Yoshiko Sai – Mikkō (1976) [Repost]

Due to the great success of Yoshiko Sai’s first entry, simply the most viewed during this year, today we present another album of this incredible haunting artist!

Let’s go to our history:

Edo (modern Tokyo) became the seat of government for the military dictatorship in the early 17th century Japan, the so-called Edo period (1603–1867). With an ‘everlasting’ peace and prosperity, the merchant class at the bottom of the social order found themselves the greatest beneficiaries of the city’s rapid economic growth. Other classes were the samurai and the craftsmen. Many indulged in the entertainment of kabuki theatre, courtesans, and geisha of the pleasure districts.

The term Ukiyo (floating world) came to describe this hedonistic lifestyle. Printed or painted ukiyo-e images of this environment emerged in the late 17th century, the merchant class, who had become wealthy enough to afford to decorate their homes with such brilliant works. Depictions of beautiful women, kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica were amongst the popular themes. (!)

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1844

The peak period in terms of quantity and quality was marked by portraits of beauties and actors by masters such as Kiyonaga, Utamaro, and Sharaku in the late 18th century. This peak was followed in the 19th century by a pair of masters best remembered for their landscapes: Hokusai and Hiroshige. Following the deaths of these two, and against the technological and social modernization that followed the Meiji Restoration of 1868, ukiyo-e production went into steep decline.

Some ukiyo-e artists specialized in making paintings, but most works were prints. Artists rarely carved their own woodblocks for printing; rather, production was divided between the artist, who designed the prints; the carver, who cut the woodblocks; the printer, who inked and pressed the woodblocks onto hand-made paper; and the publisher, who financed, promoted, and distributed the works.

Hokusai, 1830-32
Hokusai, 1830-32

Japonisme, or Japonism, is a French term that was first used (theorized) by Jules Claretie in his book L’Art Francais in 1872, it refers to the influence of Japanese art on Western art. In 1854, Japan re-opened trade with the West (after 265 years of isolation) and Japanese artworks including fans, porcelains, woodcuts, and screens were introduced in huge numbers to Europe, mainly France and the Netherlands.

The 1862 World’s Fair in Europe brought even more attention to Japanese art, during the 1860’s ukiyo-e, Japanese woodblock prints, became very popular and were a source of inspiration to many impressionists and post-impressionist artists in the west including Monet, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. (!)

Utamaro, 1793
Utamaro, 1793

Let’s go to our album:

Released on July 25th, 1976, Mikkō was Sai Yoshiko’s second album, a wonderful acid-folk register on which she gets assisted by a string of big-name musicians such as Kuni Kawachi on arrangements. At times the disc draws in Indian influences (sitar and tabla), but once she gets to singing, the listener is lulled into her own private, mysterious sonic world, through which one gets sucked in by her wide-ranging vocalizations. At the time of this recording, she was merely 23 years old.

This is a quieter, entrained album, compared to Taiji No Yume, with less variety of styles, making a melodic somber entry. I really would like to know more details about the lyrics, will any Japanese friend could help us? This is such a stunner voyage of consciousness, welcome to the unique realms of Yoshiko Sai, be ready!

1977's Promo
1977’s Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Tenshi no Yōni and Mikkō.

Bonum Cursum!

Tracks Include:

A1 Theme ~ 母さまのうた (Theme ~ Kāsama no Uta)

A2 鏡地獄 (Kagami Jigoku)

A3 (Haru)

A4 絹之道 (Kinu no Michi)

B1 人のいない島 (Hito no Inai Shima)

B2 眠りのくに (Nemuri no Kuni)

B3 天使のように (Tenshi no Yōni)

B4 漂流船 (Hyōryūsen)

B5 密航 (Mikkō)

Translations, respectively:

