The Born Again Pagans - The Band

The Born Again Pagans are a loose group of tight musicians (some of them drink a bit too) from around the globe who live in various parts of Japan and are an active part of its now thriving foreign music scene. Their high quality of musicianship has allowed Rhodes to constantly play new material & let the magic mix of various cultures, influences and genres spark in a creative chaos united within his carefully composed songs. They have produce 4 studio CDs, Ripe(2005), the acclaimed The Emergent Sea (2009) and Rivers (2015)  and Rains 1 (2017) With over 250 original songs are always itching to get into the studio to record more.  They have performed regularly in the Kansai area for the last 20 years at various bars, hotels, restaurants and festivals.  They always attract a crowd as they provide an exciting mix of original and reinterpreted covers with inventive instrumentation, all live & real with no electronica.   

The musicians come from a variety of musical backgrounds: folk, rock, punk, classical, jazz, celtic, world, and blues creating a new folk-fusion sound, full of energy and fresh ideas. Some of the musicians are professional musicians playing in many bands. Some have day jobs.  All have a deep love of music and keep on playing despite the many obstacles, time, financial, etc. that make life as a musician simultaneously easier and more difficult in the 21st century.   

Since 2017 the main live line up has been as follows:(See full bios below.)

Moray Crawford:  Drums and Backing Vocals

Frank Daulton: Bass

Kim Kanel: Harmonica, Vocals

Ted Ostis: Lead Guitar

Roman Rhodes: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals.    

But they are often joined by a variety of violin, banjo, flute, saxophone, trumpet players from around Japan, the West and Africa, making for exciting fresh sounds.  Don’t miss this exciting show full deep lyrics and tight music.  

2017 saw the occasional addition of 

Tadashi Koba:  Erhu;  Larry Ransome: Jembe;  and old time Pagan Tim Wiltshire  all who feature on the new album

 New & temporary pagans: Shigeo Kobayashi: Bass and Tsuyoshi Matsuo: Lead guitar,  Atieno Kevin Owino: Jembe

 also Boris Igwacho, and Erivc Savadogo : Jembe:

 


The previous live line ups include:

Atsushi Akazawa: Bouzouki, violin, sanshien      Tetsuo Kondo: bass.      
Kaori Morita:  Flute                                          Yasuhiro Nakamura:  Electric guitar  
Tatsuto Nakamura: Flute, bass clarinet               Koari Niwa: Sax                               
Atieno Kevin Owino: Jembe                               Masa Suzuki: Lead Guitar                         Andy Beresford: Bass            Andy Gilligan: Guitar.                                                                         

 

Regular and previous recording artists with the band include:
Paul Fleisher: (NY City-Osaka): Winds (sax, flute, clarinets, picolo etc.)
John Hulaton: (Hawaii- Nara) Trumpet & Flugel Horn
Atsushi Akazawa: (Kyoto)  Sanshien, Violin, Bouzouki.
Steve Muller: (England- Kobe) Piano. 
Christopher Fryman:  (Canada- Kyoto) Trumpet.
Tim Wiltshire: (West Virginia-Yonago) Electric & Slide Guitars, Banjo, Violin, etc.                   Chika Togashi: Vocals
Reiko Daimon: (Nara) Oboe

Osaka Original regular live members were: 
Tim Wiltshire:  Electric Guitar, Mandolin, Harmonica, Slide guitar, banjo,  etc.
Mark Williams: Bass
Masa Suzuki: Electric guitar
Maryse Dumas: Flute
Reiko Daimon: Oboe.                                                                                                                            Moray Crawford: Drums

And here I will just say et cetera, because the list goes on.

The bios of the more recent and most prominent members are provided below.

 

Roman Rhodes - Singer, Songwriter, Guitar, Banjo.

