KAGERO
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KAGERO

North Bergen, New Jersey, United States | SELF

North Bergen, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band World Folk

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"Mohawks and Accordions: Top 10 Gypsy Punk Bands"

Kagero fuses Japanese gypsy rock? Yes, you read right (Kagero actually means “mirage” or “heat haze” in Japanese). Clearing through the haze, Japan-born frontman Kaz Fujimoto states in an interview, “Cultural confusion is our specialty.” Living a nomadic life, Kaz migrated to London, Paris, Dublin and finally arrived to New York City to create Kagero. The quartet debuted none other than Japanese Gypsy Rock in 2009 which offers jaw-dropping instrumentation and an upbeat melting pot of violin-driven, “urban-gypsyphonic” melodies, and harmonica-blowing tonalities from Eastern Europe, South America to Asia. You’ll know what we mean when you listen to “My Little Bonita.” - MTV Iggy, by Isabela Raygoza


"Gig Alert: Kagero"

If you had any doubt that we live in a deeply globalized world, pop Kagero into the CD player. The group, led by the Japanese, Brooklyn-based artist Kaz Fujimoto, bills itself as “Japanese Gypsy Rock,” and it’s a fairly apt description. This track, “2 + 1 is Almost 5,” has that distinctly bawdy Balkan party sound pioneered by Golgol Bordello, and is sung in accented English. The band throws in some Spanish catch phrases for good measure. This may seem like a hodgepodge of ingredients, but Kagero isn’t aiming to be coherant. As Fujimoto says, "cultural confusion is our specialty." - Marlon Bishop, WNYC Culture Producer


"Album Review"

As you might surmise from their album name, Kagero are a group that does not toe the line of a particular musical tradition. Kagero bandleader Kaz Fujimoto celebrates this odd mashup of traditions. "Cultural confusion," he says, "is our specialty." Of course, untangling the influences is futile, when one should be enjoying the delicious angst of "Grappa" or dancing to "2 + 1 Is Almost 5." - SoundRoots World Music and Culture (KOAS)


"Album Review, “Kagero creates romantic”,"

Kagero sounds good. That's no exaggeration. They play a style of music that one may not expect. Their debut album, Japanese Gypsy Rock, also an apt description for them highlights the band's diverse influences. They create a concoction of pretty music. Music you can slow dance to. Music you can kiss to. Music you can fall in love with. Romantic music. This romantic tone is apparent in the first song "My Little Bonita." The words radiate closely to your heart. The acoustic and violin is sweet. The vocals are lovely and crisp. The song is definitely bonita (beautiful). If you like flamenco and Gogol Bordello, then this band is for you! Every song is a gem. - Star Beat Music


"Kagero: Japanese Gypsy Rock [Album Review]"

Kagero front-man and founder Kaz Fujimoto would have you believe he has explored every inch of this earth. Whether this is true or not, it is the sounds of Japanese Gypsy Rock that will make you a believer. This Japanese wordsmith and harp aficionado pulls off some of the best indie world music you’ll ever get. His lyrics border the general frustrations of any 90’s alternative band; but they do so with violins, musical saws, a saxophone, fiddles, etc.
The best feature of world music is when you find yourself forgetting about origin, and instead feel the need to explore through the beauty in song – it’s a concept Kagero has mastered.

It might seem necessary to go into all the worldly influences (Italian, Arab, Spanish, etc.) that make up Kagero’s sound, but when a group uses such an array of different ethnic formats it’s best to just call their style their own. No comparisons are necessary. The stand out track “Mermaid From Istanbul” sounds close to (but not overly similar to) the eccentric and new folk scene happening in New York City these days. It brings forth the middle-eastern appreciation yet pulls out the Juilliard-friendly instrumentals that any opera enthusiast could appreciate.

