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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Da Capo -- Yuki Moyo (雪もよう)

The annual Santa Claus Parade is coming to Toronto tomorrow which means that the Xmas season will begin. Actually, it's already begun in my neighbourhood shopping mall since the Santa Claus exhibit with Santa's chair is all built. Furthermore, the temperatures are about to plummet so that the high will be a mere 0 degrees Celsius on Sunday and there will be a fairly good possibility that snow will be making its first official appearance. Nothing more Xmas-y than that.🎅

So in honour of that meteorological possibility, I bring you a song with that feeling in mind: "Yuki Moyo" (Patterns in the Snow). Performed by the duo Da Capo (ダ・カーポ), this was released in February 1979 as their 17th single, and I found the date a bit interesting since the song sounds as if it had been released the better part of a decade before. I mean, the arrangement has that feeling of an early 1970s kayo (in fact, that opening note sounded like the beginning of an enka tune). And then there's the harmony generated by Hiroko Kubota and Masatoshi Sakakibara(久保田広子・榊原まさとし)that reminded me of some of those sweet-singing duos from that era and before. Usually when I think of the late 1970s in kayo kyoku, genres such as City Pop, chart-topping pop-rock and YMO technopop come more to mind.

"Yuki Moyo" was composed by Sakakibara and written by Akira Ito(伊藤アキラ)as a lovely lament about a lost opportunity in love in which a young lady admonishes herself for being so cold to a potential suitor and only discovers his worth too late. She compares herself to the snow that would have melted if it had touched his heart and compares him to the snow that she would have gladly endured if it had fallen on her. Oooh...that sweet-talkin' Ito! But ach, it's too late.

However the story of Da Capo progressed a lot more fortuitously. I've heard the name of this duo before and I just thought for some reason that they wanted to name themselves after some expression from "The Godfather". Ah...well...actually da capo is the musical term meaning "from the beginning". The duo opted for this name as a way to never forget where they came from.

And where they came from was a supermarket in Yokohama in 1971 when Kubota went over there to get training in preparation for taking over the family operation in her native Tochigi Prefecture. One day, she saw a poster asking for folks who were interested in music and friendship. Deciding to give it a try, the lady joined the Sakaki Music Lab which was run by Sakakibara's brother and she met her future partner. A couple of years later at a party, Kubota and Sakakibara then decided to form a singing partnership with their debut single "Natsu no Hi no Wasuremono"(夏の日の忘れもの...Something Forgotten from That Summer Day)in August 1973. For the rest of the decade, their popularity would grow as they sang tunes that ran across the genre spectrum from anison to folk.

Their partnership also evolved into a romantic one so they got married in 1980 with Kubota retiring for a few years while Sakakibara continued his career. However, Da Capo came back to sing some more from 1983.

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