Theme – Mother’s Song, Hell of Mirrors, Spring, Silk Road, Desert Island

Land of Sleep, Like an Angel, Ship Adrift and Stowing Away

Credits

  • Acoustic Guitar: 吉川忠英, 野間義男
  • Cello: 阿部雅士
  • Drums: 山下秀夫, 田中清司, 武田光司
  • Dulcimer: 生見慶二
  • Electric Bass: 江藤勲, 高水建司
  • Electric Guitar: 高中正義, 津村泰彦
  • Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Sitar (E. Sitar): 矢島賢
  • Flute: 中川昌三
  • Piano, Keyboards: 大谷和夫, 松岡直也
  • Strings: 新音楽協会
  • Tabla: 瀬上養之助
  • Vibraphone: クニ河内
  • Arranged: クニ河内 (Kuni Kawashi)
  • Lyrics, Music: 佐井好子 (Yoshiko Sai)
  • Engineer伊豫部富治
  • IllustrationYoshiko Sai
  • Design (Cover Design) – Teichiku Design Section
  • Directed: 春名勇

Companies

  • Made: Teichiku Records Co., Ltd.
  • Recorded: Sound Creation Studio
  • Mixed: AMS Studio

Recorded at Teichiku No.1 Studio and Sound Creation Studio.

Mixdown at AMS Studio from March to May 1976.

Black ‎– BAL-1018

Yoshiko’s Painting Cover Art

Yoshiko Sai – Taiji No Yume (1977) [Repost]

Born on June 22, 1953, at Nara prefecture, Yoshiko Sai since his childhood demonstrated its precocity and many artistic gifts. During her elementary school days, she loved to paint and read all the classics from mythical writer Edogawa Rampo (The Japanese Poe). In junior high school, she was a member of the coral, taking his first lessons in music; by high school, she played (casually) in a folk-rock group.

In 1972 she tried to enter the Kyoto City University of Arts but wasn’t accepted, then she tried the Kyoto Doshisha University where she passed the entrance examination. In May of that year, she was caught by kidney disease, having to spend a year in observation.

Portrait
Portrait

Over this period she would recall:

‘I read a LOT of books from famous novelists, such as Mushitaro Oguri, Yumeno Kyusaku, Juran Hisao, and Yokomizo Masashi. These dark novels made me accept and relax about the disease, my forthcoming production of lyrics and music was strongly tied with this fact.’

After leaving the hospital, she incessantly started to wrote poetry and in 1974 debuted and won a contest at a local radio program. She then received an invitation to play an opening act for Rabi Nakayama concert. Two record companies became interested in her music and after the show, she was contracted by Teichiku Records.

1978 Promo
1978 Promo

Yoshiko Sai recorded four albums in four years, between May 1975 and December 1978, the 2nd (Mikkō) and 3rd (Taiji No Yume) of her releases may be considered more Progressive than Folk. Unfortunately, she abruptly retired from a career at the age of 25 in 1979.

A story told is that Yoshiko may have doubted her talent in music and lost her self-confidence. In recent years, a revival of interest in his music made her come back to record a new album with Jojo Hiroshige, called Crimson Voyage in 2001. Lastly, there’s been some re-releases from its 70s records, unedited live performances and poetry books.

Let’s go to our album:

In 1977 she moved to the Nippon Columbia company, and on September 25, she announced Taiji No Yume (Fetus Dream). Heavily inspired by the pre-war oddball and ghostly neurosurgeon doctor and writer Yumeno Kyusaku, hence the strange atmosphere this disc abides in. Quite dark in the overall texture, at the time of this she was merely 24 years old. Totally unknown for non-japanese listeners, this album is really a must for people into some more advanced Japanese historical recordings.

Melancholic Breeze
Melancholic Breeze

With utterly beautiful arrangements by the legendary Yuji Ohno, this is certainly my favorite album from her. A kaleidoscope of genres that spring from the depths of the inner mind: folk, jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, prog, rock and so. Yoshiko Sai plays the role of each and invites us to another dimension of reality, the “IM’ highlights are for:

Aoi Glass-Dama, with nice synths and strings, this rock ballad has an interesting crescendo, delivering an amazing emotional interpretation. And Taiji No Yume, a 9-minute epic, simply one of the best Japanese songs of all time, without exaggeration, I’ll let the words and adjectives to you, do not miss Yoshiko Sai’s haunting realms. 良い旅!

