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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Akemi Ishii -- Lambada (ランバダ)

Years before the Macarena enraptured the planet for a short while, I was witness to another dance phenomenon that had swept Earth (including Japan) for a good year...or at least, the song that the folks danced to did.

I am talking about the the time, I had no idea where it descended from exactly, only that it took hold within Japanese pop culture via variety shows and music programs. There was no way to escape it from 1989 to 1990. As much as the songs of Wink and Princess Princess filled the air, the Lambada also managed to carve its aural niche.

Akemi Ishii(石井明美)was the one singer who decided to do a cover version of "Lambada" as her 8th single released in March 1990. As someone who also fell under the thrall of the Latin rhythm, I not only ended up getting her cover via her 4th album, "Nettaiya"(熱帯夜...Sultry Night)which came out later in July, but I also got the original version by French-Brazilian pop unit, Kaoma, via CD single (released in 1989). And I'm still glad that I got that single, too, since whenever I do pop it into the player, I get all those feels from my JET days once again.

The crazy thing, though, is that Kaoma really wasn't responsible for the original version. And "Lambada" wasn't really the original title.

"Llorando se fue" was the birth title (in Japan, it is known as "Nakinagara"...泣きながら/While Crying), and it was released all the way back in 1981 by the Bolivian folk band, Los Kjarkas. Translated as "Crying, He/She Went Away", the true original was quite a bit more laid back in delivery unlike its peppy incarnation as "Lambada". Los Kjarkas got rather peppy as well since Kaoma apparently did an unauthorized interpretation of the song which resulted in the worldwide phenomenon. One lawsuit later, the latter started paying the licensing fees to the former, and presumably, Los Kjarkas was dancing its own way to the bank.

"Llorando se fue" was written and composed by Ulises Hermosa and Gonzalo Hermosa. As for the Ishii cover, Kaoru Asagi(麻木かおる)took care of the Japanese lyrics.

I never dared to dance to the Lambada, and especially now I would most likely break my hip instead of shaking it.

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