Monday, June 18, 2007
Bring Out the Star in You with Karaoke
Pictured: Asakusa Tokyo courtesy of Fuji Film staff
by Horace Jurdon
If music soothes the savage beast, then the karaoke phenomenon can be credited with pleasing party animals all over the world.
With karaoke, anyone can be in the spotlight. Singing is a great stress reliever and the perfect way to leave your worries at the doorstep. Besides, singing makes you feel good and it's just plain fun. A karaoke machine is a great way to have a blast with your friends and family and it's the perfect starting point to building your own in-house jam session.
The Japanese word Karaoke is derive from two words: Kara, which means "empty", and Oke, short for okesutora, or orchestra. Karaoke entertainment systems provide pre-recorded musical accompaniment of popular songs. In most cases, karaoke performers follow the lyrics on a video screen as the music plays on.
After karaoke music and parties fully swept Asia, they began to form a solid presence in North America. Since the first virtual concert machine was introduced in Japan in the 1970's, karaoke parties have become favorite pastimes for small time stars of all types. In fact, karaoke became so popular that the media adopted the term to use for all occasions when live music was replaced by "canned" or pre-recorded music.
This history of Japan is rich with artistic elements, including music. Traditional Japanese music is present in ancient culture, mythology and history. Japanese Samurais are even known to use dancing, singing and music as an element in their training and education.
The history of karaoke can be traced back to the early 1970's, and a singer named Daisuke Inoue. A crowd favorite at a bar called Utagoe Kissa, Inoue was often asked to provide recordings of his music so that fans could sing along. Realizing the potential, Inoue created a tape recorder that played a song for a 100-yen coin. At that time, 100-yen was about the price of two typical lunches, so it was considered expensive to use this new music machine. Even so, the combination of old-time jukebox and future karaoke machine proved to be a huge hit in Japan. Inoue decided that instead of selling the machines, he would lease them so that the stores and bars would not have to purchase new songs on their own.
The invention of the karaoke machine was intensely important to the culture of modern Japan; so much so, that Daisuke Inoue was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for "providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other."
The act of singing karaoke is known as "Karaoke Time", and has been a popular form of entertainment in East Asia since the early 1980's. The karaoke phenomenon quickly spread to other parts of the world, and its popularity soon reached record heights. Before long, the karaoke craze reached North American shores, took the entire continent by storm and opened brand new opportunities for enterprising individuals.
The new entertainment import industry flourished in the Western world. Enterprising Americans were quick to see the investment potential in a brand new type of entertainment that provided cool, relaxing fun, as well as bringing people together in a tolerant, patient manner. Karaoke bars and nightclubs known as "KTV boxes" opened across North America, providing eager would-be performers with fresh new venues, software and equipment.
Since its inception in the United States and other western countries, people have begun to take karaoke more seriously. American bars are unlikely to have karaoke seven nights a week as they do in East Asia. Many however, have upgraded their equipment from the small, standalone machines that started the craze over two decades ago. Crowds can follow song lyrics on television screens displayed throughout the bars, and some even offer big screen TVs.
The karaoke sensation has also entered our homes. From inexpensive children's versions to high-end machines, home karaoke systems can be connected to a pre-existing entertainment center and families can join in the fun. Karaoke music can be downloaded from the Internet, and fans can sing along with their computers if they do not have a personal karaoke machine available.
If you've got song in your heart and just need to sing out loud, find a karaoke machine and bring out the star in you.
About the Author
Horace Jurdon loves writing for some of today's most popular web sites, on creative recreation and recreation and leisure issues.Feel free to grab a unique version of this article from the karaoke Articles Submission Service