It's a pity that I had not bothered to pay attention, let alone listen, to Goro Kagami (鏡五郎), even after watching him perform on a few uneventful, forgettable episodes of "Nippon no Uta" a while ago - I'd usually be spacing out at times like that. But all this time I had been missing out on Kagami's pleasant and smooth singing voice that was not nasally or husky, as I had once envisioned him to sound. I only learnt of it while listening to "Ah Furusato yo" (あゝふるさとよ), which was a collaboration with fellow enka singers Teruo Ikeda (池田輝郎) - the reason for checking it out - and Shinichi Sasaki (佐々木新一), and it was only then where I popped my usual question upon realization, "Why haven't I been listening to this guy more often?"
And so, to answer my own question... a few months later (this weekend)... I got myself to check out "Kagamigawa", one of Kagami's recent singles released early in 2015, since I had seen it on the Oricon enka-yo charts a number of times. For most of the song, "Kagamigawa" is elegant with the all those strings, the occasional accordion and shakuhachi, and then there's also the thundering drums that make it quite manly and dramatic. However, in that one line before each chorus, the gentle score turned menacing with the deep blare of the trumpets; it actually gave me a little fright with how quickly it became intense and severe, it did not help that I was listening to the song at a high volume. And after Kagami sang about half of that one sentence, the music switched back to its elegant self at the drop of a hat. Talk about unpredictable! This was brought to you by Takeaki Yamazaki (山崎剛昭).
As the title, "Kagamigawa", implies, this song is based on the Kagami river in the Kochi prefecture, and from what I understand from the lyrics that Toshiya Niitani (仁井谷俊也) penned, it's about life being similar to that of a river... or at least the Kagami river.
Heh, Kagami Goro singing "Kagamigawa"... ...