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Friday, Jan. 12, 2007

LISTENING POST

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Afrirampo


'We get our influences from food -- cucumbers, carrots and spring onions and rosemary." If Afrirampo's supposed musical inspiration seems a bit bland, their tracks certainly are not.

News photo
Afrirampo JOHN HARTE PHOTO

On Jan. 14, the duo plays the final day of the three-day Enban Jamboree 6, held by the cult Koenji record shop of the same name.

Born from the avant-garde Osaka music scene, the self-proclaimed "naked soul rock" band are Pika on drums and Oni on guitar, two high-school friends who decided to team up, because, Oni says, "we had the same smell."

Full of the humor, primal energy and noisiness expected from artists from the Kansai underground, Afrirampo also have the requisite cuteness and are backed with enough legitimate musical talent to keep their music accessible.

Their overseas popularity can be credited to their powerful live shows and the thirst for new, interesting sounds coming from Japan post-Boredoms and Masonna, the noise-music project of Maso Yamazaki. Catching up with the duo in Osaka fresh from their Dec. 8 performance at New York City's prestigious Japan Society -- in which their mothers also participated -- the duo conceded to The Japan Times that they are a product of their environment. As Oni says, "Osaka is the culture of laughter." Pika adds, "Everyone is friends, like, 'Let's get together and have fun.' There's no need to keep up appearances, just be crazy."

Somewhere along the line, their love of fun sent them circling around the globe, from their mission to find musical -- and life -- influences in places such as Cameroon to sharing a U.K. stage with Yoko Ono at the "All Tomorrow's Parties" festival curated by Vincent Gallo in 2005.

Wanting to "take a break," the duo are looking to slow things down in 2007 and refocus. Oni says, "Up until now we were pretty raucous, but now I want to sing beautiful songs."

Enban Jamboree 6 takes place Jan. 12-14 at Shibuya O-Nest, Tokyo. Afrirampo plays Jan. 14 with Shugo Tokumaru, Panic Smile, ECD and more; the event starts from 7 p.m. on Jan. 12, 5 p.m. on Jan. 13-14. Among the other artists performing over the weekend are Noshinto, Midori and Oshirimondai (members of Oshiri Penpens and Nisennnenmondai). Day tickets are 2,000 yen in advance (2,500 yen at the door), excluding drink charge. Three-day tickets are 5,000 yen. For more information, call (03) 3462-4420 or visit www.enban.org (Japanese only).


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