Some say that music soothes the savage beast. While that may be true,
karaoke can bring out the animal in even the shiest performer.
wants to be in the spotlight, even if it's for just a little while.
Through song, we can relieve daily stresses and leave the rat race behind.
Therapeutic stress relief aside, singing is just plain fun. It's a great
activity to share with families and friends, particularly through mini
concerts or group jam sessions.
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.
and parties have fully swept Asia, and is now making a solid presence in
North America. Since the first virtual concert machine was introduced in
1970's Japan, karaoke parties have favorite pastimes for music aficionados
of all stripes. Karaoke became so popular, the media adopted the term to
use on occasions when a live performance was substituted by pre-recorded
or "canned" music.
Japanese traditions are rich with
musical elements. This form of entertainment is reflected in Japanese
culture, history and mythology. Even Samurais use music, singing and
dancing as part of 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.
proved such an important social success that Daisuke Inoue was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. The basis of his award was for "providing an
entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other."
Time" has been a popular form of entertainment in East Asia since the
early 1980's. Like a global virus, the karaoke phenomenon spread to other
parts of the world. Karaoke's popularity was reaching record highs, and it
soon became a very productive industry. Before long, the karaoke craze
reached North American shores and took the entire continent by storm.
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.
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
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 always wanted to be a star,
karaoke is a great way to get your fifteen minutes of fame. Grab the mic
and get in tune with the party animal in you!