HALCALI (ハルカリ, Harukari?) (a portmanteau of the names Halca (ハルカ, Halca?) and Yucali (ユカリ, Yucali?)) is a Japanese Hip-hop duo consisting of members Halca (born April 21, 1988) and Yucali (born July 18, 1987) from Meguro, Tokyo. They were signed to Oshare Track Factory on July 26, 2002 when lead singers Halca and Yucali, now both graduates from Meguro, attended an audition for "female rappers" held by the group Rip Slyme, and were chosen out of several applicants as the singers for the band. Their first single, "Tandem" which was released on January 8, 2003 was marketed on several Japanese television networks and MTV at the time of its release and entered into the Oricon Charts at position 19.
HALCALI made their American debut in May 2008 as the musical guests of honor at at the Chicago-area Japanese culture, manga and anime convention Anime Central. They performed again in America at Central Park, New York City on June 1, 2008 as part of a Japan Day Festival as part of the Yōkoso Japan tourism campaign.
The time between the release of their first single to that of their debut album HALCALI moved away from mainstream J-pop and toward a style combining pop and rap, with what can be called an airy, self-parody "bubblegum" rap in the vein of earlier groups such as East End X Yuri. This was evident in their second and third singles, "Electric Sensei" (エレクトリック先生, "Electric Sensei"?) and "Giri Giri Surf Rider" (ギリギリ・サーフライダー, "Giri Giri Surf Rider"?) released in mid-2003. Both singles focused on rap rather than pop.
The latter song attracted attention from Western audiences when it appeared on Adam and Joe Go Tokyo.
HALCALI Bacon (ハルカリベーコン, HALCALI Bacon?) had tracks featuring guest singers in Japanese pop, who provided vocals as well as song collaborations. The album peaked at #5 on the Oricon charts, becoming the first album by a female hip-hop artist to enter the top ten. It remained on the charts for a total of twenty weeks. "Tandem" was such a successful hit, that the Latin American MTV featured this song in some spots.
Ongaku no Susume (音楽ノススメ, Recommended Music?) shows a greater variety of musical styles than the group's first album. A British magazine said in a review of Ongaku no Susume that the album was "something which De La Soul wished it could be." However, there was criticism that HALCALI's albums were being produced in an attempt to try and market towards their target audience.
Released on July 18, 2007, Cyborg Oretachi (サイボーグ俺達, We, the Cyborgs?) is HALCALI's first major label album, third original album, and fourth album release overall. The first press limited edition came with a bonus DVD. This is HALCALI's first album to be released in both CD only, and CD+DVD formats.
This album was originally rumoured to be titled Drive My Dreams, however the title was changed when official release information became available through their website.
Cyborg Oretachi also includes productions by O.T.F, Utamaru (Rhymester), Natalie Wise, Honestly, and Fantastic Plastic Machine, as well as collaborations and guest performances from Dr.kyOn (ex Bo Gumbos), Ramrider, Your Song Is Good, Polysics, Skaparahorns, and Kendo Kobayashi.
Even though the single "Tougenkyou / Lights, Camera. Action!" was listed as being a double A-side, "Lights, Camera. Action!" is not on the album
In winter 2003, HALCALI released their fourth single, the Christmas-themed "Strawberry Chips" (ストロベリーチップス, "Strawberry Chips"?). This single continued to show the fluctuation between rap and J-pop.
After the release of "Strawberry Chips", HALCALI's visual style shifted, along with the layout and lyrical style of their songs. Their fifth single, "Marching March" (マーチングマーチ, "Marching March"?), was the first to showcase this new style. This change in style is attributed to HALCALI's coming-of-age, however it also represents the changing of fads that occurred in Japanese teens at the time and was necessary to retain their fanbase.
Their sixth single, "Baby Blue!", was an instant cult hit. The album art and video featured the character HANPANDA, a trend by Japanese artist Nagi Noda, which has since become popular.
Halca (or HARUKA) at age 19, judging from her PR and personal blog entries, portrays herself to be the more mature of the pair. She shows focus for performances, commentating seriously on those commenting on her in TV appearances. She has recently became more focused on fashion, and has appeared in Barfout, a fashion magazine, along with Yucali.
At age 21, Yucali's (or YUKARI) previous image was child-like, which gave the group's image a more school-aged look. She wore a tilted baseball cap or some other sort of head apparel as was the fad at the time. Her current image is now more adult-like. HALCALI's Bio: