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ん ("n") is the only modern kana that does not appear in the classical Iroha, as the poem predates the character. (Other than that, the work is a pangram.) In doing research for this single, I learned that ん is occasionally added to the end of the Iroha to "complete" the set, and that got me thinking.
To a non-native speaker of Japanese, ん is a unique exception to the consonant-vowel pairings that govern most other Japanese characters; although there are single-vowel kana, ん denotes a single consonant in what is otherwise a syllabic written language. As a standalone word, ん expresses hesitation or uncertainty, but could also be the sound of humming or pondering, almost exactly like the English "Hmm..."
Despite not quite fitting the "usual" pattern, ん is an equal among the other kana; it's not seen as particularly unusual among the 50 sounds. (Non-native speakers like me notice or invent such patterns because of our own writing systems' frameworks, while failing to notice our own limitations.) Regardless, ん feels exceptional, honored among her peers by getting a whole row to herself on some syllable charts (at the very least, breaking conventional patterns via a わ・を・ん row). To me, ん is neither elite royal nor ordinary salaryman, but rather, the standout, "my-pace" artist who enhances the characters around her while occupying her own distinct place, living just outside the neatly ordered rows of あ・い・う・え・お…
So, I thought I would add a little ん to my own Iroha to remind us to all embrace our own potential んness -- what it means to be different, unique, and, perhaps, beautifully incomplete.

credits

from Iroha, released April 30, 2018
Composed & Produced by Tommy Pedrini
Mastered by Madeline Lim (deltaBouche)

Tommy Pedrini - Marimba
Jamie Pedrini - Flute, Wooden Flute, Eb Flute, Alto Flute, Bass Flute

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Cats on Mars Los Angeles, California

Cats on Mars is an electronic/rock band from Los Angeles founded by composer and performer Tommy Pedrini and a diverse group of talented musicians. Featuring evocative, narrative lyrics and catchy but clever musical twists, the band chronicles the journeys of everyday universes, from life in the city to love in the stars. ... more

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