I had been thinking of what song from Hachiro Kasuga's (春日八郎) extensive repertoire I should write about, and I narrowed it down to "Furusato wa Toi Sora" (故郷は遠い空) and "Nigate Nandayo". The former I got to know via an episode of "Shin Nippon no Uta"; Teruo Ikeda (池田輝郎) had sung it, and when it was made known that Hachi was its original singer, I wasn't surprised - both their voices have a similar quality so it was like hearing Kasuga sing it. The latter was discovered in that 4 CD enka compilation album I found a while ago. Looking at that album now, I'm glad to say that I recognize half of those presented on its cover, as well as more songs from the playlists.
I decided to go with "Nigate Nandayo", since I had known it for a much longer period of time and have been listening to it, and I only heard "Furusato wa Toi Sora" just that one time.
When I first bought the album, "Nigate Nandayo" was one of the few songs I had dared to listen to, mainly because it was sung by a singer I recognized - bear in mind that it was during that time where I still wasn't very familiar with old enka. Truth be told I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a Hachi song I knew. Nevertheless, I listened to it anyway, and it was actually quite easy on the ears and a little whimsical sounding. Speaking of whimsical sounding, in the version I've been listening to, Hachi's warbling seemed higher and more nasally than what I'm used to, it's as if he sucked in helium right before singing it. Probably because he was younger; it was sung earlier in his career in 1957.
As for its meaning, when Hachi sang "Okyaku-San ni..." I had an inkling that "Nigate Nandayo" might be about a some fellow working tirelessly as a wait staff at a drinking establishment, taking orders from customers, wiping table and clearing glasses. Though not 100% accurate, at least I got the bar bit down. From the translation I read just a few days ago, it's about our bar singer protagonist receiving a request from the customers to sing a song about his hometown, and while doing so, he gets choked up with emotions that he can't help but shed a couple of tears. Lucky for him, the customers are able to empathize with him as they are also going through the same predicament. Not your typical bokyo enka tune, I must say, where the victim of homesickness is usually the one drinking and listening to the music.
Isao Hayashi (林伊佐緒) took care of the music while Ryo Yano (矢野亮) did the lyrics.
|This is the album I was talking about,|
by the way.