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.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

TINNA -- Shining Sky

I discovered the female vocal duo of TINNA within the pages of "Japanese City Pop" a few years ago and had wondered about how they sounded. TINNA consisted of singer-lyricist Tomoko Soryo(惣領智子)and Japanese-American singer Mariko Takahashi(高橋真理子...not to be confused with the vocalist originally from Pedro & Capricious...高橋真梨子), and although their J-Wiki page has their time together as being 1979-1981, they were apparently together as of 1976 when they came up with this song "Shining Sky".

"Shining Sky" was the theme song for the music radio program, "Music Sky Holiday" on Nippon Broadcasting System which lasted from 1976 to 1984 in its first incarnation as hosted by Ryoko Taki(滝良子). Sponsored by All Nippon Airways, the program, which was broadcast on Sunday nights, seemed to specialize on the mellow music covered by AOR, New Music and City Pop according to what I have heard from the 15-minute excerpt above. And "Shining Sky" has that melodic feeling that would make it the perfect theme for that ubiquitous image for that plane symbolizing City Pop itself. Plus, Soryo and Takahashi had a vocal style which reminded me of vocal groups Hi-Fi Set and Circus.

The purpose of the program seemed to be to transport the listeners off to footloose and fancy-free lands, thanks to the mix of Western/Japanese songs and light and pleasant banter between the co-hosts.

I wasn't quite able to follow all of the talk and conversation with Taki and her colleague, but listening to "Music Sky Holiday", I could imagine what inspired my old favourite radio program of "Sounds of Japan" from decades back. Plus, listening to the program reminded me of my days in the 80s when I was listening to radio everyday as I was studying after dinner or pulling all-nighters. My interest in listening to all sorts of music, not just Japanese, was born in that decade and that fueled my habit of spinning the dial all throughout the AM and FM bands as I tuned in stations like CHUM, CHFI, CFNY and CFTR.

However, my old hobby almost instantly shrunk to nothingness after graduating from U of T in 1989 and then heading over to Japan for my JET stint. Compared to the crowded airwaves in North America, Japanese radio was a relative desert, and what irked me about the format at the time was that there just seemed to be too much talk and truncated songs as if the record companies basically declared "If you want to hear the whole thing, pay us!" Besides, I was just getting too much into Japanese variety TV and enjoying my quickly growing collection of CDs.

By the time I got back to Toronto, I was totally weaned off of radio and then heading back to Japan to start my 2nd stint in Ichikawa, I actually lived in an area which was notoriously bad for picking up radio transmissions. All my radio-listening hobby now needed was a gravestone to cap off its death. So, listening to this old NBS radio program was refreshingly nostalgic. In fact, I wrote this whole article while listening to the two excerpts above.

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