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The Boundary Breaking Orchestral Pop of Kishi Bashi

Gabriella Bulgarelli

Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist Kaoru Ishibashi began classical violin training at around seven-years-old. After a brief stint as a metalhead in high school, Ishibashi tried his hand at electrical engineering at Cornell University, but found himself dedicating more time to his rock band than his textbooks. He ended up graduating from the Berklee College of Music with a degree in film scoring. 

Now a father, with various bands and projects behind him, Ishibashi is composing captivating, mercurial melodies under the name Kishi Bashi.The singer-songwriter is always experimenting – turning his beatboxing into deep, complex loops, playing funky bass riffs, and experimenting with synthesizers – all while running his bow along the line between popular and classical music.

As touring winds down for his 2016 album “Sonderlust,” Ishibashi is at work on his next piece: a film that explores Japanese internment during World War II and the role of empathy and education in driving social change.

Guest host Anita Rao talks to Ishibashi about his film project and how his music has evolved over time. He performs with ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Gabby received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Interactive Multimedia Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill, class of 2018. She the founder and director of WXYC 89.3fm's hip-hop specialty show, Free Samples, which airs on Thursdays from 5-7pm.
Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist, host, creator, and executive editor of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health.
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