 

From Quebec, Canada, Roman Rhodes is the founder, singer songwriter and guitarist for the Pagans.   Over 250 songs to his name, he has written for the  Canadian Celtic band Orealis, for professionally produced plays, and had his song A Million Thanks sung by choirs at the World Parliament of Religions in Spain.  Child of a piano teacher, grandchild of a pianist, great grandson of a Rhodes' organ, he grew up with and is heavily influenced by classical music, but found his voice and love in Canadian and World folk, Celtic, 60s rock, and old jazz.    On the albums he also does the recording, mixing, plays guitarlele, banjo, bass and keyboards.   An ancient historian by training, a teacher by survival, a farmer by interest and diet, a musician by nature, and an environmentalist by default, inclination and reason. He has also acted as vocal trainer for Ryukoku University’s burgeoning Broadway Musical circle in Japan. For Rhodes music is meditation, healing magic, fun and message combined, as well as a means through which he hopes, in however humble a manner, to reawaken in others the sense of the sacred in life, especially in regards to nature. 

 

Moray Crawford - Drums

 

One of the mainstays of the Pagans, Moray has been drumming with the band since the Dubliner's Irish Pub days back in Osaka (1999-2004). Moray burst into the Edinburgh post-punk indie music scene on drums and vocals with “35mm Dreams” in the late 70s. He recorded on their debut 7” “More Than This” in 1980 and the follow up 7” “Fasten Your Safety Belts” in 1981. Since then he has recorded on vinyl with “Buba and the Shop Assistants” (drums), before moving to Japan and recoding with Shonen Knife (udu) on their album “Heavy Songs”. He has also played in “Cat Dancing” (drums) , “The Mitubishi Electric Light Music Orchestra” (guitar), “The Flower Brothers” (drums, vocals), “Combo Congas” (drums), Osaka Stainless (drums), “The Born Again Pagans” (drums / percussion), “My-T-Hi” (guitar, vocals) and “Shigeo and Moray” (acoustic guitar, vocals). Aside from music he is actively involved in fire protection, and the development of safety standards for the semiconductor industry. Currently Moray continues to play in and around Osaka with “My-T-Hi”, “The Born Again Pagans”, and “Shigeo and Moray”.

Frank Daulton - Bass



      New Pagan, Frank Daulton, the Gentle Giant's groove fits so well with the band, it feels like he's always been a pagan.  Frank has been playing since the 8th grade. Likes a dichotic approach to bass: bridging the melody of guitar and vertical impact of percussion. (Likes to say, 'I control the horizontal'.) Enjoys headless and fretless basses, in addition to his old-school Fender. Loves technically difficult, percussive fills – inventing a few and adapting more. Has roots in progressive metal but appreciates any genre. Frank was a major force behind the last CD.

 

Kim Kanel - Harmonica, Vocals

Kim "Slim" Kanel was the founding lead member of the Osaka band Bad Luck and Trouble with Bancho Nakamura 2002.  Due to troubles and bad luck the band fell apart, and this was a bit of good luck for the pagans.  His soaring and inventive harp has brought a whole new sound to the band, matching the variety of 60s rock, celtic blues and alternative music the band plays.   He took up the harp after his old band asked him to put down his guitar and requested he only sing.  Not feeling comfortable standing around the stage doing nothing, spent a summer on a sudden inspiration back in his native LA mastering the harp.  A quick learner, he truly flies on his solos.  He is a very welcome addition to this new incarnation of the Pagans. 

Ted Ostis - Lead Guitar

            Lead Guitarist Ted “elevator” Ostis joined the band late 2016.   Long time resident Ted has played with a number of bands in the Kansai Area: Sleepless Nights (Kyoto) 89-93, BumpSkool (Osaka) 2000-06, Satellite 102 (Osaka)08, Rock Rhythm Revue (Osaka)2016.  Versatile and precise Ted’s clean sound has become a distinct part of the Pagans.  A songwriter himself, he has written about 100 songs in a variety of styles, blues, rock, country folk, funk.  He is always wanting to try music he has not yet done.  You can hear his creations on Soundcloud or Reverb nation.  Or see Ted and Frank’s videos on youtube.  He will bring you up!

