Jazz Festival, October 2015 allaboutjazz

Hikashu has just returned to their homeland after the three-week foreign tour but it seems that they have no time to rest well. In this month, they have two gigs. One is held at Star Pine's Cafe of Kichijoji on November 4, and the other is at LaMama of Shibuya on November 19. Moreover, there a tribute concert for the late Nomoto Kazuhiro, ex-member of the band - it will be covered on different entry.

The Kichijoji gig is devoted only for Hikashu. Over two hours of extraordinary performance. Also, this is the first gig after the oversea tour, so they must have a lot to tell, full of interesting road stories.

Sakata Akira, the veteran saxphone player who has been a frequent collaborator of Hikashu since 1980s, is back to play with the band at the Shibuya gig. Isso Yukihiro on Noh kan (Noh flute), and Naito Tesuro on taiko will be participated as well.

November 4, 2015
"Hikashu's Autumn"
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,900 yen - at door 4,300 yen

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

November 19, 2015
"Crossroad Fantasia"
@ LaMama
Shibuya, Tokyo
other acts: Sakata Akira (reeds), Isso Yukihiro (Noh flute), Naito Tetsuhiro (taiko)
open 18:30 - start 19;00
adv 3,300 yen - at door 3,600 yen

LaMama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Sep 26, 2015

Hikashu Russia European Tour October 2015

Hikashu will embark on a tour of Russia and Europe next month. Notably, this time the tour includes some western cities.

Here's the dates:

October 15 - Vilnius Jazz Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania (with Oki Itaru) info
October 17 - Фестиваля Владимира Резицкого, Arkhangelsk, Russia info
October 18 - Arkhangerisk jazz club, Arkhangerisk, Russia
October 20 - Культурный Центр ДОМ, Moscow, Russia (with Alexei Aygi and Sergej Letov) info 1 info 2 facebook
October 21 - Erarta Museum of Modern Gallary Эрарта. Музей и галереи современного искусства, Sankt Peterburg, Russia (with Alexei Aygi)
October 23 - Kaliningrad Jazz pub, Kaliningrad, Russia venue
October 24 - Ausland, Berlin, Germany info
October 28 - Bürgerschule Nordstadt, Hannover, Germany info 1 info 2 info 3
October 29 - Makigami Koichi solo and duo with Lucy Railton on cello, White Conduit Projects, London, UK (Makigami solo - not Hikashu) info
October 31 - KoncertKirken, Wunderground Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark info venue

(updated on October 8 - Makigami solo gig in London is added. Please note that the venue of the Moscow gig has been changed from ЦЕНТРАЛЬНЫЙ ДОМ ХУДОЖНИКА to Культурный Центр ДОМ.)

For years, the band has been trying to reach western shore of europe.

They are now an international act - regularly performing in Russia, East Europe, and North America. But the western continent is really hard to break into.

Now it looks like they will succeed at last.

Until this time, Hikashu has played in west europe only a handful of times - some German cities in early 1990s. So this tour is going to be very important to the band. If it succeeded, they would be back surely. If not, well, it takes another dozen years for next time, maybe.

The reason why they tour Russia every year is because the audience is so enthusiastic about the band. The audience of the Canadian tour in 2013 was so great and the band still talks favorably about it. Although they're not succeeded yet to be do another Canadian tour, they would be very positive if there's a chance.

The band has been really trying to perform outside Japan for years.

So please - especially west europeans - show your support. Spread the word and attend the gigs. Such acts are of great help and encouragement to the band. Thank you and enjoy the show.

Sep 12, 2015

Twilight Affirmation video 2014

Hikashu recently uploaded a video of "Twilight Affirmation, Morning Denial," a cut from the 2012 album URAGOE, on YouTube.

This is recorded live at Sakuraza, Kofu on October 7, 2014. There are some gritches and dropouts but itself fine performance.

review of the album:

Hikashu - Uragoe (2012) - All About Jazz

Sep 6, 2015

Thomas Strønen's Time is a Blind Guide Japan Tour 2015

 This month Thomas Strønen's new group called Time is a Blind Guide will tour Japan for the first time. The tour is organized by Makigami Koichi.

