Akino Arai Live in Paris
Yesterday evening was Akino Arai’s second concert in Paris, in a tiny concert hall full of dedicated fans, and me. I must admit I went there knowing only Voices (don’t stone me please) and because there is only so many occasions you can see japanese artists live, but I went home enlightened and happy.
First things first, let’s talk about the intro.
Yaneka is a duet of barefoot hippies composed of a singer (Chiyako) and her brother, a multi-guitar player (Yuichiro) ; for the concert they had invited a drummer. Their music is quite indescribable, lots of rythms, catchy even if you don’t understand what’s going on. They’re a sight to see live, very energetic, maybe a little too much in their world but at least they’re having fun and it shows. They ended with a little improv, and then gave way to the main act.
Here it comes, Akino Arai complete with a violonist and a guitarist !
A little description first. On the left, the violonist (he has a name, I just don’t remember it, feel free to pitch in), young guy with a white shirt and black trousers, the classic type ; on the right, the guitarist (he has a name too, same thing), with a checkered suteki na shitsu (she said it, not me !) and glasses ; and in the middle, standing or sitting at her piano, Akino Arai (I got the name ! Okay, otherwise I would be having serious memory loss) with platinum blond hair and a dress that took two songs an different sets of lighting to decipher, but it was black satin, green veil and gold lamé. Seriously.
She sang a few songs from her new album, which will be released at the end of the month. The titles I managed to catch were Lhassa, Terminal and Mizu. Well, I can predict I’ll be spending money on the 29th. These songs were really beautiful and made you feel you were somewhere else.
Behind the stage, they had set up a screen with videos showing during some of the songs. Most of the time it was animated drawings, illustrating the lyrics. A nice touch for the not-so-fluent in Japanese. Even if some of the songs were in French (such as Mizu).
Speaking of languages, she talked to us in a funny mixture of French, English and Japanese (she had to check her cheat sheet for the French part though, which was cute). We appreciated the effort 🙂
She sang some older songs too. And yes, we did get Voices, with only the violin as background music.
*insert respectful silence here*
Needless to say, I got what I came for. (FYI, there is a video on youtube taken the day before yesterday, with quite a good sound quality, but with dumbasses applauding before the end… which we didn’t do on Saturday no sir, Saturday night audience is an educated one. Anyway, here it is).
As a good enthusiastic audience we made a lot of noise at the end, which got us a little encore. They started with the beginning of Les Champs-Elysées, that’s when I decided I was in love 😀 It got worse when she then told us, in French “Je ne parle pas français. [We disagreed, she smiled] Je chante.” (I don’t speak French. I sing) and then she sang a last song, alone on the piano.
Nice final touch, we were offered a glass of sake on the way out 🙂