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"Mondo Mundo" with Micheal Akutagawa (archive)

"Made in Japan"
Saturday, November 27, 2010 | 14:00 to 16:00 | Specialty

Artist Song Album Label Comments
Shang Shang Typhoon Theme of Shang Shang Typhoon Shang Shang Typhoon [J], 1990 Epic CBS [J] = album notes, titles in Japanese. Japanese band of the 1980s and 90s, featuring musical elements of Okinawa, Japanese regional folk music, as well as rock, pop, and reggae. Their unique sound is partly from the use of an original instrument, named a 'sangen', invented by band leader Koryu, essentially a banjo strung with shamisen strings. This song is the usual opening number for their live show.
Voice of Atsumi Kiyoshi Tora-san's Self-introduction Tora-san Movie Soundtrack [J], 2008 Universal Music There were 48 installments of this movie series, running from 1969 - 1995, Atsumi Kiyoshi playing a kind-hearted vagabond who is always unlucky in love.
Sung by Atsumi Kiyoshi, music by Naozumi Yamamoto Tora-san Theme, 'Otoko wa Tsurai yo' ('It's not easy being a Man') Tora-san Movie Soundtrack [J], 2008 Universal Music In this song, Tora-san resolves to his older sister that he'll do better, try harder, and some day be 'somebody', but the sun's going down now and so he'll try harder tomorrow. In verse two, he somewhat hesitantly resolves to launch out away from home in search of his fame and destiny; and since no one there is moving to ask him to stay, he'd better go now, since the train's here.
Music by Joe Hisaishi Procession of the Spirits Soundtrack of the movie, Spirited Away [J], 2001 Nibariki Movie and animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese manga artist and creator of many popular anime films.
Music by Toru Takemitsu Theme from the movie, 'Ran' Kurosawa: The Film Music of Akira Kurosawa [J], 1998 BMG, Japan 'Ran' ('Chaos') was directed by legendary director Akira Kurosawa. The film bears comparison with Shakespeare's 'King Lear', although Kurosawa himself says he didn't specifically start with the notion of adapting 'King Lear'.
Kitaro Orochi Kojiki [J], 1990 Domo Records The 'Kojiki' is the 'Record of Ancient Matters', the oldest chronicle in Japan, composed in the 8th century. It is a collection of myths concerning the islands of Japan and the Kami (the Gods). In this scene, Mikoto (the Fire God) fights and defeats an Eight-Headed Dragon who has terrorized the village where the beautiful maiden Kushinada-hime lives. Kitaro is best known as a Grammy-winning New Age musician and composer.
Music by Joe Hisaishi The Great Tree at Tsukamori Soundtrack of the movie, 'Totoro, My Neighbor' [J], 1988 Animage Records Movie and animation directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese manga artist and creator of many popular anime films.
Yo-Yo Ma, cello Sakura, Sakura ('Cherry Blossom, Cherry Blossom') Yo-Yo Ma: Japanese Melodies, 1984 CBS Of course, associated with Spring.
Kiyoshiro Imawano and the RC Succession Summertime Blues Covers [J], 1990 Kitty Records, Polydor Kiyoshiro (1951 - 2009) was dubbed Japan's 'King of Rock'.
Jean-Pierre Rampal Aka Tombo ('Red Dragonfly') Rampal: Japanese Folk Melodies, 1978 CBS Associated with Fall season.
Elizabeth Falconer, on Japanese koto Hatsu Yuki ('First Snow') Oyasumi: Japanese Lullabies and Restful Melodies, 2001 Koto World Winter.
Ryuichi Sakamoto and the Yellow Magic Orchestra Computer Game, Theme from 'The Circus' Y.M.O. Yellow Magic Orchestra [J], 1979 Epic Sony Music Sakamoto is probably more widely-known for such movie soundtracks as 'The Last Emperor' (1987 Oscar), 'The Sheltering Sky' (1990), but before all of that, there was this.