The personnel is:

Haakon Åse - violin
Lucy Railton - cello
Kit Downes - piano
Conor Chaplin - bass
Thomas Strønen - drums, compositions

The group performs Strønen's compositions and has already recorded the first album, which will be available soon from ECM records of Germany.

The dates are:

September 20 Jazz Art Sengawa, Chofu, Tokyo
September 21 Kiunkaku, Atami, Shizuoka
September 22 Jazz Spot Analog, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
September 23 Sakuraza, Kofu, Yamanashi
September 24 Cafe Cube, Kyoto
September 25 KD japon, Nagoya
September 27 Music la Festa, Numazu, Shizuoka
September 28 Pit-Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo

For some of the dates, Makigami will join as an opening act with his company, Sato Masaharu on percussion and Janmah Shimamura on electric guitar.

September 20, 2015
@ Jazz Art Sengawa
Chofu, Tokyo
start 19:30
at door 3,000 yen - 1,500 yen for student

Sengawa Theatre, Chofu, Tokyo

September 21, 2015
@ Kiunkaku
Atami, Shizuoka
oepn 14:00 - start 14:30
adv 3,500 yen - at door 3,800 yen

Kiunkaku, Atami, Shizuoka

September 22, 2015
@ Jazz Spot Analog
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
open 19:00 - start 20:00
4,500 yen

Jazz Spot Analog, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka

September 23, 2015
@ Sakuraza
Kofu, Yamanashi
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 4,500 yen - at door 5,000 yen

Sakuraza, Kofu, Yamanashi

September 24, 2015
@ Cafe Cube
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen

Cafe Cube, Kyoto

September 25, 2015
@ KD japon
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 4,500 yen - at door 5,000 yen (3,000 yen for student)

KD japon, Nagoya

September 27, 2015
@ Music la Festa
Numazu, Shizuoka
4,500 yen - 2,500 yen for under 15

Music la Festa, Numazu, Shizuoka

September 28, 2015
@ Pit-Inn
Shinjuku, Tokyo
open 19:30 - start 20:00
adv 5,000 yen - at door 5,500 yen

Pit-Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Sep 1, 2015

Current: September 2015

Hikashu and Oki Itaru at Jazz Art Sengawa 2014. They'll be together again in Vilnius in October.

Aside the Jazz Art Sengawa appearance, there is only one Hikashu gig this month - La Mama of Shibuya on September 17 (which we cover later). But that doesn't mean there's not so much to talk about. On the contrary, we have a plenty to cover. Now read on.

Russia and East European Tour October 2015

Hikashu will embark to tour of Russia and East Europe from mid to late October. This is a replacement of the lost Russian tour originally planned for this April.

Unfortunately, we don't have a list of date for this tour yet. Right now, gigs at Sankt Peterburg, Arkhangel'sk and Vilnius have been announced so those dates are confirmed. Other than that, probably there's a Moscow gig. We'll let you know when the details are available.

Dance Music Series reissue

In mid 1980s, Hikashu composed and recorded (mostly) instrumental music for dance and ballet, and those music is known by the name "Dance Music Series."

One of them are already reissued on CD (as "Watashi No Tanoshimi" [My Pleasure] in 2010) and the rest are going to be released on October. All the titles are reissued for the first time.

There are three albums to be reissued this time. "Soba de Yokereba" [If Noodles were acceptable], "Nanimo Kamo Odore" [Everything Dance] and "Jisatsu Na Disco" [Suicidal Disco]. The first two has been released - the first on picture disc, and the second on cassette tape only. The third one remained unreleased in any form and will be available for the first time. Needless to say, the albums are remastered so the sound quality is quite pristine.

Unfortunately, those titles are sold only at gigs and mail-order. So no retail. But oversea fans would be able to get the CDs via e-commerce house like HMV Japan.

