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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Naomi Chiaki -- Yakan Hiko (夜間飛行)

Saw NHK's "Kayo Concert"(歌謡コンサート)tonight which had the theme of Dream Duets. However with guests Kalafina and Nana Mizuki(水樹奈々), I kinda wondered if there were a major injection of the anime genre in there as well.

However for this article, I wanted to refer back to the episode from a week ago. Plus, after serving the "Kayo Kyoku Plus" equivalent of a sugary gumdrop of an article earlier this afternoon, I think I needed to provide something quite a bit more shibui on the order of some grilled sanma and a bowl of heaping white rice. So, allow me to offer Naomi Chiaki's(ちあきなおみ)"Yakan Hiko"(Night Flight)from June 1973.

Singer Sachiko Shiina(椎名佐千子)performed the song last week and I enjoyed it enough that I wanted to look it up afterwards. Y'know, I wasn't surprised that it had originally been performed by Naomi Chiaki; it has that languid and wistful melody with the wonderfully piercing trumpet by Taiji Nakamura(中村泰士). And the lyrics by Ou Yoshida(吉田旺)bespeak of a woman leaving a love affair in The City of Lights with a mix of happiness and sadness. It has that "two ships passing in the night" sort of feeling. "Yakan Hiko" even contains an in-flight announcement.

Taiji Nakamura's(中村泰士)music is pretty interesting. It starts with what I would call a twinkly flourish of strings (yes, I did say twinkly) that I had never heard in any kayo kyoku before, but then that familiar trumpet comes in. The first number of seconds when Chiaki starts singing makes it sound as if "Yakan Hiko" will be a triumphant march toward the airport although she sings about being on the edge of tears. Then, the beat suddenly slows down to a more leisurely pace which takes up most of the song as Chiaki talks of her parting of such sweet sorrow. It's as if the entire ballad reflects the woman keeping up that brave face as she heads for Departures while she's actually feeling very melancholy inside. The melodic path is a bit unusual but Chiaki's smoky vocals are very reassuring for me.

Also my opinion is that "Yakan Hiko" doesn't quite fit the genre of Mood Kayo but according to the J-Wiki article on the song, when it was released, it was considered to be an example of Dramatic Kayo. Now, I'm not sure whether a whole swath of songs in the early 70s fell into this sub-genre but a couple of other Chiaki tunes, "Kassai"(喝采)and "Gekijo"(劇場...The Stage)were included. And both of them were also created by the duo of Yoshida and Nakamura.

Her 15th single managed to make it as high as No. 15 on Oricon and Chiaki received another invitation to come aboard the Kohaku Utagassen of 1973.

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