By Michael Diana
Hey! How u doin. I hope those of you who’ve been here a while enjoyed your summer and that you new people I’ll never meet are settling in nicely. Welcome to my home.
Today we’re going about as far back in my J-music history as we can get, with the very Japanese visual kei band, Kagrra,. Yes, the comma at the end is part of their name.
Debut: “Hyakuya E” 99/6/13 (as CROW), “Kotodama” 00/7/21 (as Kagrra,)
Shin (guitar, koto)
Formed in 1998 as CROW, the group eventually known as Kagrra, signed with the small visual kei label KEY PARTY, which boasted some legendary (at least, among hardcore v-kei fans) indie groups in the 90s. That being said, the label didn’t enjoy wide recognition; I’d be surprised if anyone reading this knew about them. In 2000, CROW was recruited to PS COMPANY, home to such famous artists as the GazettE, Alice Nine, and Miyavi. The change in management brought with it a change in the band name to the more fitting fitting Kagrra,. This new name drew from the word 神楽 (かぐら), referring to a very old form of Shinto music and dance. Kagrra, went major in 2004 and enjoyed a successful run until its disbandment in early 2011. It was in the latter year that vocalist Isshi passed away just before embarking on a solo career.
Kagrra’s guiding concept as a band centered around “Japan,” or “和,” and it dictated almost every facet of its activities, from music to lyrics, to costumes and concert sets and music videos. This was a band who really stuck to its concept with every release while also managing to keep the music fresh, an impressive feat considering Kaggra’s ~12 year history. Around 2008-9, a lot of visual kei groups went through a brief “Japanesque” period, a fact I personally like to attribute to Kagrra, having done its thing for almost a decade and everyone wanting to be just like them (because who wouldn’t?). It probably didn’t hurt that Kaggra, also had fabulous costumes every. single. time.
Songs of Note
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