Kaoru Ishibashi, known better as Kishi Bashi, released Omoiyari, his fourth full-length studio album, via Joyful Noise Recordings earlier this year. The violinist is on tour with a visit to the Lincoln Theatre in DC on Friday, Nov. 8.
Many of the songs on Omoiyari were initially inspired by history and oppression, and Kishi Bashi deftly weaves tales of love, loss, and wanting to connect listeners to the past. Channeling the hard-learned lessons of history, Omoiyari is an uncompromising musical statement on the turbulent sociopolitical atmosphere of present-day America.
“I was shocked when I saw white supremacy really starting to show its teeth again in America,“ Kishi Bashi said. “My parents are immigrants, they came to the United States from Japan post–World War II. As a minority I felt very insecure for the first time in my adult life in this country. I think that was the real trigger for this project.”
Watch the official music video for “Violin Tsunami” by Kishi Bashi on YouTube:
In a review for AllMusic, Marcy Donelson assessed the groundwork for the new record: “With his fourth album, the self-produced Omoiyari, Ishibashi tweaks his palette again, settling into a lush, orchestral folk created with contributions from guests including touring bandmembers Nick Ogawa (aka Takénobu) on cello and Mike Savino (aka Tall Tall Trees) on banjo and bass.”
She added, “Given the solemn nature of the album’s inspirations, Omoiyari’s songs are surprisingly sweet and often playful, if also poignant.”