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.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Shinji Tanimura & Yuzo Kayama -- Sarai (サライ)

Just last Saturday, I managed to catch Folk singer Masashi Sada's (さだ まさし) recent charity concert tour (shown on NHK) for the 2011 disasters, starting from his hometown of Nagasaki to Tohoku. Truth be told, I was a little bummed out since the showing of his concert took the place of 'BS Nippon no uta'. If 'Nippon no uta' were to go on as per normal, I would've been an episode closer to watching Kiyoshi Maekawa (前川 清)and Takashi Hosokawa (細川たかし) performing together for the show's 'Special stage'... so you can see the somewhat mild displeasure. Adding to that, the next two Saturdays were to be occupied by Sumo wrestling competitions... *Sigh*

However, the silver lining in that was that Mr Wakadaisho was one of the handful of special guests at Sada's concert. In total, Yuzo Kayama (加山雄三) sang 4 songs, including the heartwarming 'Kimi to itsumademo' (君といつまでも), as well as 'Sarai', a duet between Kayama and Shinji Tanimura (谷村新司). Since there was no Tanimura, Sada was the replacement. I have to admit, his impression of the leader of Folk-Rock group Alice (アリス) was pretty silly.


I've heard of 'Sarai' before when I discovered Kayama, but I merely acknowledged its existance. Only until hearing it on the aforementioned concert did I go, "Huh, this song actually sounds really good!" As expected from a collaboration between Chinpei with his renowned lyric-writing skills and The Wakadaisho settling the composing duties under his pen name Kosaku Dan (弾 厚作). Besides the relaxing music, you've got the contrasting voices of both singers; Tanimura with his higher, gentler and silvery vocals and Kayama with his stronger, deep husky voice taking turns to sing their parts.


The song was released in 1992 on November 16, and was the theme song for the 15th episode of what seems to be a charity show called '24 hour TV Aiwa chikyu wo suku' (24時間テレビ 「愛は地球を救う」), which had been airing every August since 1978. And if I didn't read wrongly, 'Sarai' had been sung as the show's ending theme since it was created. I must say, this song does sound like a good, nice way to round off such a show!

Here's some trivia about this song: It's title, 'Sarai' is actually a Persian word meaning 'Home', which fits with the song's theme 'Kokoro no furusato' ( 心のふるさと), or 'The heart's home'. Initially, the song was supposed to be called 'Sabaku no naka no oasis' (砂漠の中のオアシス), which meant 'The desert's oasis'. So they were deciding which fit the theme better, and eventually they settled with the more exotic sounding 'Sarai', which seemed to encapsulate the theme better.

Anyway, the song did quite alright, peaking at 20th position on the Oricon charts. And since it is literally the charity show's song, a portion of the CD sales and karaoke copyright thing went to charity. How thoughtful.

Here's them singing it in 2006


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for clearing up the mystery as to who the original singers were for "Sarai". I didn't know anything about the derivation of the title either. The song has become as connected to that NTV telethon as "Auld Lang Syne" has for the Kohaku (and the closing of any retail establishment).


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