Formed in 2011 by the band-leader John Imaeda, Ajate consists of 10 Japanese musicians. The band creates a unique blend of afro-groove dance music mixed with Japanese traditional festival music called “Ohayashi”.
Using hand-made bamboo instruments as well as traditional Japanese percussion with some well-crafted Japanese female and male singing and you get a killer mix that is well worth your time.
The “Jahte” is a bamboo-made xylophone or balafon with a piezo pick-up mic attached to each key, connected to a pre-amplifier to obtain a loud sound and to add some touch of dirty distortion to its warm and natural acoustic sonority. The “Piechiku” is also a bamboo-made string instrument inspired by the west-African “Ngoni” or Moroccan “Guembri” instruments. The Piechiku uses strings of the Japanese traditional “Shamisen”. This instrument is also played through a pre-amplifier and John sometimes adds some wah-wah effect to it. All these bamboo instruments are designed, made and named by John Imaeda himself.
Highlights includes ‘Kobockle’, ‘Taiwasho’, ‘Awadama’ and ‘Okamin’. Funky and then some try listening to this album without moving, it can’t be done.
All in all – brilliant stuff!
Ajate is out now – buy from Bandcamp.