Geinoh Yamashirogumi (Japanese: 芸能山城組 Hepburn: Geinō Yamashirogumi) is a Japanese musical collective founded on January 19, 1974 by Tsutomu Ōhashi, consisting of hundreds of people from all walks of life: journalists, doctors, engineers, students, businessmen, etc.
They are known for both their faithful re-creations of folk music from around the world, as well as their fusion of various traditional musical styles with modern instrumentation and synthesizers. For example, in the 1980s, MIDI digital synthesizers could not handle the tuning systems of traditional gamelan music, so the group had to teach themselves how to program in order to modify their equipment. The album that followed, Ecophony Rinne (1986) was a new direction for the group: they had not previously incorporated computer-generated sounds into their work. The success of this album brought them to the attention of Katsuhiro Ōtomo, who commissioned them to create the soundtrack of Akira. The soundtrack is built on the concept of recurrent themes or "modules". Texturally, the soundtrack is a mix of digital synthesizers (Roland D-50 and Yamaha DX7-II, both of which could, by then, be tuned to the Pure-Minor, slendro, and pelog tuning scales), Indonesian chromatic percussion (jegog, etc.), traditional Japanese theatrical and spiritual music (Noh), European classical, and progressive rock.
Geinoh Yamashirogumi has reproduced over eighty different styles of traditional music and performances from around the world, but despite having performed internationally to a high degree of critical acclaim, they remain relatively unknown.
The group's name uses Ōhashi's pseudonym, Shoji Yamashiro, and translates roughly to "Performing Yamashiro Collective". Ōhashi took his inspiration from a postwar 1950s group of similar characters that lived as a commune.
- Osorezan / Do No Kenbai (1976)
- Chi no Hibiki: Geinoh Yamashirogumi Tō-Yōroppa wo Utau (Reverberation Of Earth) (1976)
- Yamato Gensho (1977)
- Ougonrin Sanyo (Exultant Pisces in Cantics Nostris) (1978)
- Shonentachi Eno Chikyu Sanka (In Praise Of Earth‚ To Boys) (1979)
- Selections From Folk Music On Silkroad (1981)
- Selections From African Folk Music (1982)
- Ecophony Rinne (1986)
- Ecophony Gaia (1990)
- Akira: Original Soundtrack (1988)
- Geinoh Yamashirogumi Live (1978)
- Akira Sound Clip (1991) Laserdisc/DVD Reissue (Making of the soundtrack of the anime)
- Nyumon (1994)
- Bithell, C.; Hill, J. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Music Revival. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford University Press. p. 583. ISBN 978-0-19-938492-1. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
Of these, the majority had been established in the mid-1990s, although Geinoh Yamashirogumi—the first known foreign ensemble to adopt Georgian songs into its repertoire—had been active since 1974.
- Goldmark, D.; Taylor, Y.; Maltin, L. (2002). The Cartoon Music Book. Chicago Review Press, Incorporated. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-56976-412-1. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
The Akira soundtrack, constructed by Shoji Yamashira and performed by the group Geinoh Yamashirogumi, slides through musical cultures and knits them together with the easy grace of Toru Takemitsu.
- (in Japanese) Geinoh Yamashirogumi's website