Kagero (Japanese for “Heat Haze”) is so entirely ethnically entertaining, Jack and Meg White should very well be jealous of their originality. Their Eastern Europe masquerade is more than impressive. It is inspiring. Kaz and company have given us a strange and eccentric gift that many of us didn’t even know we’d been missing. Therefore, Japanese Gypsy Rock may very well be one of the finest releases of the the year.

http://www.fensepost.com/main/2009/12/16/kagero-japanese-gypsy-rock-album-review/ - Fensepost Music Blog


"KAGERO PERFORMS IN HOBOKEN"

"Tired of listening to bands who claim their sound is original only to hear a recycled version of every band on the radio? Well, look no further because Kagero serves up infectiously unique Japanese gypsy-flavored acoustic rock music."
http://www.so-mag.com/12_05_07/index.html - by Shauna Thompson, Steppin' Out Magazine


"ASIAN FUSION FOR THE EAR: Kagero rocks Brooklyn’s Bar 4"

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18933791&BRD=2384&PAG=461&dept_id=553358&rfi=6 - Courier Life 24/7


"KNOW THE GENRES"

. . . Brooklyn's Kagero call itself a "Japanese gypsy rock band" whose members are still asked what kind of music they play.

The answers -- "nomadic world rock," "urban-gypsyphonic," "border-jumping feel good rock," "kazrockistanian," "international debtor's prison tunes" -- obviously end the debate.

Decide for yourself when Kagero plays Suba in Harrisburg at 10 p.m. Friday.

http://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/patriotnews/index.ssf?/base/entertainment/120291991146250.xml&coll=1 - The Patriot News


"KAGERO RESIDENCY AT VOX POP"

Kagero played at Vox Pop one quiet night this winter. They displayed this rare energy that few live band performances have anymore. We immediately booked a second gig that led to a monthly residency. They are one of those groups that sucks you in. People walking by can't help but stick their heads in then 5 minutes later they are fully immersed in the Kagero experience and loving every second of it. Their seemless blend of such starkly different musical worlds makes for a supremely unique output of audible sustenance. Put plainy, these characters rock!

John J Hagan
Operations Manager/ Art Director
Vox Pop, Brooklyn
www.voxpopnet.net
www.jhaganart.com - John Hagan, Art Director


"KAGERO LIVE AT MEHANATA ON JUNE 12"

“I hate the yellow sun, I hate the blue sky,” Kaz Fujimoto of Kagero sadly sings as an acoustic guitar slowly strums a familiar tale of love lost in a foreign land. The tragic ballad “Red and Black” quickly transforms into a dramatic flamenco dance. A tear-triggering violin and accordion unite to create a portrayal of a Spanish temptress stomping on Fujimoto shattered heart. Kagero, described as “Japanese gypsy rock,” is exactly that: a marriage of bouncy folk songs with inspirations ranging from mellow, coffeehouse blues to haunting Middle Eastern tracks with echos of an electric guitar. Fujimoto, Kagero’s front man, isn’t your typical lanky, fedora-wearing bohemian with suave, sensual vocals that’ll knock your sheepskin boots off. Born in a Japanese village, Fujimoto wandered the streets of London, Dublin, and Paris, then finally settled his Beatles-obsessed, Guiness-loving self in Brooklyn. Along with Rob Bass in backing vocal and bass, J.W.’s violin, plus Toko on drums, Kagero is a musical voyage where gentle acoustic melodies, heartrending farewells, and some tango create a melting pot you’ll want to lick. He will perform on June 12 in the appropriate environment of Bulgarian bar Mehanata on Ludlow. - by Stephanie Nolasco, The Deli Magazine


"JAPANESE HYBRID"

Perhaps it was fitting that Kagero — a Japanese, gypsy rock band helmed by Bedford-Stuyvesant frontman Kaz Fujimoto — was playing in a Colombian bar in Queens named after an island in the West Indies.

The crowd at last month’s show at D’Antigua, mainly from South America and Mexico, responded to Kagero’s joyously, overstuffed gypsy-inspired world music. After all, it’s not often in Jackson Heights you see a skinny, British-accented Japanese rocker from Brooklyn who will also belt a few cover songs in Spanish. Like many a budding idol, glamorous lead singer Fujimoto could be everything to everyone.

Attired like a Japanese Jarvis Cocker on acid, Fujimoto had opted to wear a black leather jacket, a children’s plastic amulet and a crazy tie-dyed shirt, capped off with both a red visor and racing goggles.

