Friday, December 21, 2018


Wagakki Band (和楽器バンド)
1. deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
2. of, denoting, or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected such doctrines as they wished from various schools. 
1. a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
I have a rather broad range of tastes in many things, not just music, but as we've been on a bit of a musical bent as of late, I'm going to talk about my tastes in music in this post. You are invited (nay, encouraged) to share your own likes and dislikes in the comments, of course.

So lately I've been entertaining myself on YouTube by watching a bunch of kinda goofy and hysterical videos. It's truly mind-numbing entertainment, something I have needed as of late with all the PVD action occurring inside my Mk1 Mod 0 eyeballs. Takes my mind off the floaters, flashing lights, and blurred vision (in the left eye, which is improving daily, so dinna fash yersel on my behalf).

Anyhoo, whilst watching all these "gifs with sound" or "coub" as the Russians call 'em, I stumbled across a brief clip of a group of Japanese musicians playing a mix of traditional Japanese and modern Western instruments. The samisen (三味線) is an instrument which I have always loved the sound of, and here was a lady in what was apparently a rock band playing one!

The clip of this band fascinated me, I needed more, so I searched for "Japanese rock band using traditional instruments" and found this -

Captivated I was, so I called The Missus Herself into the command center, er, I mean, "man cave" and showed her the video. She found it rather entertaining, she also mentioned that the clothing and hairstyles of the band members put her in mind of anime. (I have known this lady for 42+ years, been married to her for near 41 of those years, and she never ceases to amaze me. There are depths to her that continually surprise me. In a good way mind you, a very good way.)

Now I have liked "Eastern" (as in Asian) music since The Beatles' George Harrison played the sitar on their Rubber Soul album in 1965. (The song was Norwegian Wood.) I started junior high in that year (what I guess they call "middle school" in these modern times) and had a very good teacher by the name of John Wu. As you might guess, he was of Chinese descent.

The class was social studies, back then it was a mix of history and cultural stuff, Mr. Wu brought some mad teaching skilz to the table along with an understandably "Eastern" attitude towards the class. While European culture was mixed in, we had a lot of Asian culture as well. (Which is probably why I so enjoyed my time in Japan and Korea.)

One of the activities we did with Mr. Wu was to eat an Indian meal (prepared by the home economics class, remember those?) and listen to real Indian music. I seem to recall it was a Ravi Shankar album (I also seem to recall he's the chap who taught Harrison how to play) the timing was perfect. There was my favorite band using the sitar and I'm kicked back in the Home Econ room dining on curry, nan bread, rice, and listening to Indian music. Sweet.

Sitar music always puts me in mind of the hot, dusty plains of India, the countryside holding its breath as man and beast await the start of the monsoon. Also puts me in mind of the lofty peaks of the Himalayas. Elephants, tigers, and cobras. Oh my!

Now the sitar has about a billion strings, (actually not that many but it has way more than a six-string guitar, the instrument I was most familiar with at the time) and produces a sound which I find very relaxing and soothing. Of course, I wanted one, and of course my parents demurred on that, "But we just got you a guitar! Learn how to play that first!" Well, they did have a point, and just where on Earth could one find a sitar in Vermont in 1965? It wasn't like you could trot on down to the local music emporium and pick one up. Nope, probably had to go to India or something for that!

At any rate, so began my eclectic tastes in both music and food. While I can still do burgers and fries and rock and roll with the best of 'em, there are days I just have to chow down on kimchi and rice and listen to some old timey Asian music, like this -

That instrument is the kayagum (가야금), a traditional Korean stringed instrument. I had an entire album of kayagum music when we lived in Korea, The Missus Herself thought I was out of my mind, my mother-in-law liked it, so that scored me some points. I found it a winning proposition to always stay on my mother-in-law's good side. Advice I'd give to anyone looking to get married, win the mother-in-law, you've won the war.

Dang, but I miss that sweet little lady. She's been gone 19 years. I can still hear her laughing, shaking her head, and calling me "미친 사람" - crazy person. She knew me well, as does her daughter.

