It should be no secret that we at RocketNews24 love traditional Japanese music. Whether its Ki&Ki with their tsugaru-jamisen songs or the Wagakki Band with their fusion of vocaloid-inspired rock and traditional instruments, we simply adore the sound. Of course, we’re also fans of Nintendo’s old video games–which is what makes Famikoto one of our favorite discoveries this season!
Check out this group’s music and get ready to take a walk down memory lane with some of Nintendo’s best theme songs!
Famikoto, obviously, is a portmanteau of Famicom, the Japanese name for the NES, and koto, the incredibly awesome Japanese instrument, and we’ve haven’t seen a band name quite so on the nose since Death! Though it’s not entirely accurate–the group also features a number of musicians on the shakuhachi and shamisen in addition the host of koto players. Regardless of their composition, the group absolutely nails the four songs they play through. First, we have the theme song from Fire Emblem, followed by the very short start-up music for the Disk System, and then music from both The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.
▼Nostalgia never sounded so beautiful!
In case you’re wondering just what a Disk System is, be sure to check out this video which features a photo of the system itself, its start-up screen and music, and a little Easter egg you not have noticed about the GameCube.
Next, you’re probably hoping that Famikoto has made some more music–and luckily for your ears, they have! It turns out that the group has even recorded an EP! The album teaser is below, and if you like what you hear, you can order the CD from the 2083 Online Shop or Amazon Japan.
There’s also a live performance of the music on the EP, including songs from Final Fantasy X (“To Zarkland”) and Mother (“Mother Earth,” “Pollyanna,” “Eight Melodies”). The group is much smaller here, giving the music a slightly more intimate feel.
If you really like the music, you can even order some cellphone straps from the 2083 Online Shop as well. Sadly, it looks like neither the CDs nor the straps can be shipped internationally. Time to make a friend in Japan!
▼Post-Christmas present time!
If you’re as in love with the koto as we are, you’ll also want to check out some koto cover by Kazushi Okimasa, one of the primary koto players in Famikoto. For instance, this version of “Let It Go,” played by an ensemble of three koto, is one of the most gorgeous things you’ll ever hear.
There’s also a cover of the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu song “Ninja Re Bang Bang” that captures the original’s playfulness while simultaneously sounding almost elegant.
Finally, we have this delightful koto-only version of the vocaloid classic “Senbonzakura.” We’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s better with or without Hatsune Miku singing.
If you need more music featuring Japan’s national instrument, be sure to check out this cover of “Telephone,” the 2013 song by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.