“People who play in a band are not really wild,� Fujimoto nearly whispered to GO Brooklyn before the show, despite his outlandish getup. “I think they are very shy people.�

The eccentric man singing nouvelle gypsy songs had the audience swaying their arms up in the air, without being asked, and whistling loudly.

The evening, billed as “Gypsy Night,� comes at a time when the genre is buzzing. The music, borrowing from Russian, Eastern European and Spanish folk themes, became popularized in the United States in the 1930s. More recent rock acts like the Downtown party band Gogol Bordello and indie rock outfit Beirut have made this cross-cultural music fashionable and cool.

Fujimoto, with a twinkle in his eye, calls gypsy music “magical.�

Kagero is the first to blend rock ’n’ roll and gypsy themes with traditional Japanese music, according to bandmember Jon Whitney. The band’s name is Japanese for “mirage� or “heat daze.� But they don’t want to be pigeonholed by their oddball take on the bouncy niche music.

“We’re about world music,� explains Fujimoto, who lives on Greene Avenue. “Like Led Zeppelin or George Harrison used to do with Indian or Arabic music.�

Alongside Fujimoto, drummer Georgi Markov brings serious Eastern European credentials; he’s the son of a drummer from Bulgaria’s popular rock band Shturcite, or “the crickets.�

“I joined the band because I was interested in my cultural heritage,� said Markov, who insists that he is not a gypsy.

In terms of cultural influences in his native country, Fujimoto, who grew up in the town of Yamaguchi, does not listen to “J-rock,� mainstream Japanese rock music, or the candied genre “J-pop.� He prefers traditional Japanese music and reading about the history of the gypsy sound in the obscure Japanese magazine Latino. He also brings an obsession with early Beatles cover songs to the mix.

At 14, Fujimoto began listening to a rock program on his navy blue Victor radio, a present from his grandfather. The only rock the radio picked up in his home aired from midnight to 3 am out of Nagoya. Maybe that’s why he likes D’Antigua, where the show begins only when the owner gives the word, usually after midnight.

As the set began, Fujimoto, arm crooked around an acoustic guitar, strummed heatedly while crooning playful, poppy power ballads set to gypsy melodies. He sang of actresses trying to get ahead in “Shanghai Calls Me,� while polka dot disco lights pin-wheeled around the room. Fujimoto’s undulating voice, borrowing generously from 1960s classic rock, also recalled Hungarian melodies and “minyo,� traditional Japanese folk songs.

Alongside Fujimoto, Whitney (who has an Irish father and Japanese mother) created sloping melodies on amplified violin, while Markov magnified the rock element on drums and guitarist Rob Simpson, a heavy metal-obsessed KISS fan, pushed the band’s sound to the brink of insanity.

Yuki Kuwana, a 34-year-old Japanese graphic designer, came to the show because she is a Kagero fan.

“I felt it was something new, a little bit different from any category,� said Kuwana. “I like the mixing between classical and rock.�

Fujimoto’s sweeping voice was not completely unlike the vocal styles of many popular Spanish artists either.

“They’re very synchronized, and actually, the music is good,� said Mexico native Carlos Bordello, who runs a flooring installation business in Queens.

Gisele Reyes, also born in Mexico, typically comes to D’Antigua with her Argentine boyfriend to see the local Spanish rock acts and tribute bands. But she appreciated Kagero’s sound.

While standing far from the stage, she said of Fujimoto, “His voice is very unique and clear.�

That evening, Kagero seemed ready to perform every song they had ever written. The band played a gritty, teetering chantey called “My Daddy is a Thief� and “Angel Baby,� a rainbow-like disco ballad set to a samba beat.

