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.

Friday, May 4, 2018

NOVO/Toi et Moi -- Ai wo Sodateru(愛を育てる)

Rather inspired by my discovery of Tomoko Fujita(藤田朋子)as a singer today and then coming across Yutaka Yokokura(横倉裕)as the producer for her debut album "The Woman In Me", I was interested in finding out more about Yokokura who also goes by the full-cap name of YUTAKA. According to his Wikipedia and J-Wiki entries, the Tokyo-born singer is also well versed as an instrumentalist being proficient on piano, other keyboards and the koto.

The above video has a track from a 2013 album, "Love Is There ~ NOVO Complete Works" paying tribute to the band NOVO of which YUTAKA was a member in the 1970s. The song "Ai wo Sodateru" (Nurturing Love) with its English title of "Love Is There" on this particular release is a lovely bossa version with Aoi Fujikawa(藤川あおい)sharing the mike with Yokokura. There is something very 1980s David Foster and even Carpenters about the arrangement here. Wouldn't mind sipping a cup of coffee by the sunset as I listen to this.

NOVO's original version of "Ai wo Sodateru" was released as the band's first single in 1973. Although I prefer the new and improved version from "Love Is There ~ NOVO Complete Works", original "Ai wo Sodateru" is also quite sunny with that feeling of the 60s and 70s.

But the source doesn't lie with NOVO, at least not completely. The very first version of the song was as a lush commercial jingle for the Asahi Kasei Corporation which focuses on chemicals and materials science according to its Wikipedia entry. The band behind "Ai wo Sodateru" here was the folk group Toi et Moi(トワ・エ・モア), and not seeing the song in their discography, I surmised that it was probably never released as an official single but as truly something just for the company. The commercial supposedly came out in 1971.

Kunihiko Murai(村井邦彦)was behind the music with Michio Yamagami(山上路夫)taking care of the lyrics which incorporated the Asahi Kasei name. I'm assuming that one of the members of NOVO, perhaps YUTAKA himself, made the appropriate changes to the words when making "Ai wo Sodateru" their own.

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