Picture Vinyl of "Soba de Yokereba"

Two tribute concerts to Nomoto Kazuhiro

Hikashu announced to hold two tribute concerts to Nomoto Kazuhiro in November and December this year.

Nomoto was a reed player who joined the band in 1983, shortly after graduating university, and remained until 2002. Unfortunately, he passed away by esophageal cancer in 2003. He was 43.

Besides being a strong musician, he also wrote many fine compositions for the band. His work includes "Tengoku wo Nozokitai" [Glimpse the Heaven], "Zo Azarashi" [Elephant Seal], and "Acchi No Me Kocchi No Me" [Nervous Eyes].

2015 is the 13th anniversary since his passing, and that year is special in Japanese tradition, so that's the reason why the event is hold. Actually, Hikashu did a memorial gig for him in 2003, so this is the second time. The difference between them is a line-up. This time the band invites other ex-members - Inoue Makoto (keyboard), Tsuno-Ken (drums), Yoshimori Makoto (keyboard), and Niida Kozo (drums). Except for Inoue (who has been a frequent collaborator with the band), all other musicians will be together for the first time since their leaving.

Precisely, there are two other members who played with Nomoto - Taniguchi Masaru (drums) and Torsten Rasch (sampler). Unfortunately, they are simply not available. Taniguchi passed away in 1989, while Rasch has been active as a composer in Europe and currently resides in Berlin.

Anyway, this event is special one for the band, the musicians, and of course, us fans. The dates are November 30 at LaMama of Shibuya, and December 13 at Pit-Inn of Shinjuku. Also many guest musicians are planned to participate so stay tuned.

the late Nomoto Kazuhiro

Aug 22, 2015

Gigs in August, 2015

Hikashu at Chicken George in Kobe on May 18, 2015

Hikashu has two gigs this month, one is the first full-length show in Tokyo since April, and the other is with a series of interesting acts.

The full show is be held at Star Pine's Cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo on August 24. The venue has been a sort of a home ground for the band for years - Very relaxed and nice atmosphere. Also, a lot of selection from the new album is to be performed. Highly Recommended.

THe other gig is held at Hearts Plus of Otsuka, Tokyo on August 28. The other acts are Tentenko, Uminote, and Thropus.

August 24, 2015
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,900 yen - at door 4,300 yen

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

August 28, 2015
"New Mongoloid"
@ Hearts+
Otsuka, Tokyo
other acts: Tentenko, Uminote, Thropus
open 18:00 - start 18:30
adv 2,800 yen - at door 3,300 yen

Hearts+, Otsuka, Tokyo

Jul 6, 2015

"Mita Freeman at 60" Concert on July 22-23, 2015

Mita Freeman, Hikashu's guitarist, turns 60 this month and the special concerts will be held at La Mama, Shibuya, on July 22 and 23.

In Japanese culture, there is a tradition celebrating one's 60th birthday as "Kanreki." As the oldest member of the band, Mita is the first to reach that age.

And this one is really special. First of all, Hikashu does appear, and this time it is announced that Makigami won't take lead vocals. Therefore, we all could experience Hikashu without Makigami's singing at last.

And there's a lot of interesting bands as well. Freeman Alley is a duo of Mita and Shimizu Kazuto, Hikashu's pianist. As we all know, Mita is a big fan of American jazz and standards, and Freeman Alley is a realization of his long-time dreams - singing his old favorites, like Mona Lisa (a famous song by Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, and others), with a piano accompaniment. And this time, Reichi (vocals) will be appeared as a special guest.

Lipnitz 21 is a resurrection of the band with the same name. Lipnitz is a guitar trio playing improvised music, had been active thoughout the 80s. The members were Mita (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), and various drummers. And this time the line-up is completely renewed - and that's very interesting one. Both Hayakawa Takeharu (bass) and Yoshigaki Yasuhiro (drums) are first-call musicians for jazz and avant-pop scene in Tokyo, and they play together in public for the first time.

And Lu-inch is the Mita's first band, formed in late 70s and still (very occasionally though) active, and all the important members are included in the line-up.