Occasional and Past Pagans, Regular Guests and Recording Artists - Below



 The Pagans have been lucky to have a great number of talented musicians join them regularly, occasionally or just for recording.    Many are professional musicians who play with countless bands, or are so in demand they can't make every gig, but are always happy to join when they can.  Others have moved on because of the demands of busy modern society or live in distant cities. But once a pagan, always a pagan.

Larry Ransome - Jembe, Percussion, Drums

Larry Ransome from New York is one of the most respected and in demand drummers in the Kansai area.  I won't even try to list the countless bands he plays for.  Any month of the year you will find him playing Jazz at venues like the Royal Horse, Funk at Cafe Make, Jamming at Rush, Rock at FSN, Reggae at T&T and even alternative world folk with the Pagans at Blarney or Coolabar.  A consummate musician, he is Versatile and always on time.  He also plays guitar and sax and teaches music.  You can catch him at https://www.facebook.com/larry.ransome

Takahashi Koba - Erhu

Takhashi is a master Erhu player and teacher for devoted students throughout western Japan. He joined Pagans last year after a chance encounter on the boat to Beppu.   With his flawless ear,  he can adapt the Erhu to any style and pick up any song on the spot. His playing is featured on the Pagans new CD Rains adding a eerie and ethereal  sound.

Tsuyoshi Matsuo - Lead Guitar


Lead guitarist, Tsuyoshi Matsuo is another welcome new addition, who joins the band when Ted can't make it. He played the blues in Oregon for 10 years. One of his stage names was B.B. Lee because he sounded like B.B. King but looked like Bruce Lee. Canned Heat’s Henry Vestine called him the creeping yellow menace because he got the pasty faced white boys running scared.  His soft but powerful leads have the audiences leaning in.

Tim Wiltshire - Strings & Things: Electric & Slide Guitars, Harmonica, Banjo, Back Vocals, Koto and about anything else you ask him to play.

Tim Wiltshire was there when the Pagans were "born again," 20 years ago on the west side of the Pacific. From West Virginia he grew up playing as the only saltine cracker, in soul, rock and funk bands in the town made famous by Joni Mitchell's song, Morning Morgantown. In Japan for over 12 years now, he has been seen in all the major festivals as lead singer and lead gutarist for the rock band: Guano. But his talents are much grander. A songwriter himself, he is versatile in both style and instruments. He was a main pillar of the Pagans, adding his classic country, blues, bluegrass, and rock sound on electric guitars, slide guitar, harmonica, banjo, mandolin and just about any other instrument you give him. At a practice for their debut at Yonago Bunka Hall, Roman asked for a koto on his haunting ballad, The Cry of Acteon. The ever resourceful Tim showed up the very next day with a fully functioning koto he found in a pawn shop for cheap, and a duck. Within two weeks he had nailed together both the song, and a fence for a small compound in his back yard, including a pond, for the duck. "I though it was a good mascot for the school," [the medical university where he also teachers.] "Quack."

Tetsuo Kondo - Bass

Semi-pro Jazz Bassist Tetsuo Kondo, joined the band about 8 years back and has solved all the bass needs--except for the fact that he is in constant demand with 4 other Osaka jazz bands and we must compete for his time.  Able to pick up any song on the drop of a hat, able to improvise and solo at a glance, his ever smiling, relaxed nature belies the magical rolling powerful flow of his bass lines.  You can hear and feel the his joy of music both live and recorded on the latest album, Rivers. 

 

Chika Togashi - Backing Vocals

Chika Togashi joined the pagans for the latest CD. Chika began her singing career when she joined Ryukoku University's Broadway Musical circle, where her talent was immediately recognised and she was given leading roles.  She played Glinda in Wicked, Cossette in Les Miserables and Belle in Beauty and the Beast.  Her background in piano and cello no doubt helped her develop hewer impeccable sense of timing and melody. Her powerful and ethereal voice and a stage presence reminiscent of early hollywood starlets wooed audiences. We feel lucky to have her bless our little band for the CD, and hope she can record with us more in future.

Atsushi Akazawa - All strings, any strings: violin, bouzouki, mandolin, penny whistles, shamisen, sanshien, Erhu etc.,etc. etc.

