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, July 14, 2021

Rie Kitahara -- Suiheisen(水平線)


Welcome to another Hump Day on "Kayo Kyoku Plus". It's been a hot and steamy day here in the GTA and since I had a big errand to run outside for several hours, I'm very glad to be back inside air conditioned comfort.

As such, something summery and relaxing is in order. Today, it's another mystery represented by a singer that I couldn't find much about online. Her name is Rie Kitahara(北原理絵)and apparently she shares the same name with a member from one of Yasushi Akimoto's(秋元康)alphabet aidoru groups and a porn actress, although the syllabary for each of the three names is different. However, unlike the aidoru and the actress, Kitahara doesn't have a J-Wiki article and I could only find information vis-à-vis the one album whose track I'm covering here right now.

The April 1984 album is "Minami Kaze"(南風)although the cover is emblazoned with the direct translation of "South Wind", and according to what I could glean from the images of the liner notes, Kitahara was perhaps dabbling in the jazz or Latin music genres. She was covering some rather well-known tunes such as "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Agua de Beber". My compliments to whoever came up with the very 80s design for the album cover (and Kitahara's sultry expression).

"Suiheisen" (Horizon) is actually a cover of the 1936 standard "Poinciana" created by composer Nat Simon with lyrics by Buddy Bernier. I hadn't known what poinciana meant but I was wondering about the famous Xmas flower, the poinsettia, and as it turns out, a poinciana is a flowering plant of the Caribbean. Listening to a couple of different versions of the original song, I think Kitahara's cover does nestle nicely over the jazz, Latin and AOR genres. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the lyricist behind the Japanese words.

I did find this soft and comfy instrumental version by pianist Gianpietro Gozzi which was recorded in 2017. Another nice thing is that Gozzi's playing reminds me of either Bill Evans or Vince Guaraldi. As for Kitahara, I don't know whether she put out any other albums or singles.

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