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Thursday, June 19, 2008


Shiina Ringo at the Rising Sun Rock Festival

Shiina Ringo Rising Sun Festival

At the turn of the noughties, there was J-Pop and then there was Shiina Ringo. Starting as Japan's answer to Alanis Morissette, the Fukuokan songstress blazed an idiosyncratic path through the charts that saw her embrace garage rock, electronica, jazz and classical music. Then in 2003, she threw her biggest curveball yet: ditching her solo career to form the relatively workaday Tokyo Jihen (who play at Rising Sun in addition to a solo show from Ringo) with her backing band. Now back to her old tricks, Ringo provided the soundtrack to photographer Mika Ninagawa's period romp "Sakuran" last year. Don't miss one of Japan's most inventive female performers.

Also check out: The Japanese-only bill includes '90s dance titans Denki Groove, psychedelic rockers Yura Yura Teikoku, rising new-wave stars Vola & The Oriental Machine, ska-punks Shakalabbits and veteran singer Kiyoshiro Imawano.

The setting: Japan's northernmost music festival makes even Earth Celebration seem accessible by comparison. Enjoy the cool Hokkaido summer as you watch bands from the campsite.

When/where: Aug. 15-16; Tarukawa Wharf, Ishikari Bay New Port, Hokkaido. Take the Namboku subway line from Sapporo to Asabu Station, then a shuttle bus from there (¥600 each way). Two-day tickets ¥14,000; one-day tickets ¥7,000 (Friday) and ¥9,000 (Saturday). rsr.wess.co.jp/2008

Summer festival highlights

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