Strings master, Atsushi Akazawa, is usually introduced as "McAkazawa from the bogs of Kyoto," because there is probably no major Irish band in Japan(and there are a lot of them) that he has not played with. In constant demand for his haunting and wild violin, he is ever shuttling back and forth between Tokyo, Osaka and other major cities. Playing with the pagans for over 14 years now, as well as with their smaller, more classical folk unit, The Shinto Celts, Atushi has become one of the main members, adding to their unique sound. A consumate musician, he is highly competent on almost any instrument you give him Eastern or Western: sanshien, shamisen, violin, bazouki, mandolin, guitarlele, guitar, and penny whistles. Has studied the Chinese bowed instrument, the Erhu, as well as Scandinavian fiddle music.

Atieno Kevin Owino - Jembe

 

From Kenya, Atieno was our main man for Jembe in 2015-17.  But organizing his own band Afro Vybz has meant we're not playing as much as we would like. Atieno has brought together a Pan African Band with players from Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Burkina Fasso, et alter, in a powerful show much in demand.  He has a beautiful voice and talent as a song writer and guitarist.  I hope we get to play more in the future.     

          

Paul Fleischer - Winds: Sax, Flutes, Clarinets, Picolo etc.

  

Paul Fleisher is an incredibly talented Jazz musician from New York city, with a number of albums to his name, including Nature Boy, recorded with Bob Cranshaw, Kenny Barron and Al Foster.  He has played on tour with Joan Baez, the Doobie Brothers, and Elliot Randall and was part of the original band for the broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar.  He has recorded on all three of the Pagan's albums adding his free flowing 60s Jazz influence to the album, really contributing to their overall ambiance, magic and power.  He also writes for theatre and and an endless sense of social wit. You can check out his music at  paulfleisher-sax.com

Christopher Fryman - Trumpet

British Born, Canadian raised, Christopher Fryman plays with various experimental bands in the Kansai Area including Kagura project. Originally a cameraman for the CBC in Toronto, he has produced films and documentaries, including for National Geographic, when he was living in Borneo.  He has his own film production company, Fryman Film Productions and produces ballet performances for his wife's ballet school.  A multitalented and generous man he contributes trumpet on a few songs, most notably E I Ei Oh and the Horizon,  on the 2nd album, the Emergent Sea.

John Hulaton - Trumpet, Flugel Horn

 

Hawaiian born composer, voice actor, radio announcer, and multitalented musician, John Hulaton came to Japan as the guitarist and lead vocalist for a Hawaiian dance troupe and stayed.  A professional musician from the age of 14, music degree from the University of Hawaii, John can play and compose in any style, but specialises in classical and jazz.  In 2010 the incredible Jazz Pianist Dr. Phillip Strange performed a tribute show to the compositions of John Hulaton at Osaka's famous Cafe Azul, with drummer Larry Marshall and trumpet player Steve Hanuman, that remains one of the most memorable and moving nights of music in my life. John adds a hauntingly mellow trumpet  to both The Emergent Sea, and the new album Rivers, as well as endless support musically, spiritually and beerily!

Yasuhiro Nakamura - Electric Guitar

New to the band, Yasuhiro Nakamura is a young classically trained guitarist, who recently got 3rd place in a Japanese Finger-style arrangement competition.  A dedicated musician he has chosen work in a music store part time rather than a full time job, so he can spend all his energy on  music.

Kaori Morita - Flute

Classically trained flautist, Kaori Morita joined the live band about 4 years ago.  She has played with the Doshisha University orchestra and now plays with the Amagasaki City orchestra.

Kaori Niwa - Sax

Big Band Jazz musician Kaori Niwa is new welcome member to the band, adding to the sultry new sound. Kaori has played in Jazz and ska bands in the Osaka area.  

Tatsuto Nakamura - Flute and Bass clarinet

Tatsuto is a natural and has performed with the band for the last 3 years.

Music

See Roman and the Pagans also at:

YouTube -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpjbcUCW9YZT-NDVz6T4d_Q Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/BornAgainPagans?ref=profile CD Baby -- http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/romanrhodesandthebornaga