Adachi Sendensha is a company of publicity in Fukuoka. Their main attraction is a traditional chin-don music, and they show their expertise as a special guest.

As noted before, this event is one-time only and never to be repeated. Experience the sheer absurdity of this phenomental guitarist.

(Mita Freeman threw a pitch for the concert while Sakaide Masami and Sato Masaharu, both appear the concert, showing some mischief in the background.)

July 23 and 24, 2015
"Mita Freeman at 60"
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
July 23: Lipnitz 21 - Mita Freeman (guitar), Yoshigaki Yasuhiro (drums), Hayakawa Takeharu (bass)
Freeman Alley - Mita Freeman (vocals), Shimizu Kazuto (piano), Reichi (vocals)
Adachi Sendensha
July 24: Hikashu Special - Makigami Koichi (theremin, cornet, shakuhachi), Mita Freeman (guitar, vocals), Sakaide Masami (bass), Sato Masaharu (drums) and guests
Lu Inch - Mita Freeman (guitar, vocals), Sensui Toshiro (drums), Iwah (guitar, vocals), Sakaide Masami (bass)
open 19:30 (July 23) 19:00 (July 24)
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen each
Tickets available at the venue's box office, Lawson Ticket (L-76369), and eplus

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Jun 18, 2015

Two Hokkaido gigs in July 2015

Hikashu will perform two gigs in Hokkaido next month. Fukushima-cho on July 4 and Sapporo on July 5.

According to the band, this is the first time for them to play the northern island in the 22 years.

July 4, 2015
"the 20th Kagaribi concert"
@ Fukushima Daijingu
open 17:00 - start 17:30
admission 2,000 yen (500 yen under 18)

Fukushima Daijingu, Fukushima-cho

July 5, 2015
@ Coo
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen
open 18:30 - start 19:00

Coo, Sapporo

Jun 6, 2015

Jazz Art Sengawa 2015 announced

The 8th Jazz Art Sengawa, one of the most prominent events for improvised and creative music in Japan, is held on September 9 and 10 this year. The venue is Sengawa Theatre which is located in Chofu of west Tokyo.

Jazz Art Sengawa is an artist-led event and its producers are Makigami Koichi (voice performer, multi-instrumentalist), Fujiwara Kiyoto (double-bass player and music educator), and Sakamoto Hiromichi (cellist and improviser).

The line-up is as follows.

September 9 Saturday

NOTALIN'S (Endo Michiro, Ishizuka Toshiaki, Sakamoto Hiromichi)
Meguro Yosuke
Ten Ten Ko
directed by Sakamoto Hiromichi

Oki Itaru - Ayumi Tanaka
Fujiwara Kiyoto - Yaji Michiyo
directed by Fujiwara Kiyoto

N/Y (Niigaki Takashi, Yoshida Ryuichi)
Hikashu with Koketsu Masayo
directed by Makigami Koichi

September 10 Sunday

Art Hirahara - Murakami Hiroshi - Fujiwara Kiyoto
Ota Keisuke - Miyazaki Hirofumi - Tomikawa Masatsugu
directed by Fujiwara Kiyoto

Carmen Maki, Kawakami Mieko - songs and poetry
accompanied by Saito Tetsuya, Suzuki Masato, Senju Muneomi, Sakamoto Hiromichi
directed by Sakamoto Hiromichi

Pre-Cambria Clarinet Quartet
[Shimizu Kazuto, Umezu Kazutoki, Tada Yoko, Kondo Tatsuro]
Time is A Blind Guide
 [Haakon Åse、Lucy Railton、Kit Downes、Conor Chaplin、Thomas Strønen]
directed by Makigami Koichi

Jazz Art Sengawa on YouTube

Jazz Art Sengawa on Sengawa Gekijo website

Jazz Art Sengawa on Facebook

September 9 and 10, 2015
Jazz Art Sengawa
@ Sengawa Theatre
Chofu, Tokyo
Tickets available at the box office of the venue on June 27, 2015.

