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Japanese Vocalist Feels So American

Japanese Vocalist Feels So American

Who: Dakota Star, Veruca Salt
Where: Newcastle Panthers
Author: Jade Lazarevic
When: Saturday January 8, 2005

SHE was born and raised in Japan but DAKOTA STAR vocalist CHIAKI always craved a piece of American culture.

Her determination was so strong that as a 16-year-old, she left her life in Japan to attend high school in America's mid-west.

She spent 10 months studying in South Dakota where she soaked up the sounds around her and detached herself from the Japanese traditions.

``It was nice to stay away from popular things among Japanese teenagers at that time because I never liked what they liked,'' Chiaki said.

``Starting new things in an American public school, I found that I liked music and art, not getting good grades in school like I used to do in Japanese high school.'' With a new-found love of American music, Chiaki returned to Japan to start studying sociology and anthropology at university.

It also spelt the start of her musical career as she joined bands and worked odd jobs on the side, including a stint at a funeral parlour. if She said her time working at the parlour provided a lot of inspiration for her music.

``People think it's not related to music at all, but I think by supporting funeral ceremonies and experiencing unusual events it regularly gives me great opportunities to think about my own existence and what life is all about, which eventually comes out in some of my songwriting and singing,'' Chiaki said.

Rock band Dakota Star marked Chiaki's first major step into the music world.

After singing in various bands around Japan, Chiaki was introduced to Canadian musician ALAN BREY with whom she developed a strong writing partnership.

After teaming with guitarist DAIKI KASHO, Dakota Star was born and the group recorded and released the debut EP, Together Alone .

Dakota Star has embarked on its first tour of Australia and performed at THE FALLS festivals last week. The band will support VERUCA SALT at NEWCASTLE PANTHERS on Saturday night.

Tickets are on sale at the club.

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