Beni and Kai Party Down With Engawa!

Why yes, finally, we have an honest to goodness post about ENGAWA on this site! Engawa is, as you may know from reading this blog, what is often referred to as “That weird Beni-Kai thing with that old guy.” That guy by the way, is Koji Ishikawa, who was for many years the percussionist for a well-known and respected comedic folk group called Tama. (Who were really very good!)

Somewhere along the way, Koji formed this project with our beloved Beni and Kai, and together they play these high-spirited, light-hearted and lo-fi shows on occasion. Koji plays a minimalist home-made drum set while Beni and Kai sing and dance about in a silly, child-like way. You’ll either think it’s a swell time or a grating assault on your sanity, I’ll leave that up to you…


So over the weekend, Koji celebrated his 57th birthday and had a pretty cool party. Tentenko even showed up! And naturally of course, Engawa played a short set of songs. And lucky for the thousands of Homicidols readers who adore this quirky act, there’s video!

It looks like a good time to me! Kai hands out lollipops while Beni presents an artistic chronicle of Mr. Ishikawa’s life and times. Koji gets into the act himself, in what I believe to be a ummmm, reenactment of his childbirth. Beni sings her heart out in the 210% way she always does, while Kai keeps up that cooly detached demeanor that I’ve always liked about her. Also, I noticed that on the far right of the stage are what could possibly be the trees that Beni fabricated for There There There’s fantastic “Soil” MV. So you see, this video is like a major crossover event!

But y’know, this whole oddball thing is genuinely growing on me. I actually bought the TRASH-UP!! single they released, although truthfully that was initially for my needs as a Beni/Avandoned completist. I live for moments of sincere joy, and this combo truly delivers those goods. There’s a real warmth and affection here that makes this a wonderfully satisfying time. If Engawa should ever decide to record more music and release it, I’ll be all-in as a fan and not just curiosity collector.

And yes, Happy Birthday Koji!

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THIS POST: I’ve learned a few things by paying attention to my fellow Homicidols contributors Kerrie and Papermaiden. From Kerrie I learned that if you want something covered on this blog that branches out a bit from “The Hard Side of Idol”, then get in there and do it yourself. And from Papermaiden, well, I learned the same lesson, but in addition to that, I learned that if you sneak into the secret door of the Maniac Mansion and harass Maniac at an inopportune time, he just might let you publish any wacky thing you want.

With this in mind, I located the secret door and made my way through the halls of the estate. But then while looking for the master of the house, I accidentally wandered into a windowless room containing an altar with a giant glowing shrine dedicated to First Summer Uika. It was probably about four meters high and lined with flickering candles carefully placed into Doc Marten boots. Across the top of the shrine was a giant banner declaring (In a ransom-note font) “BE MY BOY”. Anyway, it kinda weirded me out so I turned around and left quickly. Instead, I just took the Kerrie route and dropped this in the blog drafts, hoping Maniac would just publish it to humor me. If you’re reading this, then I pulled it off! 

-brian/supreme nothing

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