Monkey Majik – Magic!
Once again my love for all things Japanese led me to another great discovery – – – I found Monkey Majik! What is it? It’s a band, but not just any band ..it’s a Canadian-Japanese hybrid band. I can almost see the question in the faces of most of you.
Monkey Majik is called a hybrid band because it is composed of members from two different races/nationality. First and foremost allow me to clarify that this is a Japanese band – they live and work in Japan and do sing Japanese songs. The band is consist of two Canadian brother, Maynard and Blaise Plant who act the band’s vocalists and guitarist; the other two members are drummer Tax (Takuya Kikuchi) and bassist Dick (Hideki Mori).
Monkey Majik made their first major album release “Thank You” in 2006. The album hit gold standards with 97,000 albums sold during its initial run. “Around the World” reached No. 4 on the Oricon charts and became the theme song to the Japanese television drama, Seiyūki, or Journey to the West. It sold a total of 164,299 copies in Japan, becoming the 62nd most-purchased single of 2006 in the country. (information from Wikipedia)
In just a one year period the band was able to release 3 more albums with their 4th Sora wa Maru de propping them as true Japanese icons. The band continued their success album after album release and in 2009 they were ushered in as Canadian-Japanese Ambassadors in honor of the 80th Anniversary of Friendship between Canada and Japan. With all these successes I’m truly amazed that I have not heard of them until recently but then again the band was successful in Japan and had not as of yet reached that status of being “idols”. Besides, they were serious musicians and professionals but they do not have the studio backing that most idols have.
In 2011, the great Tohoku earthquakes and tsunami hit Japan and devastated Sendai, where the band members maintain their base and still live. In response to this disaster the band members regrouped and then went to help their people with clean-up, restoration, and rescue. Their kind actions were documented by MTV Japan and later broadcast as a part of the band’s “Send愛” (“Send Ai, Send Love”) movement. Later, a concert was held in Sendai under the Send愛 label, benefiting those affected by the Tōhoku disasters, featuring Monkey Majik.
The band, even after mainstream success, is still based in Sendai, located roughly 350 km from Tokyo. This is contrary to the majority of musicians in Japan, who often move to Tokyo after mainstream success.
What is so appealing about this band, aside from their heart, is the unique quality of their music. It’s truly a west meets east sound. And it’s even more wonderful seeing them – it’s like you see this blond Caucasian man singer Japanese songs and you’re amazed at his every word. The Nihongo lyrics were sung so beautiful and the English was just perfect. Plus, I guess I have always been partial to pop music so I love that their songs aren’t noisy or sleep enducing.