Japanese singer and cellist Kanon Wakeshima, who plays convention AM2 in Anaheim this weekend, is an anime fan. She watches “all kinds of anime” she said in a recent email interview with LA Weekly. And anime has been good for Wakeshima. Her first two singles– “Still Doll” and “Suna no Oshiro”– appeared in Vampire Knight, the extremely popular vampire saga. Anime was also the common ground between her and her partner for her latest project, kanon x kanon, which brings together Wakeshima and An Cafe bassist Kanon (one name only).
“Honestly, the project started just because we had the same name,” says Wakeshima.
Then they realized that they were both anime fans. Kanon of An Cafe has long had a reputation as a rock n' roll champion of otaku culture.
The two Kanons– one female, one male– billed their project as a “collaboration unit for anime song by two of the anime fans.” Their single “Calendula Requiem” was used in the series Shiki. An Cafe Kanon composes and arranges the songs. Wakeshima writes lyrics and provides vocals.
Wakeshima notes that their differing talents allows them to be “free to create whatever we want to create.”
Wakeshima, who first came onto the scene as a protoge of Japanese superstar Mana (Malice Mizer, Moi dix Mois) had already gained strong followings both within the anime community and the Lolita community. Back in 2009, she made her L.A. debut at Royal/T, the Culver City maid cafe/art gallery that has often hosted Lolita and other Japanese pop culture related events. Wakeshima drew a large crowd, with scores of young women dressed in their finest Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Angelic Pretty outfits waiting in line in the blazing summer heat. That night, Wakeshima played a short set and showed off her illustration work.
“Having an interest in visual art helps me with conveying the image of my music,” says Wakeshima, who is known for her striking old-fashioned-meets-modern gothic looks.
At that time, Wakeshima only had one album to her credit, Shinshoku Dolce. Since then, she has released her second full-length, Lolita Libretto, an eclectic mix of pop and rock sounds linked together by Wakeshima's sweet voice and cello work. Thematically, the album focuses on “a young girl– the girl and her alter ego,” says Wakeshima.
On her latest trip to L.A., Wakeshima will be playing both a solo set and one as half of kanon x kanon. The performance is Saturday afternoon at 3:30. A panel discussion with kanon x kanon will take place today at 1:30.