Sengawa Theatre, Chofu, Tokyo

May 17, 2015

Latest Promotional Event in Osaka

Right now Hikashu has been touring in Kansai region, and yesterday they did a promotional stint for the new album at Tower Records Namba, Osaka.

Two years ago the band did the same at Tower Records Shibuya, Tokyo. But at that time, drummer Sato Masaharu was not there - unfortunately, it seemed that he had other obligation.

Of course, this time the band was full line-up. According to the tweets from the audience, Sato had to play an electric kit, a kind he played for the first time. But the veteran drummer played it with ease - even he took a solo in "Naruhodo," which was just terrific.

The performance's duration was about a half hour - all consisted of the selection from "Ikitekoi Chinmoku."

The band has been playing the selections from the new album for just several months, but, as usual with them, the new songs have already started to transform. Many numbers have extended with improvisations and arranged differently. So it's nice for regular attendees of their gigs to witness how the songs gradually "grow" in person.

Their show never be same. Even they have abandoned pre-configured set-list long time ago. And they do a lot of improvisation. Therefore each performance gives different, unique experience.

Tonight the band plays at Rag, a jazz club in Kyoto.

May 11, 2015

Naruhodo video

Makigami Koichi just released a video of "Naruhodo," a cut from their new album Ikitekoi Chinmoku [Silence Be Alive] on YouTube.

It contains footage of the band's recent tours in Altai Republic and Okinawa.

May 3, 2015

New Album Tour, May 2015

For supporting the new album, Hikashu will tour chubu and kansai regions this month. The dates are as follows:

May 13 - Freakyshow, Shizuoka
May 14 - Tokuzo, Nagoya
May 15 - Compass, Namba, Osaka
May 16 - Tower Records, Namba, Osaka
May 17 - Rag, Kyoto
May 18 - Chicken George, Kobe
May 19 - Old Time, Wakayama

There's a lot of new merchantise available as well. Collect'em all!

May 13, 2015
@ Freakyshow
open 19:00 - start 19:30
other acts: steteko, daichu
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

Freakyshow, Shizuoka

May 14, 2015
@ Tokuzo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,600 yen - at door 4,000 yen

Tokuzo, Nagoya

May 15, 2015
@ Conpass
Namba, Osaka
open 18:00 - start 19:00
adv 4,000 yen

Conpass, Namba, Osaka

May 16, 2015
"autograph signing session + live performance"
@Tower Records Namba
Namba, Osaka
start 15:00
admission free
buy the new album and get it autographed.

Tower Record Namba, Osaka

May 17, 2015
@ Rag
open 18:00 - start 19:00
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen

Rag, Kyoto

May 18, 2015
@ Chicken George
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 4,000 yen - at door 4,500 yen

Chicken George, Kobe

May 19, 2015
@ Old Time
open 19:00 - start 19:30
other act: Teramachi Street Band
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

Old Time, Wakayama

Mar 21, 2015

Two Okinawa dates in April

As we earlier noted, Hikashu's Russia tour in April does not happen. So there's a big hole in their schedule around that time. But they acted swiftly and secured two dates in Okinawa, the southern island of Japan.

Okinawa has been popular for tourists, famous for its nature and culture but the band's fan there had been unfortunate for a long, long time because they had never have an opportunity to see the band.

That's no longer the case because Hikashu did pay a visit and perform in Okinawa last year, the first time ever for their 36 years of existence. The band enjoyed the island and expressed to revisit soon. And they are true to their words; Hikashu performs in Okinawa on April 1 and 3.

April 1, 2015
Chatan, Okinawa
open 19:00 - start 20:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

Mods, Chatan, Okinawa

April 3, 2015
@ Output
Naha, Okinawa
open 19:30 - start 20:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

Output, Naha, Okinawa

Mar 16, 2015

Current: March 2015 - The Russia Tour, Dance Music Series, Faith No More

Hikashu in Russia, 2014

The Russia Tour is to be rescheduled

The Russia Tour, originally scheduled in April, has been postponed for some reasons.

