They might seem a little on the young side for a career retrospective, but in their relatively short professional lives, the Yoshida Brothers have had quite an impact on the modern music landscape. The Hokkaido-born brothers Ryoichiro and Kenichi Yoshida have become recognized masters of their signature instrument, the tsugaru-shamisen. Originating in China in the 16th Century, the three-stringed instrument found its way to Japan through traveling folk musicians and became an integral element of Japanese classical music. The Yoshida Brothers have now taken the tsugaru-shamisen further than any other modern musician, practically reinventing its sound, leading to a musical style both firmly rooted in the traditions of the past and boldly looking forward to the future.
Their new "Best Of" release from Domo Records showcases their rich and varied playing styles, their ability to effortlessly traverse between genres and also to make one of the world's oldest instruments sound brand-new. The disc features cuts from several of their landmark albums, including Hishou, III, and Yoshida Brothers, Vol. 2. One of the album's stand-out tracks is probably also one of the most widely-known, "Kodo (Inside the Sun Remix)", has been featured for the past several years in a Nintendo Wii commercial. It has aired all around the world, turning on a whole new set of listeners to the sound of the Yoshida Brothers.
This collection serves as a prime introduction to first-time listeners, as well as an invaluable document for long-time fans and completists. The title of this collection is no doubt misleading, however, as the best is surely yet to come.