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The Japanese Alice in Wonderland – Kanon Wakeshima

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Japanese singer and songwriter Kanon Wakeshima is truly different from other artists in Japan. She seems like a doll in her ruffled white dress when she walks onto the stage and seems so small compared to her cello.

The cello is what makes her music stand out from other artists in the J-Pop music scene. Her music can be described as Pop music which is inspired by classical music and heavily dominated by her cello – playing.

Kanon Wakeshima started playing the cello at the age of three. In fact, her music – loving parents decided even before she was born, that she should learn to play the cello. They gave her a very unusual name – Kanon, and hoped that their daughter would share their love for music when she grows up. During her childhood, she often struggled with the instrument and even thought about abandoning it. Luckily, she had a great teacher who inspired her to continue playing the cello.

Her musical career started, when she was discovered at an audition held by Sony Music Japan. The label was looking for young artists at the time, so Kanon sent in a tape in which she sang while playing the cello. She was original enough to spark the interest of Japanese musician and designer Mana who was most famous for being the leader and guitarist of the visual kei rock band Malice Mizer. Mana took Kanon under his wing and started to produce her.

Some of her songs like “Skip Turn Step” are very clearly inspired by baroque music. Kanon started being interested in baroque music when she was in college where she joined a group that played baroque music and regularly performed in church.

“Skip Turn Step” is a relatively happy song compared to other song on her albums. In the song “Suna no Oshiro” which means “Castle of Sand” in Japanese, Kanon whispers barely audible words to the eerie music and the accompaniment of her cello. The music video of “Still Doll” resembles a dark version of “Alice in Wonderland”. Both of the songs were used as ending songs for the popular Japanese animation series “Vampire Knight”.

Another thing that sets Kanon apart from other artists is her unique clothing style. On stage she often wears beautiful dresses which were designed by Mana himself. Her fashion style is known as “Lolita” fashion in Japan, a style, that consists of wearing petticoats and cute dresses and which aims at achieving a doll – like look.

Kanon launched her first album Shinshoku Dolce, on February 11, 2009 and is now working on her fourth studio album.

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Jenny Bui

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