Just ‘Cause: “Smooth Criminal” Played With Traditional Japanese Instruments

I think we’ve all been there. Think back to your high school band years, you get on your bus after the last period of the day, sit down and aimlessly watch the route pass by. Before you know it, you’re halfway home and realize you left your instrument by your locker! Your Mom is gonna KILL you when she finds out that you came home without your shakuhachi. What if it’s damaged by some punk kids? Or worse yet… stolen?!

Oh wait, what’s that? You never played the shakuhachi? OK, it’s not as ubiquitous among musicians, but surely you had some koto lessons when you were younger? No? Ok – fair enough; most people in this hemisphere and century don’t have much experience with either traditional instrument, which makes the following clip all the more fun.

At the very least, I hope you’re familiar with Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. Because Yoshimi Tsujimoto, a world class professional shakuhachi player, uses her musical weapon of choice with the accompaniment of the koto to do a pretty frigg’n cool rendition of the pop classic. We’ve seen other traditional-turned-contemporary covers in the past in this style, and I love em every time.

Why? Just ‘Cause.


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