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.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Itsuro Shimoda -- Odoriko(踊り子)


In terms of weather today, it's a bit damp and gloomy out there. Also, some of that cold air is wafting into my room but it's not too uncomfortable for the moment as I type this in.

Moreover, it seems to be the ideal atmosphere for this beautiful folk song by singer-songwriter Itsuro Shimoda(下田逸郎). In all honesty, I'd never heard of this Miyazaki Prefecture-born folk singer before but he possesses this wonderful character in his voice which relates profound sadness and wistfulness. 

Shimoda has been active since 1967 but his first record didn't come out until the early 1970s. His third single, and the topic of this article, is "Odoriko" (Dancing Girl) in October 1974, which was also arranged by Masayoshi Takanaka(高中正義). A melancholy ballad that comes across as regret over a failed relationship as each partner is now looking for someone else, the melody by Shimoda has a very woodsy and ancient sensation. I'd say that it's even more fantastical than the average J-Folk song since I can easily imagine dwarves, elves and Orcs in this setting than I can Tokyo rivers, ordinary young folk and tiny tatami apartments.

His career in entertainment continued into the mid-1980s with singles and albums being released. But the singer then took a break of sorts for several years within Japan and outside of the country before returning to singing sometime in his 40s. Although he stopped putting out singles in the 1980s, he has been releasing albums up to 2018. His J-Wiki article stated that he was influenced by fellow folk singer-songwriter Chiharu Matsuyama(松山千春), and sure enough, Matsuyama below is covering "Odoriko".

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