Music Monday – Shamisen

The shamisen.

Also known as ‘sangen’, the shamisen is a three-stringed musical instrument similar in design to the guitar (sometimes referred to as ‘guitah’) and the banjo (only ever referred to as ‘banjo’) native to Japan. It usually sounds like this.

Quite a traditional, Japanese-like sound, right? We have probably all heard the shamisen being played in an anime or film without knowing what it was! (I certainly did). And just because it only has three strings doesn’t mean we can’t have some fancy duels with it.

So what happens when you grab a traditional Japanese musical instrument and let two brothers mix it with a more Western style of music? Enter the Yoshida Brothers!

The Yoshida Brothers are two brothers (as the name would imply…) who mix the quick and percussive Tsugaru-jamisen style with some funky-and-rocky Western music to create some really. Amazing. Music.

What I love about the Yoshida Brothers is their willingness to throw in some drums and guitars and even a bit of piano to their songs, creating a beautiful collection of sounds that is, as far as I’m concerned, unique. With their soothing, relaxing music and fast-paced tracks, the Yoshida Brother have become one of the best musical finds I have found this year, and my go-to-musicians when in need of some inspiration.

And don’t even get me started on what happens when Monkey Majik is added to the equation.