But it's NOT entirely cancelled. The band says it slates for this fall. Russia has been an important country for them because there's a solid fan base which is gradually but steadily growing.
The decision must be hard one to make but seemingly inevitable. Anyway, the band is looking forward to visiting the great northern country again.

Reissue project continues

Right now almost all the albums of Hikashu has been available as remastered edition, but some are still not see the light of day unfortunately.

For example, in middle 1980s the band recorded some music for ballet, fashion show, and contemporary dance, but unfortunately, just a portion of them were released on vinyl - "Nanimo Kamo Odore"  "Soba de Yokereba" and "Watashi No Tanoshimi." Among them, only "Watashi No Tanoshimi" [My Pleasure] was reissued on CD in 2012.

So how about the other albums, moreover, unreleased material? It has been known there's a ton of them in the vault.

And maybe it's high time to say rest assured because, although there's no official announcement yet, the band has been saying that they're working on the material for reissue on and off, and it will be released later this year at last.

The remastered edition of "Watashi No Tanoshimi" was a great example of reissue. The sound quality has been vastly improved (and the vinyl edition was picture disc - very enjoyable for eyes but sound quality-wise it's simply inferior). And as bonus tracks, it has some leftovers from the same period - all very interesting, from the viewpoint on both music and the band's history. For example, one of them is from the very first studio session of the line-up including bass player Sakaide Masami who then just joined the band.

And easily we could expect that the rest of the material receives similar treatment - remastered, re-sequenced, and includes related outtakes. Just can't wait.

Makigami and Faith No More

In February, Makigami made an appearance at a Faith No More gig in Tokyo. When the band hit an encore, Mike Patton announced there's a special guest. Of course it was Makigami and he did some khoomei. It was quite a surprise, and the audience went frenzy.

Mar 7, 2015

New album cover art and track list

It's official. Hikashu's new album "Ikitekoi Chinmoku" [Silence Be Alive] will be out on April 24, 2015. Its cover art and track list are as follows:

track list
(original Japanese / English titles)

1. Ikitekoi Chinmoku / Silence Be Alive
2. Naruhodo / Naruhodo (I Got It)
3. Jiyuu de Iindayo / It's all right to be free
4. Iroha Moyou / Iroha Tapestry
5. Magma No Tonari / Next to the Magma
6. Meron wo Narase! Beluga / Ring that Melon, Beluga!
7. Tenguri Kaeru / Return to Tengri
8. Hateshinai Okusoku / A Never-Ending Speculation
9. Konna Hito / Such a Man
10. Shizukana Shaboten / Quiet Cactus
11. Altai Meisou / Tangled Drive in Altai
12. Okitekoi Densetsu / Legend Be Awake

Total running time about 51 minutes.

The album was recorded at EastSide Sound NYC on November 2014. The engineer is Marc Urselli whom the band speaks highly of.

The cover art is made by the manga artist Sakabashira Imiri, who also did a splendid work for the "Ikirukoto" album. As you can see, his artwork incorporates the meaning of the lyrics, like his work for "Ikirukoto."

The recording session for the album was held shortly after the band's appearances at the Stone NYC.

The selections from the album has been performed at recent gigs, so regular attendees already know the album is going to be great, well up to our expectations. It's different than "Uragoe" or "Ban-Kan" but still retains Hikashu-esque.

Just wait, get it as soon as possible, then you will be gratified.

HMV Japan, which has English interface and accepts foreign orders, has already listed the album:
Hikashu - Ikitekoi Chinmoku

Feb 25, 2015

Kyushu Tour March 2015

While we're anxiously waiting a new album, Hikashu will tour Kyushu, a southern part of Japan, in March. Of course, you could expect the numbers from the forthcoming album be performed. The dates are as follows:

March 13 - AT Hall, Oita
March 14-15 - Space Terra, Fukuoka

March 13, 2015
@ AT Hall
Other acts: BID, Teiamato, and others
open 19:00 - start 19:30
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen

AT Hall, Oita

March 14-15, 2015
@ Space Terra
open 18:30 - start 19:00 (March 14)
open 17:30 - start 18:00 (March 15)
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(one drink order minimum)

Space Terra, Fukuoka

Feb 4, 2015

Currents: February 2015

Hikashu continues to work on the forthcoming album, tentatively called "Ikitekoi Chinmoku" (Silence Be Alive), which is going to be released in April.