As the set rocketed forward, Fujimoto’s appearance became progressively messier, face warmed by beer, all the while - by Annie Wilner, The Brooklyn Paper


"KAGERO"

If Teyve, from Fiddler on the Roof, married a hot flamenco dancer from Mongolia, and they had the reception at The Raven Saloon in Patan, Nepal (the bar where Karen Allen works in Raiders of the Lost Ark), and they wanted a rip-roaring band to bring the roof down, that band would be Kagero. - by Mark Brown, Left In Bay Ridge


"MUSICAL MOUTHFUL"

Describing Kagero isn't easy. The band name is Japanese for "heat haze," but musically it's a collection of wild contrasts. Its style is a mishmash of everything from early rock riffs to eastern European folk music. It's high energy, often frantic music that sometimes sounds a little like "Fiddler on the Roof" starring "Panic at the Disco."
- by Bill Lynch, The Charleston Gazette


"The Deli – NY Scene Blog - 11/18/2009"

Bed-Stuy-based Kagero’s newest record “Japanese Gypsy Rock,” due out November 19, 2009, is appropriately titled for the band’s striking fusion of sounds from around the world. Taking lead on violin, J.W. masters Eastern-inspired fiddle glissandos and double-stops, while bassist/vocalist Rob Simpson adds a salsa swing and klezmer kick. Kaz Fujimoto, defines “Japanese Gypsy Rock:” hailing from Japan, entertaining in a lounge-meets-Bohemian vocal style, and accessorizing each track with flamenco guitar and select Spanish phrases on standout tracks “My Little Bonita,” “1 + 2 Is Almost 5,” “Red and Black,” and “Grappa. Guest musicians, Georgie Markov (drums), Yoed (cello), Wynn Yamami (chindon, aka Japanese drum), and Emilio (trumpet) ably enhance “JGR” in these notable selections. Rooted in uplifting elements from eclectic origins, "Japanese Gypsy Rock" unites Kagero’s musical influences and talents into a cross-culture dance party. - Meijin Bruttomesso


Discography

Japanese Gypsy Rock (2009 - Full Length)
Red and Black (2007 - EP)
Kagero (2005 - EP)

Photos

Bio

Whats that sound? Its fun, catchy upbeat music, something akin to John Lennon-meets-Manu Chao in a global gypsy village. Its Kagero: the multicultural, self-proclaimed Japanese Gypsy Rock band whose rousing, feel-good drinking and dancing tunes provide the ultimate antidote for the recession blues.

Brooklyn based Kagero, (pronounced kaw'ge-r) embodies the citys Bohemian heartbeat and melting pot soul in both its music and band members. Their sound is often described as a combination of tonalities and rhythms from Asia, the Middle East, South America and Eastern Europe, all while incorporating an indie rock undertone. The artists themselves are a culturally diverse hodgepodge with front man Kaz Fujimoto coming to the U.S. by way of Japan and the UK.

Just like the beautiful mishmash of cultures in New York City, Kageros international rock sound comes together in a cohesive meld that works and works well. Kagero is a true original in a sea of mediocrity says Lee Sobel of Lo-Fi Entertainment, and if you are looking for new ear candy to invigorate your bored musical taste buds, Kageros Japanese Gypsy Rock album is sure to satisfy your craving.

Kagero's home base is the famed Bulgarian bar Mehanata, known for bringing Gypsy Rock and Gogol Bordello to international fame. Check the Calendar page for dates.

Visit Kagero on the web: www.kagero.com
The Album Japanese Gypsy Rock available on iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and on the band's website.

The new album is currently being recorded, hoping for a fall release, 2012.

For all booking inquires, please contact:
Robert Simpson, Manager
E: info@kagero.com
C: 917-482-6495

2011 Highlights
- Publishing a monthly podcast
- John F. Kennedy Center, Washington DC (April 4)
- Musikfest, Bethleham PA (2 sets on Aug 13)

2010 Noteable Shows
- Finalist in WNYC Battle of the Boroughs, Brooklyn
- Musikfest, Bethlehem PA
- Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, NYC
- BAM Sounds Like Brooklyn, NYC
- FetzerFest, PA
- Toured Northeast with Bern and the Brights in April

2009 Highlights
- Over 120 shows, from Memphis to Rhode Island and all points in between.
- Released first full length album "Japanese Gypsy Rock"
Noteable Gigs:
- Cherry Blossom Fest at BBG
- Folk Alliance in Memphis
- Opened for Spring Standards in West Virgina
- Block Island Music Festival
- CMJ NYC
- Wave Festival, Asbury Park

Band Members