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, December 2, 2015

Megumi Hayashibara -- Caravan ~Yuujou~ (キャラバン 友情)

Although I certainly know the majority of songs that were recorded by Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ) over the years, sometimes I discover some rare and odd songs that were not “absorbed” by her official discography. One of the last times it happened was in early 2014 when I listened to “Caravan ~Yuujou~” for the first time, and, as I fan, almost fell out of my chair.

Apparently, “Caravan ~Yuujou~” is a song originally recorded by a singer called Satoko Shimizu (清水咲斗子), and it served as the second ending to the anime “Tenkuu Senki Shurato” (天空戦記 シュラト) in late 1989/early 1990. By that time, Hayashibara was still a new aidoru beginning her career as a successful seiyuu/singer, so her role in this anime was small, and she wasn’t chosen as the main singer for openings and endings (even though she performed some insert songs, like the already covered “Still Waiting”, for example). However, she recorded her own version of “Caravan ~Yuujou~” for one Shurato Drama CD in 1990, even though it was never included in her discography, which only officially started in 1991 with the release of “Half and, Half”. Honestly, I’m waiting it to be included in one future best of album, as she finally started packing old and lost songs from her 25 years old career... but let’s see if “Caravan ~Yuujou~” will be part of this project. Personally, I hope so. Let’s see why.

Surely, the Middle-Eastern arrangement in “Caravan ~Yuujou~” is quite impressive, and it constantly reminds of of Akina Nakamori’s (中森明菜) “SAND BEIGE -Sabaku e-(砂漠へ). Not that the songs are truly similar, but it’s almost impossible for me not to remember it while listening to “Caravan ~Yuujou~”... probably because of the mystic vibe shared by both songs.

Besides the arrangement, the main reason why I cherish this song is, of course, because of Megumi’s vocals. As she was new to the game, we can’t really expect an amazing rendition, but her haunting singing really combined well with “Caravan ~Yuujou~’s” overall mystic and dreamy sound. Her voice also seems a little bit uncontrolled if compared to a more restrained singing that experienced singers are able to provide. As a fan, I surely like this raw vocal performance, so it’s not a problem for me.

To finish, here’s Shurato’s ending with Satoko Shimizu’s original version of “Caravan ~Yuujou~”. Even though I prefer Megumi’s version for obvious reasons, the original singer is also very good. Well, trying to be a little more reasonable, I truly think Megumi’s haunting delivery was more suitable to “Caravan ~Yuujou~”, so that’s it... a somewhat objective reason.

As a side note, Shurato aired in Brazil when I was a little kid, but I don’t have any memories of it. In fact, I don’t know if I ever watched it.

Lyrics for “Caravan ~Yuujou~” were written by Takashi Kudo (工藤崇), while music and arrangement were composed by Hiroya Watanabe (渡辺博也). edited image from Megumi's "Northern Lights" (2002) photoshoot


  1. Hello, Marcos.

    I quite enjoyed "Caravan". There is definitely some of that hint of "Sand Beige" but also some of those "exotic" kayo which had a small boom back in the late 70s. I especially liked the light traveling beat that inhabited both versions.

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      "Caravan" is quite an odd and lost piece in Hayashibara's discography, but I like its sound very much. It's strange to realise she has not recorded more "exotic" songs through her career (I'm not counting Latin songs, of course).

      Like I said in the post, I hope she includes it in a future best of release (there's one coming in February, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed).


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