Looking at the cover art on this CD one might expect the contents to be traditional Japanese music played on the tsugaru-shamisen, a three-stringed folk instrument. What you get is a lively mix of Japanese folk, pop, rock and worldbeat, with some blues to boot. The Yoshida brothers became a hit in Japan with their first album in 1999 and have since gained an international audience. The brothers use drums and modern instruments, including synthesizers, as well as their traditional instruments. There are no vocals on this CD.
I was especially taken by their Overland Blues, an infectious blend of Deep Southern blues and Northern Japanese folk. A Hill With No Name has a very New Age feel to it, reminding me of something from Songs from a Secret Garden. Cherry Blossoms in Winter is a lovely, more traditional sounding track. The use of synthesizers gives a fuller, orchestral background. Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix) and Rising have a harder rock beat. All in all, a nice surprise.