Tracks Include:

A1 ヒターノ (Gitano)

A2 アルハンブラの青い壜 (Alhambra No Aoi Bin)

A3 ある晴れた夜 (Aru Hareta Yoru)

A4 波止場 (Hatoba)

A5 春の夢 (Haru No Yume)

A6 海の沈黙 (Umi No Chinmoku)

B1 青いガラス玉 (Aoi Garasudama)

B2 遍路 (Henro)

B3 白昼夢 (Hakuchūmu)

B4 胎児の夢 (Taiji No Yume)

All songs and lyrics by Yoshiko Sai

Blow Up LX-7021A /// 25/09/1977

Musicians

Drums: Yasushi Ichihara

Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Tsunehide Matsuki

Gut Guitar: Kiyoshi Sugimoto

Electric Bass: Kenji Takamizu (1,2,4,5,9,10) /// Akira Okazawa (3,6,7,8)

Acoustic Piano: Masahiko Sato

Electric Piano, Solina, Spinet & Synthesizer: Yuji Ohno

Percussion: Lary Sunaga

Arranged (strings, brass, instrumental) by Yuji Ohno

Credits

Directed by: Shun Ohki

Produced by: Akira Sakajima

Engineer: Tomiji Iyobe

Art Director: Kazuhiro Saito

Cover Illustration: Yoshiko Sai

Illustration: Tsuyoshi Takigaito

Photography by: Jin Komine

Layout: Takashi Eakabayashi

Taiji No Yume Illustration
Taiji No Yume Illustration

The Markko Polo Adventurers ‎– Orienta (1959)

We’ve already got a little good share of Exotica here in the ‘IM’, you can easily go for Yma, Russ, and Dominic for your exquisite delight! But I think we should talk a little bit more about it since its one of my fav genres, always with some magical cover and a fantastic vibe from faraway, today’s album is no different so let’s get a ticket to the (wild) East.

Let’s go to our history:

Exotica is a form of easy-listening lounge music that draws upon world music, but it doesn’t aim for authentic replication. Instead, exotica’s primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it’s sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort vacation: fun, inauthentic, and safely familiar. (!)

1958 Fire Goddess

Exotica is usually arranged for standard orchestras, with instrumentation added according to the location being evoked (ethnic percussion, string instruments, etc.); some exotica also borrows the otherworldly sound effects that define the space-age pop style. The Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil, and Africa are among exotica’s most popular regional musical sources, major exotica artists include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Eden Ahbez, Gene Rains, Esquivel, Yma Sumac and many more.

Let’s go to our artist:

Orienta was the work of three music industry professionals with a history of involvement in exotica and easy listening music. Producer Simon Rady was coming off the huge success of The Music from Peter Gunn, which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, and won the inaugural Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1959. Associate producer Michael H. Goldsen was one of the industry leaders in popularizing Hawaiian music and was later inducted into the (legendary) Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

Debra Paget in Fritz Lang’s The Indian Tomb

The album was arranged and conducted by Gerald Fried, a Juilliard School-trained oboist who later went on to fame as a composer of music for motion pictures and television, including the 1960s series Star TrekThe Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Gilligan’s Island.

Orienta was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of exotica music in the late 1950s. The genre’s popularity peaked in 1959 as Martin Denny’s 1957 album Exotica spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. The album was recorded in stereo and was designed to appeal to the growing popularity of albums demonstrating the new technology. It features a wide assortment of woodwind and rhythm instruments as the liner notes describe a recording studio filled with as many as 25 percussion instruments.

Sandy Warner, 1959

Let’s go to our album:

The album’s liner notes stated that:

”The music resembles the dreams of an imaginative person who has fallen asleep during a ‘Dr. Fu Manchu’ movie on television, with vignettes that combine the sounds of the East with the wit of the West; the charm of the Orient with the humor of the Occident.”

A lost lounge gem from the RCA catalog, with a dreamy exotica feeling, Gerald Fried arranged and conducted this faux (studio) group, and his overall approach has lots of sweeping woodwinds and percussion, similar to the great Les Baxter work on Capitol during the period. The tracks have a pronounced Eastern feel including original compositions and adaptations from Rimsky-Korsakov, Harry Warren, and Vernon Duke.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rain in Rangoon and Mountain High, Valley Low.

