Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet Jero

Or Jerome, as his mama calls him. This guy is a 27-year old American from Pittsburgh. He's Japan's first, and as for as I know, only enka singer. His maternal grandmother was Japanese and he grew up listening to enka and singing with her and he speaks Japanese fluently. His maternal grandfather and his father are black.

Enka is kind of like the Japanese equivalent to country music/folk songs, it's a very traditional genre and the songs are very melodramatic, most popular singers (and their fans) are in the 'over 50' crowd.

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I love the shock and surprise of the panel as Jero starts to sing. Obviously they weren't expecting him to start belting out enka!

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The above clip is first time I'd ever heard of Jero on, we'd only been in Japan about 4 mths. I seriously thought it was a joke, some kind of weird Japanese comedy show. Turns out, he's for real! And I love him! Even as a fan, I readily admit that seeing this young, BLACK, American hip-hop kid singing enka looks more than a little absurd, and it took me awhile to come around, but now that I've seen and heard so much about him, including some American and Japanese biography-type shows about him, I really like the guy and have come to really enjoy his talent.

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However, now he's added hip hop dancers to his performances, and the absurdity factor is off the charts again. Seriously, it's the equivalent of adding hip hop dancers to a John Denver song. But I still really like him.

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For comparison, here's a traditional enka singer:


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7 comments:

Sara said...

i like him too!
lol at the hip hop dancers though!

Slime said...

That was a fast comment! I was still editing the post! LOL

I wish Jero had an English website, I'd love to know more about him, and when and where he's appearing or performing.

Katy said...

and his Japanese is so god damn polite! I couldn't get the pics or vids on the blog but look forward to seeing the hip hop enka on TV!!

Gina said...

Our family really likes him too! He's really talented!!!

Slime said...

I watched a Japanese show about him the other night, even though I could only understand about 3% of what was being said, it was really evident and I was really touched by how much love and respect he has for his grandmother.

I love a man who loves his grandma!

Robin Vistnes said...

It's like seeing someone sing opera while dancing the samba!

tokyo5 said...

I wrote about Jero last May.

Here:
http://tokyo5.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/jero/