Friday, July 13, 2018

Japanese Salsa Ensemble Banderas Unleash "Luna" B/W "Kangaroo Boogaloo" from Frenzied Full-length La Bandera (P-Vine Records/Zainas)

Banderas are an 11-piece Japanese Salsa ensemble—yes, you read that correctly! Formed in November 2014 in Tokyo, Banderas consists of pianist Kazuma Koseki 小関一馬, vocalist, Yoshiaki Hagiya 萩谷嘉秋, choras/percussionists Yasuji & Tinnen, bassist Masaaki Otomo 大友正明, conga player Dategen 伊達弦, Izpon on bongos, takeshi ogawa 小川岳史 on timbales, trombonist Masayuki Nakayama 中山まさゆき, sax player Ichirou いちろう, and trumpet player Naohito'temjin'Yomoda 四方田テムジン直人. While I'll readily admit I'm not very well-versed in either traditional Japanese or Salsa music, it's great to hear Salsa/Latin/Afro stylings played through the scope of 11 frenzied and fun-loving, yet classically-trained Japanese musicians. Banderas have since, quietly released a number of 7-inch/digital singles including "Tema de Banderas" B/W "Banderas Mambo" on Zainas (2016)—later re-released on Swiss-based Matasuna Records in March 2018—and 2017's Bob Marley & The Wailers-covering "Turn Your Lights Down Low" B/W "¡ AY JOE !" on Banderas' own Zainas imprint. Now, Banderas have triumphantly returned this week with their third self-released single entitled "Luna" B/W "Kangaroo Boogaloo." A 2-track digital single featuring nearly 9 minutes-worth of audio, both tracks will be effectively re-released on Banderas' soon forthcoming proper album-length debut.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, the track on Side B, opposite of "Luna_RadioEdit," "Kangaroo Boogaloo," is one of Banderas' first partly English language releases; it starts off with frontman Yoshiaki Hagiya proclaiming: "Everybody say, "Hey, we want some boogaloo...'" followed by a characteristically "bouncy" call-and-response section. What follows is a jovial, yet surprisingly progressive track with elements of Salsa, Latin Rock, Cumbia, J-Pop, and a multitude of worldly genres with an added Japanese flair that's truly unique to Banderas. La Bandera will be released on Tokyo-based imprint, P-Vine Records this upcoming Friday, August 10th. Banderas' six singles released between 2016-18 will be littered throughout La Bandera, along with six additional, as-yet-unreleased Salsa-inspired compositions. "According to the album title of "La Bandera (banner,)" it is a work which seems to set out the flag of the new Salsa from this Tokyo," reads a rather rough translation lifted from Banderas' newly-updated site. "A yearning for admiration for Salsa classics, approach not bound by existing framework, destructive feeling with frustration, sweat and romance-packed, unexpectedly crying and laughing and dancing," it ecstatically continues. Banderas' album-length debut, La Bandera (sub-titled "Salsa Classics & Destroy") will be released on P-Vine Records in both CD and digital formats on Friday, August 10, 2018.

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