Tracks Include:

A1 Song Of India-Beggars’ Procession
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

A2 Yokahama Ferryboat
Composed By: Leon Pober

A3 Rain In Rangoon
Composed By: Vèrnon Duke

A4 Madam Sloe Gin’s
Composed By: Leon Pober

A5 The Girl Friend Of A Whirling Dervish
Composed By – Dubin, Warren, Mercer

A6 Mountain High, Valley Low
Composed By: Bernard Hanighen, Raymond Scott

B1 Scheherazade
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

B2 Limehouse Blues
Composed By: D. Furber, P. Braham

B3 Night Of The Tiger
Composed By: Leon Pober

B4 Nagasaki
Composed By: H. Warren, M. Dixon

B5 Train To Ranchipur
Composed By: Gerald Fried

B6 Runaway Rickshaw
Composed By: Leon Pober

Credits

Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Conductor: Gerald Fried
Co-producer (Associate): Michael H. Goldsen
Producer: Simon Rady
Recorded By (Engineer): Thorne Nogar

Notes

Recorded in Hollywood, California, May 15, 21 and 31 and June 6, 1958

Gerald Fried, Alive and Kicking

Pino Daniele ‎– Nero A Metà (1980)

Let’s get a pause of the gals, shall we? I must admit I’m a bit ashamed for only get to know this COLOSSAL artist only a few years back but that’s one of the reasons that I have the ‘IM’. Pino Daniele is probably one of the greatest Italian artists of the 20th century, like Lucio Dalla and Vasco Rossi, this Napolitan musician, and composer stood out as a brilliant guitarist and bandleader, passionate composer, and a very very distinct singer.

Unfortunately, Pino passed away in 2015 due to a heart attack, a tragic loss of someone who didn’t reach its sixties, RIP! We choose to present you one of his masterpieces (yes he has more than one!), its third solo album, a voyage that ranges from Blues to Jazz, and even Pop elements, a real treat with a stellar band, so non andare da nessuna parte, vuoi?

Let’s get to our artist:

Pino Daniele 1979

Pino Daniele, born Giuseppe Daniele (Naples, 19 March 1955 – Rome, 4 January 2015), was an Italian singer-songwriter, musician and composer. Pino grew up learning both classical and traditional Neapolitan guitar, though as a teenager he became interested in British and American rock. In 1976, he started playing as a bassist in Napoli Centrale where he met James Senese who would become a key figure in the production of his first albums.

In the same year Claudio Poggi, EMI Italiana’s producer, listened to a demo tape with Daniele’s original songs and decided to produce his music. Within six months his first single was released titled Ca Calore / Fortunato, both songs were included on his first album, Terra Mia (released in 1977) sung in Neapolitan, was the first example of what Daniele called “taramblù” a combination of tarantella, rhumba, and blues (!).

27/06/1980

In 1979 his self-titled sophomore record was released, followed by Nero a Metà in 1980, and that same year Daniele was invited to open for reggae superstar Bob Marley for his show in Milan, with an attendance of more than 100.000 people it was by far its greatest show ever played. During the next few years the artist continued exploring his various Mediterranean, African, and Western inspirations, found in albums like Common Ground, a collaboration with Richie Havens, and the Middle Eastern-influenced Bonne Soirée, as well as writing soundtracks for films by his close friend Massimo Troisi.

Being active until its very last moment, Pino Daniele had released several albums, cinema soundtracks, television performances, world-tours, and countless collaborations. He is one of the most famous Italian musicians in the world and we simply thank you, Ragazzo!

Let’s go to our album:

On Tour 1981

Easy to say that Pino’s first five albums are absolutely mandatory, from 1977 to 1982 his career skyrocketed and then he continued to search new forms of expression through multiple collaborations and live performances in a very fruitful career. Nero A Metà sold over 300,000 copies and is present in the ranking of the 100 most important Italian records ever according to Rolling Stone Italia at position number 17. (!)

Pino’s thoughts about this album:

‘The title “Nero a Metà”, tied to a musical concept, was inspired by a beautiful book published in the ’70s, “Nero di Puglia”, which narrates the story of a colored man born in the South, a little like my friend James Senese’s story. Useless to say that my favorite piece is “Quanno Chiove”, one of my first love songs. We wanted to change things and music helped us a lot.’

