I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ryoko Moriyama/Sumiko Yamagata -- Ame Agari no Samba (雨上がりのサンバ)

One of the loveliest folk singers to ever grace the Japanese stage, Ryoko Moriyama(森山良子) was born in 1948 to a 2nd-generation Japanese-American jazz trumpeter and a former jazz singer, so the genes for a life in music were there. Her most famous song is the epic "Sato Kibi Batake"さとうきび畑....The Sugar Cane Fields), which dealt with the sugar cane fields of Okinawa under which the dead from World War II's Battle of Okinawa are buried.

However, my first experience of Moriyama came via "Ame Agari no Samba"(Samba After the Rain), a wonderful bossa nova tune to finish off a Friday night (like tonight). I first heard it on the radio program "The Sounds of Japan"years ago and spent a long time searching for the actual song until YouTube came along to help out. Moriyama may be famous for her folk music, but she can also give a wonderful Latin lilt. I would love to hear it by her in concert. The song was actually a B-side to "Chiisana Kaigara"(小さな貝がら....A Little Shell) released in May 1968.

"Ame Agari no Samba"was originally written by Michio Yamagami (山上路夫) and composed by Kunihiko Murai(村井邦彦). A decade after Moriyama's version, folk singer-turned-New Musician Sumiko Yamagata(やまがたすみこ) also did a fine cover version as part of her 1978 album, "Emerald Shower". Yamagata's version has a bit more Latin flavour thrown in.

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