Yoshida Kyoudai, Masters of the Shamisen


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Recently Actors Studio @ Lot 10 with Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur brought to the masses a showcase like no other. Two men from Hokkaido, Japan; brothers in arms and rivals with a 3 string instrument known as a shamisen. These two brothers are known internationally as Yoshida Brothers (Yoshida Kyoudai). And for 3 solid sold out nights, an estimated 560 plus people attended.

Lyle was there and it was really amazing on what they can do as a duo and as an individual. For those who does not know, a shamisen is a three string instrument played with a bachi, an instrument that looks like a plectrum. The audience who was there, their expressions was priceless. How could a 3-string instrument play such infinite melodies?

Lyle was there on night two and there was a slight hiccup with his ticket, though with all the commotions of a locomotion, the results was much better than what he had previously expected. The stage was set, speakers on the floor and microphones to pick up the voice of a shamisen. There was nothing else, for nothing else matters tonight.

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[Ryoichiro Yoshida]

For tonight, it is just about the kyoudai and their shamisen. The lights dimmed and clad in matching kimonos with bright, earthy color tones and patterns; Yoshida Kyoudai entered and the audience clapped.

Their first piece was Hishou and in between their music, Ryoichiro and Kenichi Yoshida spoke to the audience and punted jokes about each other. Later, each brother played on their own and gave to the audience what each one of them could do on their own. Kenichi Yoshida played first, to be honest; Lyle could not feel the passion of his shamisen. It felt rather lifeless when he played on his own.

Next up was big brother, Ryoichiro who gave his shamisen of voice of thunder. This was a person who in Lyle’s opinion was the better half during their solo performance. Each movement of his fingers, each plucking with the bachi and each grunt was lovely. After the solo performance, the kyoudai came together and plucked their shamisen for the audience once more.

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[Kenichi Yoshida]

Their final song was Tsugaru Jongara-Bushi, which according to Ryoichiro; is the best example to showcase all of the shamisen’s abilities and ranges. Truly indeed, their final song did indeed showcase what a shamisen can do. An applause broke out when they left the stage, was it over ? Surely this can not be happening and indeed it will not happen !

An encore performance with Huijin, as their encore piece with that they bowed and crowd goes wild. Not sure how long it was, but Lyle was happy to get their signature. In retrospect, although it was 1 hour 15 mins of shamisen, Lyle found it a little bit too short for his liking though he truly enjoyed the night.

Before we end this post, thank you Valerie from The Actors Studio for the press kit and do note that all images in this post except the last picture was taken by Kelab Shashin Fotografi Kuala Lumpur.

Yoshida Kyoudai Signature