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Prog Folk • Japan

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Ashada biography
- Ashada is the name of a Japanese female duo featuring singer Tae (also mandolin and piano) and keyboard player Midori (also piano, programming, accordion and vocals), the band was founded in 2000. Both musicians were inspired by Zabadak, a well known band to Japanese progressive rock fans that was formed in 1985, it hosted Ueno Yoko who sings in Asturias. Ashada has invited guest musicians like Dani and Akihisa Tsuboi who frequently appear in other groups, recently they joined progrock sensation KBB (splendid symphonic fusion).
- The music on their debut CD Circulation (released in 2006) is a wonderful, often moving blend of folk, chamber music and symphonic rock with some hints from RENAISSANCE featuring very beautiful work on Grand piano and violin along some sensitive electric guitar soli.

Thanks to fellow collaborator Honganji for additional information!

Why this artist must be listed in :
Ashada is a very interesting Japanese duo that makes a wonderful blend of folk, chamber music and symphonic rock, very unique sounding!

- Circulation (2006)

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3.91 | 20 ratings

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ASHADA Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Circulation by ASHADA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 20 ratings

Ashada Prog Folk

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars I had already decided that I really enjoyed this album before I took a closer look to see who was involved. The instruments and vocals are mostly shared between Tae and Midori but investigations of the booklet revealed that both Akihisa Tsuboy and Dani has been involved on violin and bass respectively, both members of one of my favourite Japanese bands KBB. This album is a mixture of instrumentals and songs, taking the music of Quikon and putting it into a more Western environment. At times I kept thinking of Mike Oldfield but the music doesn't have that depth ? it is almost as if there is a deliberate shallowness so that all of the music is on the surface ? what you hear is what you get. The accordion is an important part of the Japanese folky side of the music, but it often gives way to piano or violin.

Tae's vocals are gentleness and innocence, all wrapped in purity ? as if a small child was singing and not a woman. There is a naievety that is beguiling and enthralling ? music that starts as a small voice that fills the room. I found this album compulsive listening ? and it is hard to explain why. That it is in many ways quite beautiful is never in doubt, as is the fact that it it is hard to get this out of the player. There is a simplicity to this album that shows that it is not about note density or complexity, all you need are for the right elements to be in the right place and here that has easily been achieved. In many ways this is a stunning album.

 Circulation by ASHADA album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.91 | 20 ratings

Ashada Prog Folk

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ashada is a Japanese female duo featuring Tae (vocals, mandoline and piano) and Midori (piano, accordion and vocals), supported by guest musicians on electric guitar, bass, drums, violin and percussion. Their sound is not really mainstream prog but I love the wonderful blend of folk, chamber music and symphonic rock, often very moving!

1. Kagi (5.08) : An instrumental track delivering a fluent rhythm with a beautiful harmony of sparkling piano, romantic accordion and warm violin play.

2. Snowflake (5.58) : Another instrumental, it starts with fragile piano work, then a fluent rhythm with beautiful interplay between accordion and piano. The accordion play becomes more prominent, followed by a sensitive guitar solo, very flowing and often howling.

3. Departure (6.26) : This one sounds as chamber music featuring tender piano chords and dreamy, almost whispering vocals. The violin enters with a very intense sound, the following interplay with the piano is splendid.

4. Sacred Visions (3.29) : A slow rhythm with dreamy piano, vocals and violin, the final part is subtle with on the background a raw guitar delivering fiery licks.

5. A Girl's Week (4.09) : Again a dreamy song, the mandoline delivers a pleasant contribution along warm vocals and piano. The harmony between all instruments is perfect and it sounds very moving, especially the beautiful piano work!

6. Neji (6.49) : This is the highlight, it starts with a slow and compelling rhythm featuring sensitive electric guitar and delicate piano. Then the sound becomes gradually more bombastic with a captivating contrast between the fragile mandoline and the propulsive drum beats. After a dreamy part with buzzing bass work and fragile piano work, we can enjoy sparkling piano and wonderful mandoline play. The second part contains a great build- up with flowing shifting moods, culminating in a very intense and compelling electric guitar solo, breathtaking symphonic prog!

7. Birth (4.22) : The final song has a mellow climate and in the end some classical guitar play, very subtle.

I am absolutely delighted about this wonderful, often emotional blend of folk, chamber music and symphonic prog but I have to admit that it is not mainstream prog. Nonetheless, I hope more progheads will try to discover this very unique and promising Japanese project!

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the artist addition.

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