Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature the works of a ‘non-Latin’ artist via song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
Latin music has been present in Japan since the early 20th century. After WWII, this presence expanded: tangos, rumbas, trios and salsa made their way into the hearts and bodies of the Japanese. Orquesta de la Luz is a great example of the success of Latin American music in that corner of the world. Formed in 1990, the band sings salsa in Spanish and has become well known in the Caribbean, Peru, Mexico and other countries in this side of the planet.
If salsa, Luis Miguel, and Armando Manzanero made it, it was only a matter of time before the influence of Latin rock started to be felt in Japan. And it did. EKD is only one of the bands that make up the growing scene of Japanese Latin influenced groups who formed in 2006-2007. They had a larger line-up back then, but they soon became a trio comprised by EKD, who sings and plays guitar, Saudi, the DJ, and Peach Iwasaki in percussion. They have released three albums: Para Todos Todo (2007), Fantasma (2009), and Bon Voyage, their latest album (2011). Bon Voyage features many instrumental tracks, as well as songs with very appealing titles, such as “Cumbia del Inmigrante” and “Adios Babilonia” – available on .
EKD have toured Japan on several occasions, and they have opened for artists such as Manu Chao. Last year, they performed at the Fuji Rock Festival, which is really big in Japan –this year’s alignment features Radiohead and The Stone Roses. They have also performed in several venues in Europe, but they’re still struggling to get their message of mestizaje between Japanese attitude and Latin rhythm. From their second album, here’s “Rain On the Babel” –enjoy.