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.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Char -- Kagerou (かげろう)

Usually when I hear the word "char", outside of the usual definition of "burning to a crisp", I've heard it used to describe a famous anime villain or that fish found all the way up north. However for the purposes of this blog, I'm using the word to define a Japanese musician and singer.

This Char was born Hisato Takenaka(竹中尚人)in 1955 in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo. And the reason he chose "Char" to be his stage name was that his first name could technically also be read "Cha-to" which then got shortened to "Cha~" or just "Char". Even more fascinating was that by the time he got to his twenties, the rock guitarist had already been involved with several bands starting with FOX when he was just 11 years old, followed by JAH, GAS MASK, Shock, and Bad Scene. Moreover, he was already picking up work as a studio musician in his final year of junior high school!

In June 1976, Char released his debut single "Navy Blue" followed by his debut album "Char" which came out in September that year. And this article has to do with the second track from that album "Kagerou" (Heat Haze). A commenter on "Kayo Kyoku Plus" referred me to a list of favored City Pop performers by a Brazilian musician and found his name on the list. In fact, I had heard of Char through literature such as magazines and newspapers but never heard any of his work.

"Kagerou" has Char's rock guitar in there but the whole song has that funky vibe which would put the song in the City Pop category. It would make for a nice strutting song in any city on the planet but heck, why not walk down Chuo-Dori in Tokyo to this tune? There's some nice bass, keyboard work reminiscent of Stevie Wonder, and Char's guitar solo along with the background chorus of "doo, doo, doo". I couldn't find out officially but I'm pretty sure that the song was written and composed by Char himself.

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