The uke community obviously has a big love for woolen puppets. Last year it was Rod Thomas’s sock puppets and this year’s winner is the adorable Japanese duo U900.
It’s a deserving winner and I caught up with U900’s human representative Yosuke Kihara to learn more about them.
What’s the history of U900?
Rabbit U was knocked out by The Ventures guitar sound and wanted to be a guitar hero. But guitars were too big for his body and he had to give up his dream.
Then he started making a trip to find what he wants to be. On its way in Hawaii, he found a ukulele and decided to play this instrument.
After coming back to Japan he’s got a fateful encounter
—- one day in a park of Tokyo he met a guy playing the ukulele
—- it was Bear 900 who also picked up a ukulele for the same reason.
The two guys have got good vibes each other and started a ukulele band U900.
Usagi-no U (Rabbit U)
– Lead vocal & Ukulele
– Character: Cheerful and like to be eye-catchy. Quite indifferent about things but easily moved to tears on the other hand.
– Favorites: latest hit pops (a fan of Beyonce nowadays), carrot juice, dancing, playing tricks.
Kuma-no Kulele (Bear 900)
-Vocal, keyboards & others
-Character: not talkative and looks absent-minded, but well organized in fact.
Good at caring people and making things.
-Favorites: progressive rock & fusion, toast with honey, practicing instruments, taking a nap.
Who is it playing the ukulele on the tracks?
U900 themselves are playing as you see on the video.
(Like other people such as Micky Mouse plays instruments!)
What is it about the Ventures that appeals to you so much?
The Ventures is the first musician who turned us on and lead us to music. But of course we like many of other overseas artists & music.
Your obviously a very talented animator, what’s your background?
I’m a professional illustrator & animator and creating characters and those animations for books, TV programs, etc. And I make video games, too, like this : RIBBIT KING
And of course I make amigurumi (soft toys) by knitting !
Will you be releasing your stuff in the US and Europe? Will we be able to get it on iTunes in the future?
We’d love to introduce U900 and if any one is interested in releasing their album please contact our Japanese label, Pony Canyon.
What can we expect to see and hear from U900 in the future?
U900 has released 2 CDs so far and another album will be out thie year. And new video for Web like YouTube is under planning. I’m pleasing that U900 wins The Ukulele Video Of The Year!
Hope our music will be reached people all over the world.