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, May 23, 2021

Sachiko Kanenobu -- Aoi Sakana(青い魚)


Now and again, I've mentioned that one of my favourite Japanese singers, Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子), greatly admired Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Recently, I've discovered a singer-songwriter who was once called the Japanese Joni Mitchell.

Sachiko Kanenobu(金延幸子)is a folk singer from Osaka who started her career around 1968 when she participated in an annual folk camp at Houshaku Temple in Kyoto and from that experience, she became part of a band called Folk Campus. Another member of that unit was Kyozo Nishioka(西岡恭蔵). The following year, Kanenobu then joined another folk group called Gu(愚 ...Folly) which also included Ichizo Seo(瀬尾一三).

From 1972, she went solo and her first album, "Misora"(み空...Beautiful Sky), was released in September. Some of the tracks on "Misora" were produced by Happy End's Haruomi Hosono(細野晴臣), and members of that band also helped out in the production of the album such as the late singer-songwriter Eiichi Ohtaki(大滝詠一)who contributed one song and guitarist Shigeru Suzuki(鈴木茂)who played on one of the tracks.

Indeed that one track is "Aoi Sakana" (Blue Fish) which also had Hosono arranging and playing bass while Tatsuo Hayashi(林立夫)was on drums, and Kanenobu was on guitar and (beautiful and slightly haunting) vocals. The splendid melody by the singer is as comfortable as a pair of beloved slippers right from Note One although her lyrics describe a melancholy reality of nature including the titular fish and their environment being lost forever, presumably due to industrialization. There is no mention of a keyboardist in the "liner notes" provided on the J-Wiki article for "Misora", but the playing there adds that extra feeling of poignancy. "Aoi Sakana" feels like that "smell-the-roses" type of song.

On the English Wikipedia article for "Misora", there has been a lot of acclaim given to the album even outside of Japan, and that includes famed sci-fi author Philip K. Dick who was a friend of music journalist Paul Williams. Williams married Kanenobu in the year that "Misora" was released although they would later divorce.

It was just one single and "Misora" released by Kanenobu during the 1970s after which it wouldn't be until the 1990s that she released albums and one more single again.

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