You may be familiar with NHK World Blends, a program that introduces audiences to traditional Japanese instruments by having talented performers cover popular songs in an impressive "East meets West" mashups, especially after their splendid take on "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson took the internet by storm. While the program is loaded with fascinating renditions of classic hits by Japanese musicians, a recent cover of "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses on traditional Japanese instruments has emerged as an awesome standout!

The talented trio consists of Yoshimi Tsujimoto on the shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute), Erina Ito on the koto, and Yuko Watabe on the Jūshichi-gen, or 17-string koto. Tsujimoto is an accomplished professional shakuhachi player, who is part of different performing groups, including one with Ito and another band that features the shamisen.

Delicate precision on the koto.


Source: YouTube

Tsujimoto tours often, and live performance information can be found at her website.


Source: YouTube

This of course, is just one of the beautiful performances featured on Blends. A quick YouTube or Google search of NHK World Blends will yield few more interesting East-meets-West covers, including "Stairway to Heaven" and the James Bond theme.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.