Japan’s TV music programs may be filled with the nasally vocals of teen idols singing insipid lyrics, but there are more than a few fantastic female vocalists. Think of the more idiosyncratic ones like UA, Chara, Yoshie Nakano (Ego Wrappin’), Satocough… and now shall we add Chihiro?

This Yokohama-based vocalist’s sophomore album Kono machi kara (“From this Town”) is a great achievement. With her versatile vocals skills, Chihiro sings comfortably in a range of styles, from jazz and R&B influenced tunes to pop songs and ballads. She also gets excellent support from her backup musicians, especially on guitar—it’s not quite Tuck & Patti, but perhaps moving in that direction.

Chihiro opens with yoake no tabibito, a slow-paced R&B song revealing vocals that are somehow both powerful and fragile, soulful and sweet. The rhythm changes and sudden soaring melodies on koko ni aru mono, the next track, are fresh and memorable, setting the tone for an album full of diverse sound. Haru no sora features a reggae groove with Chihiro getting help from Green Massive. Kimi ni ai o is an upbeat love song that sounds like a hit-to-be. But with so many good songs here, she may have a whole album, not just a single, with wide mainstream appeal.



アルバムはスローなR&B「夜明けの旅人」から始まる。力強く繊細、ソウルフルで甘いといった両面を持つボーカルが披露されている。「ここにあるもの」のリズム変化と次第に盛り上がるメロディ、それに続く曲もフレッシュで印象的で、アルバムを通して多様性のある音を楽しめる。「春の空」はGREEN MASSIVEをフィーチャリングしたレゲエ。「君に愛を」はアップビートなラブソングで、これは人気が出る予感。沢山のいい曲があり、シングル曲としてだけではなく、アルバムとしてもメインストリームでアピールできるような仕上がりになっている。

Philip Glass

Uakti debuted in Brazil in the late 1970s as an all-instrumental group using hand-made instruments fashioned by leader and classical cello player Marco Antônio Guimarães. Their unique style and accomplished playing ability garnered them critical praise in Brazil through the early 1980s before they went international in 1987. Paul Simon discovered them during a U.S. show and eventually collaborated with them on his acclaimed 1989 album Rhythm of the Saints. Famed American composer Philip Glass heard them during their recording on a visit to Simon and signed five records with them.

In 1993, Glass wrote a CD-length composition for a ballet called Águas da Amazônia, inviting Uakti to perform it. Guimarães arranged the work for Uakti’s special instruments, marking the first time another composer adapted Glass’ work. The album is spare, haunting and beautiful with a fast tempo that is also somehow soothing. Was this written for a ballet of the imagination? The repeating harmonies and melodies are typical Glass minimalism, but the unusual instruments (and Guimarães’ hand) make it a unique work even in Glass’ varied, enormous opus.


1993年、グラスはCDの長さに合わせた構成のバレエ音楽「Águas da Amazônia(アマゾンの流れ)」を作曲し、ウアクチが演奏した。ギマランイスはウアクチの特別な楽器に合わせて曲をアレンジしたが、グラスの作品に他の作曲家が手を加えたのはこれが初めてのことである。アルバムは、速いテンポでありながら心地よさを失わず、うっとりと美しく、心に長く留まる。これは想像上のバレエ音楽として作曲されたのだろうか? 繰り返されるハーモニーとメロディは典型的なグラスのミニマル・ミュージックではあるが、独特な楽器とギマランイスの演奏によって、グラスの作品の中でも独特で素晴らしい輝きを放っている。

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