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Listen to this: Halcali - The best female hiphop act out of Japan.

Listen to this: Halcali - The best female hiphop act out of Japan.

Halcali's record label do not want you to see their videos.  Not on Youtube or Vimeo anyhow - are they signed exclusively to some other site I don't know?  It sucks because their videos are generally awesome.  I have decent copies of most of them, so I might very well post them up on Youtube and keep them private so they're only available from this page.  In the meantime we'll make do with what we have.

There's a couple of weird exceptions - there's a copy of Roman Hikou on Vimeo that's been there 5 years.  Not the way to build an international audience, Halcali.

Also, their English website hasn't been updated in 4 years and the only proof of them venturing outside of Japan was 8 years ago where they played two conventions in the U.S.  It's bloody weird.  If they don't care about the Western audience, why keep taking everything down?

Anyhow, I still love them.  Watch/listen to this and then I'll tell you their story.

So, I first saw the video for Tandem one weekend at around 1am 20 years ago.  The song is stupidly catchy and the video endlessly inventive.  It stuck in my head, and a year or two later I remember it and try to track it down.

Halcali is a mashing together of the girls' names - Halca (the taller one) and Yacali (shorter and has ADD - you can see her in earlier videos occasionally glancing off-camera at things distracting her, probably the film crew moving around).  

In Japan, nearby, were noted hip-hop oufit Ripslime.  They had an idea for a female fronted act and held auditions.  Put up flyers everywhere.  The two girls, 15 years old at the time, saw posters for it and just went along out of some vague interest.  Of course they get chosen and Tandem gets filmed, released as a single and is a hit.

Ripslime encouraged them in their own writing and choreography and as time went on they started becoming more and more independant.

One of the things I love about them is that, well, firstly they're adorable, but the music takes in so many different influences down the years.  And they're good, really good.

Reggae.

Techno.

Marching bands?

Punk rock.

Classic surf-type music.

The singles and the accompanying videos are fun, catchy, get stuck in your head and the choreography is often awesome.  They're fantastic.  

I've just found a better source of videos and I'll update them in the next day or two.  In the meantime enjoy the mighty Halcali and curse me for how you can't get their tunes out of your head.

Jack Ince

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