Dear readers, if you are not yet aware of Crow x Class, you are missing out! They are a unique visual kei band that uses traditional Japanese instruments. So, while you may be used to electric guitars, bass, and a drum set, they will still rock you with wadaiko, tsugaru-shamisen, shakuhachi, and koto. They are both sticking to their roots in Japanese tradition, and challenging the norm of visual kei with this pioneering combination. If you’re interested in this new genre of music or the band, you can find out more information below!
Crow x Class has been around since 2011, and only recently returned from Germany, having performed a one-man in Cologne, and were the main act in Dusseldorf. Their purpose was to help Germany celebrate Japanese culture, and what could be more Japanese than traditional Japanese instruments and visual kei? For those of you wanting to know more about the band members themselves, here’s what Shattered-Tranquility has been able to find for you!
Kurona – Vocals/Wadaiko
Kanade – Tsugaru-Shamisen
Shion – Koto
Mikage – Shakuhachi
Saku – Wadaiko
They also made an introduction video that may be better than me simply telling you, and it has English subtitles for those of you who don’t speak Japanese. Enjoy!
As mentioned in the video, they have an official website, Facebook page, and Youtube account. You can also get some of their music from the iTunes store. If you’re anxious to check out their music right away, we’ve got you covered. This is their latest video, Rinne Tensei!
I feel it is also important to explain a little about each of these Japanese instruments. Many overseas fans may not have ever seen these types of instruments before, but they are at the heart of Japanese culture. Maybe you’ve heard it, but didn’t know what it was called, or maybe you’ve seen it, but have never heard what sounds it makes. Thanks to Crow x Class, you’ll get to hear each instrument! But for now, let’s go into depth on the instruments themselves, shall we?
Kurona and Saku both play the wadaiko, which are very famous Japanese traditional drums. You may be more familiar with the term “taiko,” which is the shortened name. They have been used in Japan since about the 9th century, and originally served for religious purposes. In the modern day, they are more common for festivals, events, and cultural presentations. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a taiko performance, you may have seen the drums come in various sizes and shapes, and require a lot of discipline and strength.
Kanade plays the tsugaru-shamisen (also pronounced tsugaru-jamisen). Perhaps you’ve already heard the shamisen, which is essentially a Japanese guitar. The main differences, of course, are that the shamisen has only three strings, a long, skinny neck, and a small box more like a drum than a hollowed out guitar. These instruments also utilize “bachi,” which are basically the shamisen version of a pick to pluck the strings. As far as the difference between regular shamisen and the tsugaru-shamisen, the latter has thicker strings and is a style that originated in Aomori, though it became popular throughout Japan.
You may have noticed that tall instrument Shion lugs around with her. That is a koto, and is basically the Japanese version of a harp. Rather than being vertical, however, it is played horizontally. The koto has thirteen strings, and can be played from the floor or from a stand. As for those little tower things–those are called bridges, and they can be moved along the koto to change the pitch. It requires the use of picks, which are designed to attach to the end of your thumb, index, and middle fingers.
If you have watched ninja or samurai movies, you have more than likely heard the shakuhachi before. Mikage plays the shakuhachi, which is the Japanese version of a flute. It is known for its wide range of pitches, which can be altered just from changing the angle one blows into the instrument, or partial covering of the holes versus complete coverage. They may vary in height, but are normally made of bamboo. In relation to Japanese culture, shakuhachi were used by Zen Buddhist monks as way a meditation.
If you’re wanting to rock out to some wadaiko, koto, shamisen, and shakuhachi, Crow x Class will be having a few lives this summer. Catch them in Tokyo!
6/05 @ Shinjuku RUIDO K4
Time: 16:30 (open)/17:00 (start)
Tickets: ¥2,800 + 1 drink (in advance)/¥ 3,000 + 1 drink (at door)
6/10 @ Shibuya CLUB CRAWL
Time: 19:00 (open)/20:00 (start)
Tickets: ¥3,000 +1 drink (in advance)/¥3,500 + 1 drink (at door)
6/24 @ Shibuya CLUB CRAWL
Time: 18:00 (open)/18:30 (start)
Tickets: ¥2,800 + 1 drink/¥3,200 + 1 drink
7/31 @ Shibuya Chelsea Hotel
8/20 @ Tokyo Move Machiya
Time: 18:30 (open)/19:00 (start)
Tickets: ¥3,500 (in advance)/¥4,000 (at door)
Please make note that their August show will be their first one-man live! Help them celebrate it by attending!
Tags: Crow x Class