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Kazha comes to Boulder on June 22

Los Angeles-formed Japanese band makes final leg in inaugural U.S. tour at Rock N Soul Cafe

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Kazuha Oda, of Kazha, poses in this undated promotional photo. The band will perform at 7:30 p.m. on June 22 at the Rock N Soul Cafe in Boulder.

Kahza at Rock N Soul Cafe
Tuesday, June 22
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Rock N Soul Cafe, 5290 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 80303
Cost: $8/advance; $10/at the door [buy tickets]


Kazha's official MySpace page

Kazuha Oda may have sang pop music, but rock is in her blood.


Oda was a solo pop artist in Japan during the first half of this past decade and released four albums through the course of her career. But having been a fan of groups such as Van Halen, Green Day and The Smashing Pumpkins growing up, she had to answer the true sound residing inside her.


"When I started singing when I was a little kid, I wanted to be a rock singer," she said. " ... For some reason, because my parents told me if I wanted to become a singer, I should learn from the beginning, so I took classic lessons.


"I just went to classic and pop, but actually I wanted to become a rock singer."


Now with the rock band Kazha – whose moniker takes from her name – the group embarked on its first cross-country tour in May. The last leg will be at 7:30 p.m. on June 22 at the Rock N Soul Cafe in Boulder.


The band's sound is predominantly rock, mixing Oda's sweet vocals with Hideki Matsushige's guitar riffs, Yota Sato's bass lines and drummer Rui Aranai's rhythms. A unique aspect of the band's music is its transition between English to Japanese in their songs. Oda said that while some of the lyrics needed to be in Japanese, she wanted to appeal to a more global audience with the use of English.


The group formed in 2008 in Los Angeles when Oda and Matsushige – who had both been in a metal band at the time – decided to start their own project.


"We wanted to start a new band because the music style wasn't what we were thinking about," she said.


They teamed with bassist Zen Takamura, and traveled to Japan to find Aranai to complete the band. Sato would later replace Takamura because of health reasons.


The members' eclectic musical backgrounds – from Matsushige's love of rock and fusion to Rui's R&B and jazz – lent to different genre variations on certain songs off their debut album, Overture.


"Our performance has a unique style because everyone is from different genres," Oda said. "So the way they play or perform is really different from each other."


Making the long trek from Los Angeles to the east coast and back is tiring, Oda admits, but she said it is a fun way to explore the country. She added that this is her first trip to Colorado, but the group will return to play at Nan Desu Kan in Sept. 10.


"Sometimes it's exhausting," Oda said about the tour. "We could get really tired sometimes and we just have to perform. And right after the performance, we just have to drive, sometimes 24 hours or more.


"We are having a great time because most of the states, we have never been in. ... It's a great adventure for us."

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