“Dream” from recent demos
1. Charleston probably knows her best as half of the experimental musical act Manniquin, but artist, singer, and musician Yukari Yucca is officially solo these days. “The Yukari Yucca Project is a brand-new hybrid of multimedia and culture,” she says.
2. Yucca was born in Japan and grew up in Ogaki, located in Honshu. In the early 2000s, after working in theatre in Tokyo, she decided to travel and experiment with music and visual arts in America. “My five years experience in U.S. made me realize how different our culture and common sense are. I want to give others an idea of what my background was like. I developed my first show in 2005 for the Sawaguzo Japanese culture festival held by the College of Charleston and Redux Contemporary Art studio.”
3. On stage, she usually arms herself with toy pianos, sleigh bells, tambourines, prerecorded tracks, and stringed instruments. She regularly plays a shamisen, but hers is in need of major repair these days. “It kind of sounds like a banjo, but a lot louder.”
4. She incorporates old into new. “I hope to educate the public about the world they live in through the use of traditional Japanese songs and new, more familiar music,” she says. “I hope all involved can walk away with a freshened perspective of different cultures.”
5. She performed a project titled Peach Boy, in front of large crowds last week at the big Atlanta Japan Fest 2007 — an annual celebration of food, sumo, music, and culture (www.japanfest.org). “It’s Japanese things everywhere!”
6. The 40 minutes of animation in Peach Boy — all of which will be projected onto a large screen at Cumberland’s — is strange and low budget but illustrates a classic tale of good versus evil. Based on a Japanese fairy tale, it follows a young hero named Momotaro (born from a giant peach), as he battles monsters, devils, and beasts in a quest to save his friend, Mari, and bring treasure back to his family. “I’m usually on the projector side of the screen, so my shadow is on the screen, as if it’s its own character,” says Yucca.
7. The music in the soundtrack is a mix of ethereal vocal pop, trio-hop, and electronic dance. It sounds like Yucca samples the drum intro from E.L.O.’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” at one point.
8. Yucca’s performances feature a mix of Asian and American music. “Some songs are original and some songs are old traditionals,” she says. “With Peach Boy, I rearranged some of the songs that people know in Japan. It has an element of comedy and humor — things that might make people laugh many times.”
9. This is Peach Boy‘s last stand in Charleston. “I don’t have plans to play this show for a while after this show in Charleston. If you missed previous shows, catch this one!”
10. Performing with Yucca on Thursday night are two experimental acts. Myrtle Beach-based Electric Bird Noise is a loop-pedal project led by guitarist Brian McKenzie (of Something About Vampires and Snakes). Remora, from Raleigh, N.C., is an atmospheric guitar/noise project led by Brian John Mitchell. Check out www.myspace.com/electricbirdnoise and www.silbermedia.com/remora for more.