ABOUT PIRATES CANOE
A ROOTS MUSIC LOVING BAND,
HOPELESSLY STUCK SOMEWHERE BETWEEN AMERICAN AND JAPANESE
PHOTO: Kohei Ishikawa, HATS: Bizarre, PLACE: Gabor
WHO ARE THEY?
Pirates Canoe is a sometimes sextet, sometimes trio Americana roots band who began performing together in the summer of 2009 in the Kansai area of Japan.
While their individual musical tastes vary—rock, blues, bluegrass, Irish and American folk, funk, soul, pop—together they are magic.
The band’s sound has a synergetic effect that’s more than the sum of the parts—Elizabeth’s mellow voice adds sorrow and sweetness, Sara’s eclectic musical sense pushes boundaries, and Kanako’s solid fiddle takes it to another dimension.
When they play in their six-member “full-band” line-up, Kazuhiko insists on adding with his resophonic guitar only just what is needed, and Yossie and Jun’s solid rhythm section keeps it all together.
They compose most of their own songs, add a few cover tunes and play at venues, bars and cafes all over Japan.
HOW DID THEY START?
Pirates Canoe came about when the three guys introduced Sara and Elizabeth.
About that time, Sara happened to meet Kanako in a bar and, seeing her violin case, invited her along.
Thinking back now, their meeting could be called fate. If Elizabeth hadn't happened to hear the guys playing in a small bar one night, she wouldn't have introduced herself and begged to sing for them,
and if Sara hadn't had one too many beers, she may not have invited Kanako without even hearing her play!
WHERE CAN YOU HEAR THEM?
Apart from the many performances they are invited to, Pirates Canoe hosts a monthly show at Coffee House Jittoku, Japan's oldest and most respected live house.
This monthly show, coined "Pirates Canoe's Hyokkori Party," features the full band sound and invites other talented guest musicians, including Tim Easton and Matt the Electrician from across the ocean.
The three girls also play as a trio at other events and venues for a more acoustic and intimate sound.
Their albums are available at their shows, from their own label's online shop, on Bandcamp and CD Baby.
See Discography for more info.
WHAT HAVE THEY DONE SO FAR?
2012 saw them open for David Bromberg on his Japan tour, being featured in Shiseido Hanatsubaki's smartphone app, and introduced on the national NHK radio show "Lovely Music of the World," hosted by the Japanese world music guitar duo, "Gontiti."
2013 started off well for the band with their first ever North American tour which included several showcases at SXSW 2013, and opening for Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur on their Japan tour.
They were also selected as MTV Iggy Artist of the Week this year, with a featured online interview and performance.
"Even the hippest of SXSW hipsters probably haven't heard of Pirates Canoe, but with a sound that's Alison Krauss-meets-Ry Cooder-meets Alan Toussaint, they're the skinny jeans from Japan that are destined to be fashionable stateside soon.
The sometimes trio, other times sextet, mixes a dollop of Irish folk with a helping of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and percussion that beautifully complement — but never overwhelm — the singers' ethereal harmonies.
Though based in Japan, the members met in a very Americana way; the story of Pirates Canoe's inception involves a bar, a violin case and a few adult beverages.
That's not to say that the band has completely shucked its Asian roots for Nashville though.
Consider "Gull Flying North," an uptempo mandolin romp that has just enough delicate tones to bring the Far East to mind."
- Rolling Stone Magazine
"Because who knew that an Americana act from Kyoto, Japan, looks significantly odder on paper than it sounds in practice?
Half a song in and it's not the novelty, but the songcraft and playing that grabs and holds your attention.
If only half of what East Nashville is churning out right now seemed this authentically heartfelt."
- esquire magazine
"… Pirates Canoe has been lulling the masses with classy Americana a la Alison Krauss, the kind that gives you a pit in your stomach because it’s like the heavens opened and bestoweth divine, majestic song." - MTV Iggy
For booking, press, etc., please contact at Elizabeth
on vocals and guitar.
likes Tom Waits, sewing and her cat.
(Also known as Reika Hunt)
on mandolin and vocals.
likes George Gershwin, white rice and tap dancing.
on fiddle and vocals.
likes beer, the smell of lavender and Aidan O'Rourke.
on resophonic guitar.
likes Ry Cooder, making instruments and Youtube.
TAKASHI 'YOSSIE' YOSHIOKA
on drums and percussion.
likes chocolate, American TV dramas and Smokey Robinson.
likes drinking, taking long walks and Allen Toussaint.
on bass and electric guitar.