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Kan Mikami

When the Japanese reveal their affinity for the music of America, it is usually in the highly ordered music of jazz or techno. Kan Mikami, on the other hand, takes much of his inspiration from the school of singer/songwriters and blues vocalists. From the rural district of Tsugaru, Mikami's parched voice and plaintive electric guitar (sometimes the only backing) reveals the true spirit of the blues, even though he sings in Japanese. Of course, comparisons to Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf are just as far from the truth as Bertolt Brecht or Jacques Brel, but the guitarist weaves elements of all three to create an undeniably unique style. Quite popular in his native country during the 1970s, Mikami endured quite a dry period during the following decade, but came back on the predominantly noise-oriented PSF Records. Beginning with 1989's I'm the Only One Around, he released eight albums during the next ten years and gained respect from another generation of Japanese youth. Mikami also plays in the group Vajra with guitarist Keiji Haino and drummer Toshiaki Ishizuka. ~ John Bush
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