Friday, January 23, 2015

Kounotori At Mona Records

Kounotori, which means 'stork' in Japanese (as in the baby-carrying bird...not very poetic in English), is an Osaka-based pop band, They just released their first album, Arawarerumono, Kieteyukumono (things that appear, things that disappear), and they played at Mona Records in Shimokitazawa to celebrate the release.

The members are friends of mine so I'm biased, but listening to them reminded me of the unique pleasure of discovering great new music by people who are writing songs for the love of it. That's what this blog has always been about.

Sweet-voiced vocalist Kazuhiro Takamatsu, who writes the songs, says he was influenced by Sunny Day Service and Kenji Ozawa and now listens to samba. The pianist Nao Orino and drummer Kiyoshi Tsurumaki are jazz musicians when not playing with Kounotori, and they give the music a nice swing. Bassist Minsung Kang, formerly of Seoul's Linus' Blanket, helps run indie label Lepus Records, which sells Kounotori's CDs. Mayumi Hozaki is usually on the flute, but she came down with the flu, so the show instead featured Mayumi Ikemizu of Three Berry Icecream on accordion and vocals, and Keiko Tanaka of Little Lounge Little Twinkle on viola.

Here they are at another show, playing a song I really like called "London Road".

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