Friday, March 14, 2008

The Wonderful World of TAMA

When I lived in Japan the only thing I could connect to was the Japanese pop band TAMA (たま ). One reason was because they were on this TV show that was on late on night. It will start around 11pm and end at 4 am every Saturday night. Here young bands would fight it out in front of a group of experts (Nagisa Oshima among them) and eventually they would get gonged or told to leave. Sort of like American Idol, but this show had a particular edge to it. More Rat Pack feeling. It felt like a club in a way.

You should watch the first part because imagine being in the Japanese countryside, and not be able to communicate to friends in English is both scary and fantastic at the same time. TAMA above wins the big contest and they do a fantastic song live - which reminds me of a Japanese pop version of Brian Wilson's "Smile."

This is the more 'arty' aspect of TAMA. There are two songwriters in the band. One is sort of the Paul McCartney and the other has that bitter John Lennon genius thing going.

The beauty of the band is that they are a throwback to Pre-war Japan. I like their clothes, vintage instruments, and compared to other bands in Japan at the time - they surely stand out from the rest of the pack.

i don't know too much about Japanese pop, but I do know the essence, and TAMA is like a cool breeze on a very sad and blue day.
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