Yoshihiro Arita: From BanjoTo Django

My friend and flatpicker extraordinaire Betsy Rome shared this video with us at our facebook page and writes the following:

“My friend Yoshihiro Arita in Japan. Japanese fire!”

Thanks Betsy- BTW, see that your Too Blue band is tearing it up!

I’ve always known Yoshihiro Arita as being a great banjo player so,  it was quite the departure to see and hear him playing Djanjo Jazz- but you know, if you heard him on banjo it really shouldn’t be that much of a shock- he’s a marvelous musician and music does transfer over to other instruments.

You can hear the crowd really getting into Yoshihoro’s performance…
Perhaps some of the greatest enthusiastic fans of acoustic music that I have ever seen.

Back about 1995 or 6, I toured Japan with Vassar Clements and found out two things…

Don’t eat American style food and be prepared to play for the most enthusiastic audiences ever!

The folks went crazy,  and the parties went long into the night after the show. I can’t even tell you how awesome it was to meet such nice people that we’re not only knowledgeable about the music, but played as well! Lots of great jams!

Yoshihiro Arita is a hero in Japan, but really made a lot of serious waves in the USA.

Here’s his Bio:

“Arita was born in Osaka, Japan in 1957. 
At the age of 16, he started playing bluegrass banjo.
From 1984 through 1991, Arita resided in the United States. 
While studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, 
he was active not only in jazz and classical area but also 
various kinds of music scene, such as Irish, old time, Klezzmer. 

Arita won the first place at the National Banjo Championship 
at Winfield, Kansas in 1985, and Galax Fiddlers’ Convention in 1997.
He formed a progressive acoustic group “Off Center” 
with a mandolin/guitar virtuoso, John McGann.
Also he played with a bluegrass band “Boston City Limits”.
As a part of the group, he toured in Europe in 1985 and 1987.
During his U.S. years, Arita performed with Bill Grant & Delia Bell, 
Bela Fleck, David Grisman, and Fiddle Fever, among others.

In 1992, after coming back to Japan, Arita released his first solo CD 
“Whale Dance” featuring eclectic original banjo and guitar tunes.
He was invited as a faculty member to “Tennessee Banjo Institute 1992”,
the world-largest banjo summit.
Presently he has been actively involved in studio recording projects 
and live performances around Tokyo.” see more


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