I'm a lucky guy. A little crazy and rather eclectic. A good thing, I think. I hope...


  1. Speaking of kayagum music, this young lady does a great job.

    I have never been able to sing on key, and that was long before my hearing loss. Making music wasn't ever in the cards, but I really enjoy listening to whatever suits me.

    Good, and thought provoking post. And that does remind of the person who made a circle of different lamps, and put the unhatched offspring of a chicken in the exact center. He described it as ecletric, and eggcentric.

    1. My correction to an typo in my comment added two more typos. Sigh.
      So, I'll try again.
      The word "ecletric" was supposed to be, "eclectric." Errors mount under the pressure of trying for the CFC (Coveted First Comment)

    2. The kayagum rocks, doesn't it? She is VERY good!

      Ah, the traditional circle of lamps, eclectric and eggcentric. I think I know that guy...

    3. Yes, the CFC and the NTBSC (Not Too Bad, Second Comment) awards.

      I love the typo correction comments. Boosts the comment count dontcha know? (And I'm all about the numbers. Hee hee hee. 😜)

  2. That song was great! My first big crush was a girl named Meiko. 4th grade I think. That lead singer looks a lot like her.

    Music is so ethereal, do we even have a choice in what we like? I kinda wonder about that. When we lived in Houston (patooie), my oldest son and my wife would watch Indian music videos on some station on Saturday mornings. He loved it.

    Being open to "different' is a curse and a blessing. I hated the "Mexican" music they played on the radio when I was a kid. Mostly accordians, it didn't do anything to interest me. Then I found ranchero and older mariachi songs, oh!, and then some 50's music from Mexico. Wow. Those trumpets and the voice control some of those folks have is amazing. I can usually find some good old stuff at times on the the old AM radio down along the frontera.

    I tried to do a Pandora station once, and it got weedy with all the things I really like to hear. Too much variety. Thanks for adding another layer to the musical cake I like. That band sounds really cool. (I've been watching those gif's with sound lately, too. Weird.... )

    Have you heard of a group called Franz Ferdinand? Take Me Out is an earworm. I bought their first album. My son thought I'd lost my mind...

    1. Yeah, I tried to do Pandora once. Most of what it thought I would like wasn't even close. Like you say, too much variety. When I'm in the mood for a certain genre of music, nothing else will do.

      Franz Ferdinand, I like 'em, thanks for that STxAR. Always willing to give new stuff a listen.

    2. You might give AccuRadio a try. I've been quite happy with it.

      You cannot choose the rotation, but you can skip to the next song. You can also rate songs so the selection you hear is more to your taste. Lots of music to choose from.

    3. I may have to give that a shot at some point.

      It would have to be a pretty slick algorithm to figure out what's going on in my head. Especially when it comes to music.

      (Though in truth, if you put Foo Fighters on, THAT always gets my attention.)

    4. Foo Fighters, K-Pop, Sitar music... Yeah, that would pretty much make any algorithm go "Norman Coordinate..."

    5. If you click on "Classic Rock", there are 36 separate channels. Like I said, LOTS of choices. With an account, you can build your own library of favorite channels. I've never used Pandora so I don't know how AccuRadio compares.

      I have a mini-stereo in my garage/man cave. I also have a stack of CD's that includes Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Gordon Lightfoot, Steve Winwood, and Leo Kottke. Speaking of Mr. Lightfoot, still going--

      "Music" of a different sort. For Beans. Best percussion section ever.

    6. Gordon Lightfoot, anti-tank guns, what's not to love?

  3. "Still crazy after all these years." Being'selective' crazy has it's benefits.

  4. “...stay on the mother in law’s good side.”
    Getting there is half the fun.

  5. Eclectic Electric Music. Means you have a broad mind.

    Now, as to MILs and pleasing them, same goes for GMILS. My Grandma hated Mrs. Wetzel until one day Grandma was making a stocking for the latest sprout and Mrs. Andrew asked about it, being the craft-sy girl that she is. Within half an hour, both of them were talking in a secret language and Mrs. Andrew was now accepted. Didn't hurt that #2 DIL didn't want her children to be told "No" and were allowed to explore all the 100+ year old nativity set from Germany that was about as fragile as, well, a 100+ year old nativity set from Germany could be.

