"Mambo U" is another entry from Duke Aces' "Nihon no Uta Series" (「にほんのうた」シリーズ)and the prefecture of focus would be Gifu. Frankly, when I stumbled upon this interesting song on YouTube over the weekend, I had no idea that "Mambo U" is part of this series, I just thought that it's probably one of their other jazzy or weird-but-good ditties I had yet to discover. It was only when I saw the names of these songwriters, Rokusuke Ei (永六輔) and Taku Izumi (いずみたく), in the video's description did it finally dawn on me.
So what well-known thing in Gifu is being featured in Ei's lyrics this time? No, it's not temples, or hot springs or frogs. It's the "U" (鵜) or the cormorant, an aquatic bird I've seen in TV shows/documentaries (mostly on a province in China) diving into rivers and swallowing up fish before returning to their human employers (fishermen) and regurgitating the catch on to the bamboo boat. As it turns out, this method of fishing, known as Ukai (鵜飼... Cormorant fishing), is also used in Gifu City along the Nagaragawa River since the beginning of time, according to a tourist guide I visited to find out why a song on Gifu had featured this species of bird. Izumi's smooth, bossa nova styled music makes "Mambo U" quite whimsical and together with Mi-Chan's brassy baritone, it makes you imagine the city's brightly-lit night scene. I wonder if Izumi wanted it to that way since the Ukai is usually held in the evening?
"Mambo U" was released in 1969 and I think it's not one of Duke Aces' better known songs in the "Nihon no Uta Series" since I've never heard or seen of it until a few days ago. But dang it's really catchy!