Tag Archives: bachi

The Yoshida Brothers challenging the boundaries of Tsugaru Shamisen music!

Date: August 3, 2010
Venue: Highline Ballroom, NY

By Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi and Jim Hoey

The Japanese shamisen in the west has a number of images associated with it: the delicately robed geisha entering a quiet chamber, seating herself before the patron, and setting the instrument gently on her body, plucking strings with the bachi (plectrum, or pick) and singing before moving on to other diversions; there’s also the image of the blind shamisen player in black and white films playing for money on a doorstep or in a Yakitori-ya (a tiny Japanese restaurant specializing in yakitori, or skewered grilled chicken meat) with yakuza nearby harassing them or while the manic, soft, or melodic strains of the instrument ring out as background music and the patrons grow wild with drink, passion and despondency before succumbing to oblivion.

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