Various Theme Music for the TV cartoon, 'Dokonjho Kaeru' ('The Adventuresome Frog') The History of TV Anime Theme Songs, vol. 2 [J], 2001 Nippon Columbia Early 70s TV cartoon series.
Various Theme Music for the TV cartoon, 'Hutchi' The History of TV Anime Theme Songs, vol. 2 [J], 2001 Nippon Columbia Hutchi is a plucky and orphaned Bee. Early 70s TV cartoon series.
Various Theme Music for the TV cartoon, 'Gatcha-Man' The History of TV Anime Theme Songs, vol. 2 [J], 2001 Nippon Columbia Early 70s TV cartoon series. An anime version of the superhero genre, with its five-member heroes each having a colorful costume and unique specialty power. (The phrase 'Dare-da? Dare-da?' repeated in the song = 'Who is it? Who is it?')
Toshiyuki Aoyama and Saburo Okubo Radio Exercise Music, Program 1 NHK Radio Exercise Recording [J], 1991 King Records Mini-disc. This is the recorded program (a part of it, with accompanying specific exercises) that is still be to be heard in many Japanese offices, factories, and schools.
Special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya Footsteps FX from 'Godzilla' (1954 movie) The Best of Godzilla Original Film Soundtracks, 1954 - 75 [J] 1998 GNP Crescendo Records, Toho Music Haruo Nakajima,considered by many to be Japan's best 'suit actor', played Godzilla.
Performed by Neil Norman & His Cosmic Orchestra Theme from 'Godzilla' The Best of Godzilla Original Film Soundtracks, 1954 - 75 [J] 1998 GNP Crescendo Records, Toho Music Original movie music by Akira Ifukube; Ishiro Honda co-wrote and directed the movie.
The Du-Tels Theme from 'Astro Boy' No Knowledge of Music Required, 2000 Shimmy Disk Records 'Tetsuwan Atomu' ('Iron-armed Atom', but better known in English as 'Astro Boy') was Osamu Tezuka's most famous manga creation. When Astro Boy crossed over to TV in Japan, it was the first domestically-produced animated program on Japanese TV.
Original music by Kazuo Funaki Theme from the TV drama 'Heiji Zenigata' Chon-mage Heaven [J], 1992 Sony Music House Zenigata Heiji was a fictional crime fighter of the Edo Period (17th - 19th centuries). His chief means of apprehending criminals were by using a weapon called a 'jutte', by using deduction, and also by using as a weapon old-fashioned coins with a hole in the center of them (the 'zeni' of title). Original series ran from 1937 - 1959.
Jero Umi Yuki ('Ocean Snow') Promises [J], 2009 Victor Entertainment Jero is a Japanese enka singer, who is American-born of African-American and Japanese descent. He learned to appreciate enka from his maternal grandmother, who was Japanese. 'Umi Yuki' was his first single, released in 2/2008. He won the award for 'Best New Artist' at the 50th Japan Records Awards. Enka flourished in the late 1940s, but Jero has made the genre attractive to a younger audience.
Fuyumi Sakamoto Hyakunen Saki mo Tewo Torinagara' ('We will hold hands for 100 years') Mata Kimi ni Koi Shiteru ('I have loved you for a long time') [J], 2010 EMI Music One of Japan's best-known and loved enka singers.
Kiyoshiro Imawano and the RC Succession Secret Agent Man Covers [J], 1990 Kitty Records, Polydor Fuyumi Sakamoto is the singer of the third verse. Although her 'day job' is as a famous enka singer, she has often performed with Kiyoshiro, as part of the rock band HIS (an anagram for the band's members: Hosono/Imawano/Sakamoto).
Takeshi Terauchi & His Blue Jeans Pipeline Takeshi Terauchi & His Blue Jeans, Early Times 1964 - 1965 [J], 2003 TR Chronicles The 'Father of Japanese Electric Guitar', much influenced by The Ventures (who often toured Japan).
Brian Setzer and the Brian Setzer Orchestra Theme from 'Hawaii Five-O' Brian Setzer Orchestra: The Ultimate Collection (recorded live), 2004 Surfdog Recorded live in Tokyo, where Setzer is very much the top rockabilly attraction in rockabilly-mad Japan. A nod to Setzer's knowledge of and affection for Tokyo can be found on his 2006 studio album, Thirteen, the song 'Backstreets of Tokyo'.
George Yanagi Dust My Blues King Bee Blues [J], 1993 Warner Music, Japan Version of the Elmore James blues classic.
Nana Kinomi & the Leo Beats Suki Sa Suki Sa Suki Sa Nippon Girls: Japanese Pop, Beat and Bossa Nova 1966 - 1970, 2009 Ace Records A Japanese reading of the Zombies, 'I Love You', from her 1968 second album, 'Let's Go with Nana!' The phrase 'Anata no subete oh' ('I love every bit of you'), accompanied by an exaggerated head tilt and a finger-pointed at the object of one's affection, became something of a pop phenomenon itself at the time.
Linda Yamamoto Komacchau Na ('What to do? What to do?') Nippon Girls: Japanese Pop, Beat and Bossa Nova 1966 - 1970, 2009 Ace Records This was her debut single and promptly sold more than a million copies. A contemporary of Twiggy, she was for a while marketed as the 'Japanese Twiggy', but that never really caught on. Her stage costumes often revealed her bellybutton, which caused this 'heso dashi' look to become a media sensation.
Seiko Matsuda All to You (Japanese language version) Area 62 [J], 2002 Flora Records Dubbed Japan's 'Eternal Idol' by the Japanese media, owing to her long career and popularity, from the 1980s to the present day. Beginning in 1980, she had a string of 24 consecutive Number 1 Hits in Japan. In 2002, the English language version of this song reached Number 8 o the Billboard Dance Chart.
Junko Onishi Stardust Baroque, 2010 Verve Japanese jazz pianist and band leader. She is representative of Japan's keen and deep appreciation for and knowledge of American jazz. According to the liner notes for this album, the long unaccompanied piano solo part of 'The Threepenny Opera' (elsewhere on the CD), is based on a musical score by Jaki Byard, left to the personal care of Onishi. Jaki was Charles Mingus's favorite pianist and also Onishi's mentor.
Sung by Toshiyuki Honda St. James Infirmary Metropolis: Original Soundtrack [J], 2002 Domo Records 'Metropolis' was an anime film released in Japan in 2001 and was loosely based on a 1949 manga created by Osamu Tezuka (see above at 'Astro Boy'). Osamu Tezuka is considered to be the 'Godfather of Japanese anime' and the 'Kami-sama of Japanese manga'. Toshiyuki Honda wrote the original movie music, which featured a New Orleans-style jazz score.
4 P.M. (For Positive Music) Sukiyaki 4 P.M. Sukiyaki, extended single, 1994 Next Plateau Records English lyrics (which don't at all follow the original Japanese lyrics) by T. Leslie, B. Cason
Kyu Sakamoto Sukiyaki Best 9 [J], 2010 EMI Music Japan The original title in Japanese was 'Ue o muite aruko', which could be translated as 'I look up when I walk'. Billboard Hot 100 Number 1 from June 15 to June 29, 1963. The only Japanese song to top the Billboard charts in the US.
Shamalamacord Tora-san Theme, 'Otoko wa Tsurai yo' ('It's not easy being a Man') Shamalamacord, 2009 Shamalamacord Instrumental reprise of Tora-san's theme song. Mike Penny on the tsugaru shamisen; Aaron Seeman, accordian.
Sung by Youmi Kimura; music by Joe Hisaishi Itsumo Nando-demo ('Always with Me') Soundtrack of the movie, Spirited Away [J], 2001 Nibariki