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Akitsugu Kawamoto

American hip-hop group. It was formed in 1995 in Los Angeles by will.i.am (William James Adams, Jr.; b Inglewood, CA, 15 March 1975; rapping, vocals, various instruments), apl.de.ap (Allan Pineda Lindo, Jr.; b Angeles City, Philippines, 28 November 1975; rapping, drums), and Taboo (Jaime Luis Gómez; b Los Angeles, CA, 14 July 1975; rapping, keyboard). The group grew out of Atban Klann (1991–5), a Los Angeles-based group signed for a time to Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records. The Black Eyed Peas developed an approach that fused elements of global pop, jazz-rock, funk, soul, noise music, and a variety of hip-hop styles. Initially considered somewhat of an underground phenomenon, the Black Eyed Peas achieved worldwide commercial success after being joined by Fergie (Stacy Ann Ferguson; b Hacienda Heights, CA, 27 March 1975; rapping, vocals) in 2003. The group’s third and fourth albums, Elephunk (2003) and Monkey Business (2005...

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Loren Kajikawa

Jazz fusion group. Founded in 1974 by the multi-instrumentalist Dan Kuramoto and the koto player June Okida Kuramoto, Hiroshima took its name from one of two Japanese cities to suffer atomic attack during World War II. It consists of third-generation Japanese Americans and first rose to popularity in the late 1970s amid the Asian American movement, which also provided the impetus for the development of Asian American jazz. Hiroshima’s early sound mixed Japanese instrumentation, notably koto and bamboo flutes, with a blend of electric jazz, funk, and disco soul. In addition to playing a variety of saxophones, flutes, and keyboards, Dan Kuramoto has served as the group’s main arranger and songwriter.

Although Hiroshima’s membership and style have shifted over the years, its most consistent feature has been June Kuramoto’s virtuosic koto playing. At the age of six, she began lessons with the koto sensei Kazue Kudo. Eventually mastering the instrument’s traditional repertoire, she also developed her own approach to improvising....

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Wendy F. Hsu

Rock band. Formed at Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey, the Hsu-nami is an erhu progressive rock band fronted by Taiwanese American erhu player and composer Jack Hsu. Hsu was classically trained in violin. His erhu training included intensive summer lessons in Nanjing, China. The rest of the group is composed of Tony Aichele (guitar), Brent Bergholm (guitar), Dana Goldberg (keyboard), John Manna (drums), and Derril Sellers (bass). The Hsu-nami integrates an amplified “erhu,” a two-string spike fiddle used in Chinese classical and folk music, into an instrumental progressive rock sound. Their music is marked by virtuosic erhu melodies and shredding solos, in place of vocals, intertwined with heavy guitar riffs, funky rhythms, and metal-driven rock drumming. Part of the new-fusion rock movement, the group recasts the sound of its 1960s and 1970s roots.

The band has played alongside international and major recording artists such as Chthonic, Yellowcard, Bowling for Soup, Nightmare of You, and The Parlor Mob. Their music was also featured during the ...

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J.W. Junker

Rock group. Kalapana are Hawaii’s longest-active rock group, with loyal audiences in Hawaii and Japan. Their instrumentation and lyrics are not specific to Hawaii but their image and overall feeling effectively reflect the zeitgeist of island life. In many regards, the group represents Hawaii’s response to the singer-songwriter and R&B fads of the 1970s. Formed in 1973, Kalapana perform mostly original material full of catchy melodies, strong bass lines, well-crafted bridges, rock-inflected solos, and self-reflexive lyrics or instrumental jams. Founding members were D.J. Pratt (guitar/percussion/vocals), Malani Bilyeu (guitar/bass/vocals), Mackey Feary (guitar/piano/bass/vocals), and Kirk Thompson (keyboards, bass, vocals), joined frequently by Michael Paulo (sax/flute) and Alvin Fejarang (drums). Feary and Bilyeu served as the main songwriters and singers. Early shows at The Toppe Ada Shoppe led to their opening for Cecilio & Kapono and visiting artists. Their self-titled debut album in 1975 was a local sensation, including hits such as “The Hurt,” “Nightbird,” and “Naturally.”...

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KISS  

Michael Ethen

[Kiss]

Rock group. Its foundational lineup comprised bassist Gene Simmons (b Chaim Witz, Haifa, Israel, 25 Aug 1949), guitarist Paul Stanley (b Stanley Harvey Eisen, New York, NY, 20 Jan 1952), drummer Peter Criss (b Peter George John Criscuola, New York, NY, 20 Dec 1945), and lead guitarist Ace Frehley (b Paul Daniel Frehley, New York, NY, 27 April 1951). Core members Simmons and Stanley founded the group in 1972, and embraced Criss and Frehley by early 1973. It is difficult to discount their attempts to shock audiences with grotesquerie, studded black leather, platform boots, and individualized Kabuki-like facial makeup. Their concerts showcased pyrotechnics and hydraulics, theatricalized gore, and wooden choreography in contrast with their appealing, well-crafted power pop sound. Supported by loyal fans (“the KISS Army”), the band endured despite a tortuous personnel record of firings, re-hirings, and willful departures.

Neither of their first two albums with the upstart Casablanca record label was commercially viable. KISS broke through in ...

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Ray Pratt

The Vietnam War period can be dated from the establishment of the US Military Assistance Command in 1963 to the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces in 1975. References to the war and reflections on its meaning in popular music began to reach a wide listenership by 1965. Because millions of Americans were drafted to serve in the US military during the war period, its impact on individuals of military age, their social peers, friends, and families was almost as widespread as that of World War II.

From Johnny Wright’s “Hello, Vietnam” (1965) to Barry Sadler’s “Ballad of the Green Berets” (1966) to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A” (1984), the meaning of the Vietnam War has been contested in American popular music and the larger political culture. Analysis of the ways diverse and divergent publics listened to, heard, or attempted to make meaning from (or through) music of the era depends significantly on perspective and historical context. Empirical study indicates that most listeners do not correctly decipher lyrics; instead, meanings are made by the ...