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Music / Wagakki Band

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Wagakki Band (literally translated, "traditional instrument band") is an eight-member Japanese Folk Rock/Folk Metal musical ensemble. The band, fronted by lead singer and songwriter Yuko Suzuhana, has gained significant popularity among fans of Japanese rock music for their exotic musical approach, which combines catchy vocals and a hard-edged rock/metal sound with traditional Japanese instrumentation; the band's lineup consists of a full rock setup and a full traditional Japanese ensemble playing as one large, perfectly balanced group. The band is also well-known for their colorful and dynamic image; all the band's members wear some form of traditional attire, and combine Kabuki-esque theatrics with wild and energetic showmanship typical of most contemporary rock/metal bands.

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You may know them for their covers/rearranges of Vocaloid songs such as Senbonzakura or Tengaku - they even covered Luka Luka✭Night Fever!

Members

  • Yuko Suzuhana - Lead vocals, arrangements
  • Machiya - Guitar, lead & backing vocals
  • Wasabi - Drums
  • Asa - Bass
  • Daisuke Kaminaga - Shakuhachi (end-blown wood flute)
  • Beni Ninagawa - Shamisen (three-stringed long-necked instrument similar to a banjo)
  • Kiyoshi Ibukuro - Koto (thirteen-stringed finger-plucked instrument somewhat akin to a dulcimer)
  • Kurona - Wadaiko (traditional Japanese drums)

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Wagakki Band provides examples of the following tropes

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Subverted: Wasabi and Kurona are known for their heavily synchronized, rapid-fire fills and extremely energetic playing style, but both members are highly proficient drummers who had a lot of rep prior to joining the band.
  • Anime Hair: Wasabi and Kurona. Daisuke as well in their music video for Ikusa, though he usually keeps his hair cut extremely short.
  • Breakout Musician: All of the band's members
  • But Not Too Foreign: Wasabi is is the sole non-Japanese member of the band (he's Chinese).
  • Child Prodigy: Kurona joined a professional wadaiko group at age nine, and Yuko has been trained in shigin (a way of reciting poems while chanting) since she was five years old.
  • Costume Porn: All eight members typically wear outfits that are a fusion of traditional Japanese dress with some modern Western-style touches.
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  • Cover Version: They have covered quite a lot of Vocaloid songs.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The band members sure love to spin around while performing, especially Kurona, Machiya and Yuko.
  • Folk Rock/Folk Metal - Certainly one of the few Japanese folk rock acts to rapidly gain recognition as of late.
  • Incredibly Long Note/One-Woman Wail: Yuko loves pulling these off in both studio and live performance.
  • Kimono Is Traditional: In keeping with her fondness for traditional Japanese music, Yuko wears some incredibly ornate ones in videos and during concerts.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 3 to standard 6.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly/Genre-Busting: Fuck yes. To put it another way, performing a Youtube search will call up songs ranging from straight-ahead rock ("Kishikaisei"), to swing-tinged pop ("Synchronicity") to soaring power ballads ("Okinayu").
  • Visual Kei: Some fans consider them part of the Angura subset, owing to their Folk Rock sound and Kabuki-inspired image.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Wasabi is nearly always shirtless in both music videos and live performances, so it's actually quite surprising to see him put one on with a light sweater in the Hangeki no Yaiba music video.
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