    1. In good with the GMIL, even better!

      Don't tell me they destroyed the 100+ year old nativity set from Germany? (Really, don't tell me...)

    2. Almost. The Grandma Cone, same one that punched Woody Hayes, slapped the hand of the idiot child and said "NO!" quite harshly. That was when the #2SisIL wigged out.

      We did lose the wax baby Jesus one year when the attic got too hot and he ended up looking like one of the Nazis in "Raiders of the Lost Arc."

      Though big brother #1 did manage to throw out the rest of the auncient German hand blown ornaments carefully brought over by Great Grand Pere... Grrrr.. Oh well, spilt milk, broken glass, it's all in the past.

    3. Just a constant reminder that you can never go home... Make the memories when you can, because the chances will be lost as time goes on.

      Augh. Seasonal maudlin setting in. Must watch happy fun, listen to happy fun, maybe bake some happy fun Christmas breads...

    4. Seasonal maudlin, yup, I get that from time to time. So I turn up the music and beat the drums!

  6. My musical tastes run to Fleetwood Mac, Moody Blues, and Glen Miller ( yes, I'm an old person ).

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. I'm younger than you, and those match my musical tastes, too. Along with some Euro-electronic stuff, K- and J-pop, Mongolian throat singing, ELO, Queen, Josh Groban, traditional Japanese and Korean music, but NOT CHINESE!!! and some other stuff.

      It's called being eclectic, as pointed out above. Or... Eccentric, if you're rich. Crazy if you're poor...

      Glen Miller... gotta go find those recordings again, along with other contemporary and modern big-band groups (like Cquirrel Nut Zippers...)

    2. Paul - Fleetwood Mac, Moody Blues, Glen Miller - love 'em all. Great music right there.

      Old is a state of mind, you ain't old. Feisty, yeah, you're feisty.

    3. Beans - Mongolian throat singing? You too?


      And the others, awesome, freaking awesome. (And yeah, most Chinese music is way too atonal for my tastes, eclectic though they be.)

    4. Yup. MTS. Sounds much better than Bob Dylan. Then again, gargling with razorblades sounds better than Bob Dylan. I'd almost listen to progressive jazz over BD.

    5. Did someone say "Mongolian Throat Singing"?

    6. Beans - Dylan writes good stuff, singing isn't really his strength. So I've noticed...

    7. Mike_C - Why yes, yes we did. The HU are AWESOME!

  7. Hey Sarge , been awhile..Happy Holidays !!! sat and listened in a ol dusty bar 2016 Tokyo shamisen !! awesome experience...
    found an interesting band for you...since i know you like is Eastern Youth Hokkaido they do the ending song for a very interesting Anime...about 1905 japanese army vets returning to Hokkaido to find hidden gold treasure ...very historic very accurate.. one of the best animes i've seen in will def like it...Golden Kamuy..heres the closing song video Eastern Youth has alot of videos n YT over their 25yr career...enjoy

    1. Hey Mark! Welcome back and Happy Holidays to you as well.

      eastern youth, frigging awesome, a Japanese punk band, some real Foo vibe there, love it! Thanks for that!

  8. They say that variety is the spice of life, and you are definitely using the allspice, in music and in food. Coub! Been down that road too. They know how to catch your eye, and the hilarity keeps me there. Dash cam vids, GWS, People are Amazing...plenty of ways to kill time on the tubeyou. I've found myself using Shazam on those vids to find out what a certain piece of music is, adding it to a playlist for later. I can't say I'm very diverse though- no sitar or Asian flavored stuff like you.

    1. Shazam! Well, thank you for that. I chase music all of the time and am successful in finding it maybe 33% of the time, looks like a good tool to have in the computer toolbox.

      Yeah, GWS etc., most entertaining.


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