With a couple of US tours and a UK tour in support of Superorganism under their belts, it might be time for us to include the “NEO Cute” Nagoya girls group CHAI in our rotation. Led by identical twins Mana and Kana, the group play grooves like they were offering the latest New Wave cheer. “CHOOSE GO!” switches from legitimate 80s grooves to noisy trash accented with swirling keyboard pads. CHAI play with a variety of skits like the high school girls dribbling a basketball, an American football team looking for their next first down, and the cheerleaders on the sideline of their own team. At the base of “CHOOSE GO!” is great vocal harmonies from those twins on an memorable, upbeat melody. No, CHAI is not an idol offering, but they will offer to be your idols anyways. Definitely a must listen for those looking for some quirky bands from Japan with decent exposure in the Western market. CHAI’s second album “PUNK” goes on sale February 13, 2019.
Chai (stylized as CHAI) are a four member all-female band from Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Forming in 2012, the band released their debut studio album Pink in 2017. Chai was formed in 2012 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, by twin sisters Mana and Kana, alongside Yuna and Yuki. Mana, Kana, and Yuna are all from Nagoya, and were in the same class at high school. The three were members of the light music club at their high school, performing covers of musicians such as Tokyo Jihen and Aiko. Yuna introduced the other band members to Japanese music that did not easily fit into the traditional definition of “J-Pop”, such as the band Cero or Kimyō Reitaro. After the girls graduated and went to university, Mana became friends with Yuki (originally from Gifu Prefecture, who had moved to Nagoya), and asked the four friends to form a band. The band’s name comes from Russian tea (known as chai). Kana drank the tea with jam with her Russian literature professor at a Russian restaurant, which she thought was cute. At first, Chai performed mostly around Aichi Prefecture, but eventually moved to playing venues around Tokyo. CHAI started releasing singles independently in 2013, and held a tour of central Japan in the summer holidays. Their first large concert was performed at Zepp Nagoya, when the band were finalists in a college band competition. CHAI’s current lineup includes Kana (guitar & vocals), Mana (keyboards and vocals), Yuki (bass), and Yuna (drums).
More CHAI coverage from New School Kaidan
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