The unique Japanese female trio Rin'-Mana, Tomoca and Chie-was formed in 2003 after its three members graduated from Tokyo's esteemed National University of Fine Arts and Music. The essence of their ethereal, atmospheric sonic tapestry is to fluidly combine the exotic and subtle sounds of traditional Japanese instruments with a contrasting framework of contemporary western popular music. "We are interested," say the lovely ladies of Rin', "in making Japanese music accessible to the American ear. The thousand year spirit in our instruments has a soul that needs to be heard."With their U.S. debut album Inland Sea on Domo Records, Rin' unleashes that spirit with beauty, drama and naturally graceful pop sensibilities. In a similar vein to thecinematic, ambient techno of Zero 7-whose acclaimed albums Simple Things ('01) and i>When It Falls ('04) also delicately layer ephemeral soundscapes with mesmerizing vocals-Rin's music evokes a dream-state that is both soothing and radiant. When famed music producer/artist Narada Michael Walden heard Rin's distinctive artistry live at their first-ever U.S. show at the Knitting Factory in New York City in 2004, he commented that their, "fusion of Japanese instruments and new sounds is fresh and marvelous."That accolade sets the stage for Inland Sea, which officially introduces Rin to America. The disc was produced by music veteran Jimmy Harry, whose seasoned pop sensibilities have driven albums by stars including Samantha Cole, Lisa Loeb, Lindsay Lohan, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears. Harry also wrote or co-wrote all of the album's eleven tracks, with stand-outs including "Anti-Hero," featuring Lisa Loeb crooning an infectiousvocal that seamlessly blends into Rin's instrumental magic.Other highlights include three enchantingly dreamlike tracks spotlighting vocals by former Sixpence None The Richer lead singer Leigh Nash-"New Day Rising", "Never Knew What LoveMeant" and "Sea Of Tranquility." Citing other favorite cuts, Mana and Tomoca both single out the plaintive and elegant "Solemn", with Tomoca also selecting "AA170." Chie chimes in with a mention for the title track, a glistening and reflective tone poem.Besides the Loeb and Nash-embellished compositions, Rin's own striking intermittent vocals offer textural, often abstract brushstrokes in the group's rich aural landscapes. Their musical virtuosity shines on age-old yet timeless Japanese instruments including the Koto, a resonant stringed board zither, and its bass cousin, the Jushichigen. The girls of Rin also excel on the Biwa, a form of short-necked lute; the Sangen, a variation on the shamisen; and he Shakuhachi, a breathy, bamboo flute often associated with Buddhist chants.Rin's steady career rise first began in early 2004 with the success of their debut Japanese single, "Sakitama." At home, they've since released two full length studio albums of original material, a concert album, an album interpreting Christmas music and a live DVD. The trio has toured extensively in Japan and Asia, with highlights including a January 2004 concert in Shanghai for the "Japan China Cultural Exchange Exhibit," a performance inOctober of that year at the John Lennon Music Festival at the famous Nihon Budokan, a featured set at the globally minded 2005 World Exposition in Aichi, Japan and a 4-date tourin Mexico in October '05. Stateside, Rin' was the only act from Japan to play at 2004's 92nd National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, an annual celebration of Tokyo's original gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the U.S. capital in 1912.With influences ranging from the Beatles and the Carpenters to Destiny's Child and Japanese national treasure Kunie Fujii-a legend in the traditional musical art of jiuta-Rin has a cross-cultural vision and dynamic creative expression that is like no other. "So far," says Rin, "we've collaborated with J-pop, trance, jazz and reggae. We continue to realize the many facets that our instruments reveal to us depending on the style of music we areexploring. Western music has always been a central and integral part of our lives, and we want to experience all the untapped potentials that our instruments may hold."Rin also plans to tour in support of Inland Sea, and eagerly await their first full-scale U.S. concert itinerary: "We like seeing the music expand in real time, the sensitivity of our instruments blending with our present feelings and spreading to the many people in the audience. There's nothing more supreme than living in the moment and taking in the smiles of the listeners."Pronounced similarly to "ring" in English, "Rin" means "clear cut" and "cool and crisp" in Japanese. "Wa" is the Japanese word for ring, and also has other associations related to peace and harmony. The melding of these words and meanings, along with Mana, Tomoca and Chie's joint aspiration to create a full circle-a ring-through music, led to their group's very fitting name. Experience the moment with Rin', and discover their resonant music through the exquisite sonic depths of their new album, Inland Sea.