TOPArt & CultureMusicNew Album Shows that the Sister Duo Kitri are All Grown Up

New Album Shows that the Sister Duo Kitri are All Grown Up

The classically trained Japanese pianists released their second album, Kitrist II, on April 21

By Yukari Tanaka

If one were to describe the sister duo Kitri, it would be “in sync” – in sync with their performance, appearance, harmony and with each other.

Both having a background in classical piano, the sister duo is largely known for their piano performing style where they sit side-by-side and play by four hands. The elder sister Mona plays the lower keys while the younger sister Hina plays the higher notes. Both sisters are in charge of vocals, but occasionally, Hina also performs the guitar and percussion.

As adults, Mona continued to pursue music while Hina majored in science, but later came together as Kitri and released their first unofficial album Opus 0 in 2017 through a streaming service. The two sisters released their first EP Primo and made their major debut in 2019 from their current label Nippon Columbia.

What most of their compositions have in common is that the melodies they create are erratic – but in a good way. A song, for instance, begins with a hint of jazz or Latin music, but the next thing you know, you are listening to pop or a ballad. Every song, in fact, is a mixture of a selection of music genres that have been encapsulated into its few minutes. The irregularity in their melodies combined with their performing style undeniably creates an eccentric atmosphere unique to the sister duo.

 

Their newest album, “Kitrist II,” a follow-up of their first album “Kitrist” released last year, is yet another melting pot of music genres. The album is comprised of 11 songs in total, including “Rashin Dori.” The music video for the song went viral soon after it was first released in 2019 and has received more than 400k views as of today. The song has been reworked into a track with a stronger jazz arrangement in the introduction, in addition to inserting a phrase from a classical song.

“The song was rearranged by Shohei Amimori, who took a completely different approach to the original version by restructuring the piano parts and including additional arrangements to create a whole new world based on the original material,” Mona tells TW. “What surprised me the most was how the sound became playful yet dense after simply adding a phrase from a classical song – the more you listen to it, the more you discover something new.”

The album also features the three singles released and streamed one after the other throughout 2020; “Lily” in June, “Ningen Program” (Human Program) in August, and “Akai Tsuki” (Red Moon) in October. The three singles were essentially part of a project that was inspired by their strong desire to deliver music to their audiences amid the pandemic. Each song has a lyric video that matches their themes.

 

The fourth track “NEW ME” is their newest song, where the melody was first arranged by Satoru Isobe, who also arranged the song “Akai Tsuki” (Red Moon), and the piano and lyrics were added afterwards – an unusual order for the sister duo.

“Adding the melody and the piano phrases later was a first for the both of us. I was in charge of the lyrics, but I had a very difficult time deciding the theme and I ended up writing five different types of lyrics,” says Hina. “Mona was able to pick up the good parts from each and one of them, so the final product is a mixture of all. The story revolves around a strong-willed protagonist who lives by the phrase ‘I am who I am.’

“During recording, I was constantly conflicted between wanting to stay indifferent and the urge to let out my emotions, so the song portrays both calmness and passion. I’m already having high hopes that it will make our audiences want to dance along to the song at our live shows.”

Kitri will perform at Billboard Live in Yokohama and Osaka in June – a must-see for those who want to experience their newest album in its element.