The J-pop duo Kobukuro flew to London to work with the Grammy-winning mastering engineer Tim Young on their first complete greatest hits album, ALL TIME BEST 1998-2018, marking Kentaro Kobuchi and Shunsuke Kuroda’s 20th anniversary in music.
Kobukuro is one of the biggest pop-folk acts in Japan and perform solo-headlining shows in arena-sized venues around the country back home. But the pair decided to celebrate their first trip to London by hitting the streets for an impromptu acoustic performance.
Kuroda came up with the idea of trying their hand at busking in London. Kobuchi wrote up a sign on the spot and called out in English to passers-by, “Hello everybody! My name is Kobukuro! Let’s join!” before breaking into song while playing his acoustic guitar.
Kuroda also invited people to stop and listen, and the two performed six of their hit songs — including “Wadachi,” “Sakura” and “Tsubomi” — for Londoners, who most likely had never heard of them before.
Though their lyrics are in Japanese, the pair’s beautiful harmonies and solid musicianship drew a big crowd by the time they finished the set. As people showered them with cheers and applause, the veteran duo seemed overcome with emotion by the warm reception, and Kobuchi thanked everyone for the memorable experience: “Remember me, thank you!”
The day after their first-ever street performance abroad, the pair hit the studio to work on their four-CD, 58-song greatest hits compilation. Kobukuro’s ALL TIME BEST 1998-2018 will be released Dec. 5.