Update: The TW Together Live Lockdown Party will be rebroadcast on the Tokyo Weekender Facebook page on Saturday, May 30, 2020, from 7pm.
When announcing last month’s One World: Together at Home special broadcast, concert curator Lady Gaga said the purpose of bringing together top artists from all genres of music including Celine Dion, Usher, Eddie Vedder and Paul McCartney was to “highlight the singular, kind global community that is arising right now.”
The unprecedented global pandemic brought on by Covid-19 has kept most of us at home for months in self-quarantine. In a way, this lockdown has brought the global community closer together as we are allowed time and the technology to connect with friends and family from all over the world.
We at Tokyo Weekender feel obligated to do our part to knit together our community here in Tokyo, and share their talents and their messages of friendship and fellowship with those of you at home.
TW Together Instagram Live Lockdown Party
As part of our TW Together campaign, which connects businesses and people in Japan, our TW Together Instagram Live Lockdown Party will be held on Friday, May 22, from 7pm (Tokyo time). Just head to our Instagram page to watch inspired performances by some of our favorite people, including pop trio Three1989, DJ and producer Risa Taniguchi and improv comedy troupe Pirates of Tokyo Bay.
Here is more information about the special performers involved, who like us – in the words of Lady Gaga – “want to celebrate and encourage the power of the human spirit.”
Asuka is a koto player. Wocasi is a DJ. Together they are YY. YY (waiwai) means a lot of people enjoying the experience in comfort. They recreate classical Japanese songs in a captivating, modern style. Asuka manipulates the technique and tone of the traditional Japanese stringed instrument, the koto, to blend with Wocasi’s hypnotizing beats.
Ladybeard needs little introduction. The cross-dressing, heavy-metal singing professional wrestler from Australia went viral in 2015 as the frontman of Japanese kawaiicore band Ladybaby. Today he tours with this new band, Deadlift Lolita, and makes public appearances around the world. Ladybeard is happy to share his unique message of genkiness with TW viewers.
Check out our interview with Ladybeard from the May 2019 issue of TW
Michiyo Yagi is a master of the koto. She has collaborated with the world’s top jazz musicians and performed at the world’s top jazz festivals inlcudng the preeminent Moers Festival in Germany. Last winter Yagi released her 12th album, Into the Forest, a mature, measured compilation of original songs that features her vocals for the first time.
Check out our interview with Yagi from TW’s January 2020 issue
Showa Kayo Night DJ Set
Justin Miller (aka DJ Dandy) is the co-founder of Tokyo nightlife mainstay Showa Kayo Night, in which DJs showcase the best of Japanese oldies from the Showa Era (1926-1989). Showa Kayo (literally, “Showa period singing songs”) can come from any time in this period, but are generally thought of as Japanese oldies from the ’50s through ’80s. Miller created an exclusive set to be shared with TW Together listeners.
Find Showa Kayo Night on Facebook and Instagram: @showakayonight
Sloman started his music career in his native England before locating to India and then Japan. He formed the folk-rock group The Kave and gained notoriety in 2012 when a video of Sloman serenading stranded train passengers with his guitar during a typhoon went viral. Sloman released his solo album One and All in October 2019.
Check out our interview with the singer-songwriter ahead of the album’s release.
An intimidatingly creative man who devoted almost a decade of his life to film before turning to music for his debut album, 2015’s Kensuke Ide & His Mothership, Ide doesn’t produce music often. When he does, his work is conceptually and musically peerless. Released in April 2020, Contact From Exne Kedy and the Poltergeists is his second album with his “mothership” of musicians. We are honored to have him as part of the TW lineup.
Check out Ed Cunningham’s online review of Ide’s latest album.
Pirates of Tokyo Bay
This year the raucous improv group is celebrating 10 years entertaining audiences in Tokyo. The improv comedy style of POTB is similar to the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and attracts a mix of internationally-minded locals, smarter tourists and international expats in Tokyo.
Be sure to check out the Virtual Pirates Show on May 31.
Often shortened to Three, the ’80s soul pop trio skyrocketed to worldwide fame in part thanks to vocalist Shohey Uemura’s appearance on Netflix’s 2018-2019 season of Terrace House Opening New Doors set in Karuizawa. Three1989 had a busy 2019. With an average of two shows a week across two nationwide tours and a studio album release, they didn’t have much down time. Yet, they were kind enough to provide a song for TW to share with our online audience.
Check out Lisa Wallin’s interview with Three1989 from the March 2020 issue of Tokyo Weekender
Young pop and R & B singer NOA, who performs in Japanese, English and Korean, released his limited-edition debut single “Lights Up” just this past January. His multiple talents, including songwriting, songwriting and dance choreography, are all undeniable. The Tokyo native was discovered while living with his family in Korea by the hairstylist of a K-pop star. Returning to Japan in 2018, he signed with Amuse. The lyrics, composition and arrangement for “Lights Up” are a collaborative work between NOA and the composer MILLENNIU’ who has worked on many hit songs of the Korean male group iKON.
Highly sought after DJ and producer Risa Taniguchi travels back and forth from Europe and her home in Tokyo to perform her signature tracks. Late last year her song, “Enough,” was listed as a track on the SUM VA release by German label Second State. Taniguchi is not only an incredibly talented musician, but she is also a lot of fun to hang out with at the izakaya.
Check out our interview with Taniguchi for the cover story of TW’s December 2019 issue.
Tokyo-based independent film-making team Tokyo Cowboys has launched a new comedic English educational series titled Benza English, and all six episodes will stream on Amazon Prime Video in Japan. The classroom is a bar. The grammar teacher is a ghost. The lessons are about pickup lines and put downs. In this comedic educational series viewers will learn the English they never knew they needed.