Search This Blog & Get A Rife

Friday, January 8, 2016

Japan's Teen Drummer Sensation - Kawaguchi Senri

Never in a a million years could I ever be accused of hyperbole, but just the other day I was searching the Internet for one-hit music wonders, and then went down the proverbial rabbit hole and for some reason ended up leering at a video showing the hottest female Asian drummers.

Now, in this case, I was fooled. They actually meant hot as in musical talent.

Non-plussed (which actually means 'I'm so confused I didn't know how to react')… so actually, I guess I was plussed, I watched the video.

Contained within the video was a sample of work from Japanese drummer Kawaguchi Senri (川口千里 - surname first), an attractive young woman from Nagoya-shi, Aichi-ken… who turns 19 today, January 8.

She is bloody good. Here… see and hear for yourself:

Kawaguchi began playing the drums when she was five. I did the same, but played the just slightly less cool accordion. I still cringe whenever I hear a polka. Unfortunately (?) my Bellini accordion was destroyed in my house fire 10 years ago.

When she was eight-years-old, she began studying under a famous Japanese drum master named Suganuma Kozo (surname first) . If you don't know who he is, don't worry, international musicians do. He is a jazz drummer—so you know he's tight—and he's known as the King Of Many Strokes.

There are many ways of looking at his kingly name. I leave that to you and your dirty, unhealthy minds.

Anyhow… Kawaguchi took to her training like a child prodigy to whatever it is the child is prodigious about.

As such, by the time she was 10, she had won a few drumming awards from Rhythm & Drums Magazine and even appeared on a few Japanese variety television programs.

Here's a video from when she was 11:

It's kickass.

In 2009, she began performing live performances with the jazz fusion band Fragile, which isn't so surprising considering that was her teacher's band.

She also released her first DVD, Horoscope in 2009.

I'm pretty sure that's her teacher Suganuma smiling at the right of the drum kit.

In 2015 she performed at the at the "Rock au Chateau" Festival in France.

Here's a performance Kawaguchi set from when she was 16:

Holy sheep-dip!

I don't know how to effectively judge whether or not anyone is a good or great drummer. She keeps the beat… that's what I know. Plus she has speed, keeps it clean, and is able to use more than just a bass, snare and cymbal.

She's getting up into that rarefied air where the drumming gods live… like Buddy Rich, Neal Peart, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Sheila E., and Max Roach.

Sheila E. actually impresses me the most - not only is she playing a a quick, tight beat, but she sang and swung her hips around. See her live performance from 1985 doing The Glamorous Life: ... or check her out playing a more standard drum set: She's awesome.

No video for you to click directly on, but the address is present, as I didn't wish to detract from Kawaguchi.

For those that care, she endorses (and uses): YAMAHA drums, Zildjian cymbals and drumsticks.

And besides only having enough coordination to paradiddle and to play all brass, woodwinds and keyboards, along with strings, percussion was one of those things I just couldn't wrap my head around.

Anyhow… Kawaguchi is 19… and she's been performing for about seven years… her best performances are ahead of her.

Holy crap... the amount of effort in these drum sets... why isn't she sweating or glowing or whatever the hell it is that women do?

I still wish I could play drums rather than just beat off.

Andrew "I've got blisters on my fingers" Joseph


  1. What a talent! So much fun to watch and listen. (Loved Shiela E. too! Doesn't seem like that long ago...)

    1. Strange... it doesn't seem that long ago to me, either... but now Bowie has passed.

    2. "Planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do." :( RIP Ziggy and keep doing your own thing in the next realm.

    3. Let's dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues...