Making her break in the mid 1970s, Japanese singer Akiko Yano's is known for her blend of New York funk and Japanese pop, as well as her incredible aptitude for songwriting and singing. Over the years she has collaborated with Haruomi Hosono, Tatsuo Hayashi and Hideki Matsutake, all of whom feature on her second studio album Iroha Ni Konpeitou originally released in 1977. Also including the talents of New York musicians Rick Marotta, David Spinozza, Will Lee and Nicky Marrero, the release is perhaps Yano's most funky out of the 27 original albums she's released between 1976 and 2017.
Following their reissue of one of her most notable albums Japanese Girl, Paris-based label Wewantsounds are set to reissue her second album for the first time outside of Japan. Here she leads us through the release track by track...
Kawaji Kawaji was my grandfather’s nickname. He passed away while I was making this record. I liked him so much and I always will. I played all tracks by MOOG 3C operated by Hideki Matsutake.
Iroha ni Konpeitou
The lyrics carry a slapdash attitude that shows my youthful early-20s. This song was recorded in New York City in late 1976 or early 77. It was the first time I played on recordings with the bassist Will Lee. I’m so grateful that I’m still playing with him in my band.
A Long Wait Before
Before cellphones invaded our society, all we could do was wait for someone. We waited for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes two hours. Waste of time? No, your feelings deepened in expectation. Well, sometimes.
I used to call myself the singer who sang Haruomi Hosono’s songs the most in the world. Perhaps that is not an exaggeration because I did numbers of them. But now, his songs are widely known and I’m so happy about it.
Go Yanagida Go
Mr. Yanagida was a star baseball player for the Yomiuri Giants, Tokyo. Unfortunately, as a ballplayer his fame didn't last long, but still does in this song.
Ai Ai Gasa
Ai Ai Gasa is a word that describes lovers sharing one umbrella. Another great tune from Haruomi Hosono.
Potsun is obviously influenced by “The Band” in sound. On the lyrics, I can smell the flavor of “Happy End” which was an influential band in the early 70s in Japan. It was from 1973 recordings.
Kinnou wa Mou
A friend of mine, Seri Ishikawa wrote the lyrics. Very womanly, of course in a good way, which was a completely different style from mine. Elegance shouts out in this song.
On the Way Home
I originally wrote the song when I was 17 years old. The expression “baked salmon” appeared in the lyrics, which made my mom laugh and say, “Yes, I know you like that dish so much.” Every scene from the song has disappeared, but that “baked salmon” is still my favorite.
Originally composed for my fellow singer “Cyuu Kosaka.” Enjoy an amazing strings arrangement by Makoto Yano (My first husband). A heart in stillness closes the record.