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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Nami Hirai -- Tayumanai Yoru ni(たゆまない夜に)

A good evening to you. In addition to those late 80s solo aidoru songs that I have been perusing recently, I've kept up searching for some more songs in the urban contemporary genre by singers that I've yet to learn about.

So I've found one intriguing song performed by such a singer. Nami Hirai(平井菜水)is a singer-songwriter from Nagasaki who won the grand prize at the Fukuoka Music Festival Big Contest in 1983 and later attended the Masaaki Hirao Music School. She made her debut in 1990 with the single "Mezame"(めざめ...Waking)that became the ending theme for the long-running TV variety show "Shitteiru Tsumori?!"(知ってるつもり?!...Do You Really Know About It ?!)on NTV. In fact, her next two singles also fulfilled the same role for the next couple of years.

However, the subject of this article is actually the final track for her 1993 2nd album "Te no Hira no Tanpenshuu"(てのひらの短編集...A Collection of Short Stories in the Palm of Your Hand), quite the atmospheric title. "Tayumanai Yoru ni" (On This Unending Night) caught my notice since it seems to straddle a few genres at once through its arrangement. It can be considered to be a pop ballad but there is something of the city-at-night feeling to it which could also place it in a latter-day City Pop setting. At the same time, I can envision even some enka singers such as Sayuri Ishikawa(石川さゆり)and Aya Shimazu(島津亜矢)tackling this one as well so perhaps it may even be a Mood Kayo tune in a way. Furthermore, that languid evening arrangement and Hirai's soft-and-slightly smoky delivery had me thinking about Ruiko Kurahashi's(倉橋ルイ子)numbers from the 1980s.

Etsuko Kisugi(来生えつ子)and her brother Takao Kisugi(来生たかお)were responsible for the creation of "Tayumanai Yoru ni", and the sibling team knows a thing or two about bringing together a nice lush ballad. As for Hirai, she released a total of 5 singles between 1990 and 1994, and 3 original albums. A Golden Best compilation came out in 2011. In 2002, she joined her alma mater of the Masaaki Hirao Music School as an instructor at the Fukuoka branch.

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