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

Martha Elefteriadu ‎– Kresby Tuší (1980)

Welcome back to you all! Needless to say, how thrill I am today with this spectacular album, a real kaleidoscope of genres brought you by one of the greatest artists in former Czechoslovakia. Getting to know her better, unfortunately, I noticed that this album was an odd point of alternation in its career, founded basically on Soul Beat and then Pop Folk.

Always side by side with her beloved sister, this unique solo entry has brought us so many colors that I wonder why she gave up on this very bold path. Anyhow, we present this one that should be revered as one of the milestone records from former Czechoslovakia and as if an entire constellation of musicians was not enough, its richness is present, in the arrangements, special participations, multiple orchestras, and lush atmosphere!

Does it look good to you? Because it is much more than you can imaginePřipravit Se!

Let’s go to our artist:

The Elefteriadu’s – the 50s

Martha Elefteriadu (September 12, 1946 Bulkes, Yugoslavia) is a Czech singer of Greek origin, half of the duo Martha a Tena, together with her sister Tena. Their family emigrated from Greece because of the Greek Civil War and settled in 1950 in former Czechoslovakia. Their mother died while they were children, so they grew up in orphanages, she spent her childhood with her sister, in many children‘s homes (more than five, actually), which were reserved for Greek refugees, including one in Ivančice.

At the end of the 1960s, the sisters met a guitarist Aleš Sigmund from band Vulkán, who helped them create strong creative and musical foundations. They worked in Vulkán between 1966 and 1970, partly with another sibling couple, Hana and Petr Ulrych.

Martha A Tena – 1969

Their first records are from 1968, in 1970 they released their first LP record with Panton Records Dál Než Slunce Vstává. They quickly established themselves in Czech Pop music also collaborating with many notable artists such as Skupina Aleše Sigmunda, Bob Frídl, Gustav Brom Orchestra, Pavel Novák, and Jiří Suchý. The gals managed to continuously be active reaching stardom throughout the 1970s with countless participations and prizes at festivals, musicals, plays, TV shows, and tours not only within Czechoslovakia. (!)

Live, in the 70s

By the end of the decade, they had already released more than 30 albums and compacts! Ranging between pop-folk and Greek music. Martha later studied psychology, while at the same time devoted yourself professionally to music, since then, both sisters have been the stars of Czech popular music. Martha and Tena enriched Czech culture with their southern temperament and Greek spontaneity. At present, they focus mainly on the interpretation of Greek folk songs, the teaching of Greek dances, cuisine, books and occasionally performing, their latest album came out in 2005, besides greatest hits records and such.

Let’s go to our album:

Sister Love

How to understand a record that did not have a tour, who faced major problems with the censorship, and with modest participation in sales charts could bear the 1981 album of the year by Melodia magazine? Despite all these, (at least the critics seem to get it by the time) Kresby Tuší (Ink Drawings) remains intact by the passage of time thanks to its multiple composers, lyricists, orchestras (!) and gala participation of musicians like Michael Kocáb (arranger), but also by Dežo Ursiny, Vladimír Mišík, Vladimír Merta and Oskar Petr.

Martha delivers us a fabulous variation of art-rock, jazz, fusion, bossa nova, funk and more. It feels lush, dark and dense all over, but it also has its (brief) sunny moments.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Hrál Sis Hrál and Vítám Slunce Ranní.

Tracks Include:

A1 Dvě Kresby Tuší I.
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

A2 Měla Jsem Vždycky Smůlu
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Dežo Ursiny

A3 Proměna
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Vladimír Mišík

A4 Hrál Sis Hrál
Lyrics By: Pavel Fiala
Music By: Pavel Větrovec

A5 Výlet Po Řece
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

A6 Kde? Kdy? Já A Ty
Written By: Vladimír Merta

B1 Mám Ráda Běh
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B2 Melancholická Noc
Lyrics By: Jiří Dědeček
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B3 Vítám Slunce Ranní
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Dežo Ursiny

B4 Podzimní Odpoledne
Lyrics By: Martha Elefteriadu
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B5 Tohle Že Máš Být Ty?
Lyrics By: Martha Elefteriadu
Music By: Michael Kocáb