So naturally they are kinda busy these days, preparing for the major release, and that's the reason why there is one Hikashu gig this month. It's held on February 20 at La Mama of Shibuya, Tokyo. Needless to say, the gig is interesting since the band surely plays the selections from the new album, as the last gig at Star Pine's Cafe in Kichijoji. (They did four.)

Right now the band is mixing the album. What we can do at this point is to wait . But no need to be too anxious - it's nigh.

There are other acts. Bin Hakase (Doctor Bottle) is a singer-songwriter who is also a huge collector of bottle himself. Oedo Sukeroku Taiko is an ensemble of Taiko, Japanese traditional drum.

Bin Hakase (Doctor Bottle) - The Hurricane of Bottle

Oedo Sukeroku Taiko performing at the famous crossing of Shibuya

February 20, 2015
"The Scenery of Snow Color"
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
Other act: Bin Hakase (Doctor Bottle), Oedo Sukeroku Taiko (Taiko Ensemble)
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,300 yen
(one drink order minimum)

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

Jan 6, 2015

Gigs in January 2015

This month Hikashu will perform two gigs in Tokyo. One is Shubuya with other musicians, and the other is solely their own, in Kichijoji.

The Shubuya gig is an interesting one - there are other two acts who has been active for years. Endo Kenji, nicknamed En-Ken, is a singer-songwriter who's been around for quite some time, even longer than Hikashu. He debuted in late 1960s as a mellow folk singer, but later reinvented himself as a power rocker. At this gig he will appear as a solo act - just himself and an acoustic guitar - but last time he performed, as a solo, along with Hikashu, he said "trying to be louder than Motorhead" on stage. Well, he performed fiercely and everybody were impressed. Also Yamada Koji, the other act, has a long career and his own style, which is very interesting.

The Kichijoji gig is billed as commemorating Makigami's birthday, actually it's a few days later, but anyway it's going to be interesting because they are likely to play selections from the forthcoming album, like last time.

Trailer of the movie "En-Ken vs. Nippon Budokan" (2005)

January 15, 2015
"Endless Legend"
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
other act: Endo Kenji, Yamada Koji
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,500 yen - at door 3,800 yen

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

January 23, 2015
"Makigami's Birthday Party"
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,900 yen - at door 4,300 yen

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo

Jan 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

season's greetings from the band

 This new year looks pretty promising for Hikashu fans. First of all, new album is coming soon, even sooner than we all expected.

The album, tentatively titled "Ikitekoi Chinmoku," [Silence Be Alive] was recorded last November during their stay in New York. The two-days session turned out very well and the result is, according to Makigami, "very satisfying." The band is still working on the recording, but it's just adding little tweakings and no need more than that. Yes, it's supposedly almost completed right now.

Unfortunately, we cannot tell about how it sounds like. But the band premired two songs from the album at Kichijoji gig last November. One is a ballad, and the other is a utterly complicated song structually. The latter even reminded us of Captain Beefheart. Very interesting indeed.

So when it's out, you ask? Well, the band says it's April. Anyway, you're not supposed to wait so long.

Speaking of April, Hikashu is going to tour in Russia that month. It's a very long one - two weeks throughout the country. The audience in Russia has been very supportive to the band. And Hikashu is looking forward to meeting them again.

Regarding touring, the band plans to do a tour of Kyushu, southern part of Japan, in March.

As of the member's solo activities, guitarist Mita Freeman will be 60 this summer and he says he will hold a special concert series for commemorating that. As well as being a great musician, he's a quite character so it's going to be fun.

Other than that, right now the band announced only two other gigs in January - both in Tokyo which we'll cover later - but the band will be pretty active this year. You can count on that.

We wish this new year will be a pleasant one for all the fans.