Nero A Metà Promo

The ‘IM’ highlights are Quanno Chiove (probably one of the most beautiful love songs ever) and A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues (a funk-prog blues to stir up ANYTHING). Genio!

Tracks Include:

A1 I Say I’ Sto Ccà
A2 Musica Musica
A3 Quanno Chiove
A4 Puozze Passà’ Nu Guaio
A5 Voglio Di Più
A6 Appocundria
B1 A Me Me Piace ‘O Blues
B2 E So’ Cuntento ‘E Stà’
B3 Nun Me Scoccià’
B4 Alleria
B5 A Testa In Giù
B6 Sotto ‘O Sole

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar: Pino Daniele
Bass: Aldo Mercurio, Gigi De Rienzo
Congas: Karl Potter
Drums: Agostino Marangolo, Mauro Spina
Harmonica: Bruno De Filippi
Keyboards: Ernesto Vitolo
Percussion: Rosario Iermano, Tony Cercola (Astà)
Tenor Saxophone: James Senese
Backing Vocals: Enzo Avitabile

Lyrics and Music by Pino Daniele

Arranged By: Pino Daniele (tracks: A1 to A6, B2 to B6)
Arranged By: Gigi De Rienzo (tracks: B1)

Credits

Mixed By: Allan Goldberg (tracks: A1 to B2, B4 to B5), Gaetano Ria (tracks: B3, B6), Marcello Todaro (tracks: B3, B6)

Photography By: Cesar Monti
Producer: Willy David, Marcello Todaro, Pino Daniele
Recorded By: Allan Goldberg

Co-Producer: Gigi De Rienzo, Rosario Iermano
Artwork: Cesar Monti, Willy David
Engineer: Nick Lovallo
Graphics: Wanda Monti

Management: Totò Iacobone, Willy David
Management (Personal Manager): Joseph Lodato

Notes

EMI ‎– 3C 064-18468 / 12-2-80.

Registrato e mixato allo “Stone Castle Studio” tranne “Nun Me Scoccià'” e “Sotto ‘O Sole” mixati al “Trafalgar Recording Studio” (ottobre ’79 – gennaio ’80).

Naples Alley (RIP)

Samira Tawfik (سميرة توفيق) – Ya Marhaban (196x)

samira 3 cópiaWe had a small break in the pace of updates due to the elections held in October here in Brazil, therefore, it is likely that this month will be a bit slower than usual, but don’t worry, the average rate will be kept on our Facebook, as we’re trying to extend our sharing network in a more regular schedule, based on documentaries, live presentations, and rare film clips. Join us, leave a word and be welcomed to the ‘IM’!

Let’s go to our artist:

In terms of popularity and international recognition, the popular singers from Egypt and Lebanon respectively were those who had more success in spreading the Arab culture worldwide since the mid-50s. On the Egyptian side, Umm Kulthum (greatest female Arabic singer in history!), Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Farid al-Atrash and Abdel Halim Hafez, are the four greatest icons from the twentieth century.

The Lebanese side got plenty of female stars like Fairuz, Sabah, Majida El Roumi and lastly but not least, Samīra Ġusṭīn Karīmūna. Here we got its third entry!

Samira Tawfik, 60's
Samira Tawfik, 60’s

The previous posts from her got its full biography, film clips and a little essay about Lebanon, amongst other details. Feel free to travel along with these entries and enjoy it!

Let’s go to our album:

A single from the (late?) 60’s with fine sound quality, in what might be the apex of Samira’s career, starring dozens of films, endless tours and multiples releases (Lp’s and singles) throughout the Arabic world. This fantastic single, one of my favorites from her, takes a plunge inside traditional folklore, a bit different from the 90’s last entry, where there’s no electric guitar or synths, but the usual Arabic band style with female/male chorus, strings, and tight percussion. Lastly, don’t forget to check its youtube channel full of various performances at different times in her lasting career!

Tracks Include:

A Ya Marhaban

B Asmar Kahil Al Ain

Voix du Liban – Vlexa 33

Beirut's Neighborhood
Beirut’s Neighborhood