B6 Dvě Kresby Tuší II.
Lyrics By: Pavel Kopta
Music By: Michael Kocáb

Musicians

Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals: Vladimír Merta (tracks: A6)
Bass Guitar, Contrabass: Ondřej Soukup
Drums: Ladislav Malina, Vratislav Placheta
Electric Piano, Piano, Synthesizer: Michael Kocáb
Guitar: Jiří Špidra, Martin Koubek
Percussion: Jiří Tomek
Harmonica: Ondřej Konrád

Backing Band (Studiová Skupina): Studiová Skupina Michaela Kocába

Oboe: Jiří Kaniak
Flute: Jiří Stivín
Clarinet: František Pušman
Alto Saxophone: Antonín Nachtman,  Miroslav Krýsl
Baritone Saxophone: František Kryka
Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone: Jan Kubík
Tenor Saxophone: Bedřich Kuník, Milan Ulrich
Trombone: Jiří Doubrava, Josef Pavelka, Mirko Koželuh, Svatopluk Košvanec
Trumpet: Jiří Hlava, Laco Deczi, Vlastimil Voňavka, Zdeněk Šedivý

Strings: Jan Mráček, Jiří Fišer, Jiří Rajniš, Květomír Řezníček
Strings, Orchestra: Smyčcový Orchestr Oliver Dohnányi
Violin: Jan Hrubý

Vocals: Dežo Ursiny (tracks: B3),
Hana Hostková-Löfflerová (tracks: A2),
Helena Viktorinová (tracks: B5),
Lída Nopová (tracks: A2), Marie Jakoubková (tracks: A2, B5),
Michael Kocáb (tracks: B1), Tena Elefteriadu (tracks: B3)

Conductor (Smyčcový Orchestr Řídí): Oliver Dohnányi

Arranged By: Michael Kocáb

Credits

Cover: Václav Šimice
Engineer: Jan Štěpánek, Petr Podlešák
Photography By: Taras Kuščynskyj
Producer: Ondřej Konrád
Recording Supervisor: Pavel Kühn, Svatoslav Rychlý

Notes

Panton ‎– 8113 0039

Record Company: Panton, Vydavatelství Českého Hudebního Fondu
Recorded At: Studio Smetanova Divadla
Pressed By: Gramofonové Závody

Nahráno ve studiu Smetanova divadla v Praze, 1979—1980

Dnešek

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

Léonie – Le Jardin Anglais / Mozart (1973)

capa cópiaAnother brief entry, as we previously talked about Léonie and its (surprising) short career, based on 45 singles, started in the late-60’s amidst the french yé-yé scene. The dossier from this unknown singer can be checked in Hero Culte blog, don’t miss out the detective work from tiny noggin and other curiosities about French stars!

Let’s go to our album:

This time, she is backed up with the mighty arrangements/compositions by the number one french maestro Jean Claude Vannier. Léonie’s peculiar sensual voice stands out on its 5th release, she knows how to be pop and cult simultaneously.

A side has a characteristic (slower) charleston piano/xylophone pace, played by Vannier, along with strings and wizardry guitars in a vintage delicate atmosphere.

B side are my favorite, this fuzzy psych ballad has a magic cadency that sticks to the head, an example of how you can be pop without neglecting good aesthetic choices!

Léonie (Martine Collet)
Léonie (Martine Collet)

I really would like to count on better quality rips, but the fact is none of her singles were duly re-released on CD, this and other entries are a good invitation to meet the B-side on what is called Pop Jerk, somewhat ahead from the naive (early) works of France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, CélineFrançoise HardySéverine, and many others.

We’ll leave for an upcoming entry, more details about the yé-yé scene and its powerful independent girls, for now, keep it up with this lovely obscure pearl.

Haerenga Pai!

Tracks Include:

A Le Jardin Anglais (J.C. Vannier, Roda Gil)

B Mozart (J.C. Vannier)

Credits

  • Orchestra: Orchestre J.C. Vannier
  • Photography: Thierry Vincent
  • Producer: Thierry Vincent
  • Published: Editions Suzelle (A)
  • Published: Editions Labrador (B)
  • Distributed: Discodis
  • Printed: Dillard et Cie. Imp. Paris

Les Disques Motors ‎– MT 4030

Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy
Sylvie Vartan & Françoise Hardy