The fantastic minyo singer Takio Ito releases a new album in 2012. As leftfield as ever, essentially this is an album of duets, featuring Ito's voice with a selection of instruments played by some top musicians. These include sax and clarinet player Akira Sakata, taiko player Eitetsu Hayashi, drummer, Shuichi 'Ponta' Murakami, Sojiro on ocarina, pianist Masahiro Sayama, and guitarist Kazuki Tomokawa. Comes with English track notes. Listen to samples of all tracks.
1. Hiroshima Kiyari (Hiroshima) 2. Aiya (Aomori) 3. Shin Midare Donpan Bushi (Akita) 4. Dote no Moguramocha (Tokyo) 5. Sado (Niigata) 6. Yagibushi (Gunma) 7. Otouwa Touwa (Ainu) 8. Funakogi (Hokkaido) 9. Ototo (original) 10. Tokyo Ondo 11. Nagamochi (Miyagi) 12. Okiage (Hokkaido)
TAKIO ITO & TAKIO BAND
Greatest hits from one of Japan's greatest minyo (folk) singers. Several grounbreaking tracks from the late 80s and 90s that mixed minyo with rock, jazz and other styles. Listen to samples of all tracks.
1. Takio no Soran Bushi 2. Akita Ondo 3. Meiho 4. Memanbetsu Bayashi 5. Kagoshima Ohara Bushi 6. Genki Kai 7. Isahaya Nonnoko 8. Komoro Mago Uta 9. Kariwa Jinku 10. Aizu Bandaisan 11. Tsugaru 12. Nogeyama Bushi 13. Itoshiki Daichi 14. Aisuru Mono Yo 15. Takio's Soran 2
There are many great singers around the world, but few who are truly exceptional. Takio Ito would be one of Japan's candidates to be counted among the world's elite. It's about 20 years since Takio Ito first made a splash as part of Japan's burgeoning world music scene with his powerful striking vocals set over a mix of minyo (local folk) with rock, jazz and other world elements. The 9 songs include traditional minyo from northern and central Japan, the Korean standard folk song, Arirang and an Ainu (native Japanese) traditional song. Up to his own brilliant standards.
Nipponese Song 2
Still one of Japan's best vocalists on album of new compositions by Takio, traditional tunes, and old songs given new lyrics. Mostly up-tempo but with some quiter moments too. His band, featuring shakuhachi, shamisen, violin, piano, bass, drums and percussion all contribute to a high quality release, with excellent female vocalist, Takemi Kakizaki featuring on some songs. One of the most successful and accessible mixtures of traditional Japan and contemporary western influences, yet still dominated by the power, grace and emotion of Takio's voice.
Takio Soran Bushi
Re-release of a seminal album of Japanese roots music from 1988. The original album was unforgivably deleted, now thankfully reissued with a different sleeve, a different title and still sounding as brilliant as ever. One of Japan's most powerful vocalists. Includes one of his best versions of "Soran Bushi" at over 10 minutes long.
TAKIO ITO AND TAKIO BAND
Brilliant album by min'yo's best singer, together with his excellent band. Traditional and original songs including 'Soran Bushi'. 14 tracks. Driving upbeat modern versions of traditional tunes and haunting performances of slower songs.
TAKIO ITO AND TAKIO BAND
Wonderful album of new style minyo featuring Japanese and Korean songs.
TAKIO ITO AND TRYIN' TIMES
3rd album and possibly still the best, with Takio's amazing voice to the fore, superb arrangements and a variety of songs. A seminal album of Japanese folk.
Meguru Azumino is the daughter of brilliant minyo singer Takio Ito. Like her father she has a fine minyo style singing voice. She obviously absorbed the folk songs she grew up with, and also like her father is interested in progressing traditional songs with new arrangements and instrumentation. The traditional minyo tunes on this album often come with a jazzy feel to them, her vocals surrounded by guitars, piano, keyboards, drums and percussion, but thankfully still manage to sound at their root like a Japanese folk song, due mainly to her excellent voice. She also writes a few of her own songs. The coming of age album for Meguru. Let's hope she can make as big a splash on the minyo music world as her father, and go beyond that to the mainstream. CD comes with English liner notes.
Debut release by the daughter of Takio Ito, four songs and 22 minutes of music. Minyo style vocal accompanied by piano plus more radical club and rock accompaniment helps take minyo toward new territory. Promising.
If you like Takio Ito you'll also like this. Produced and arranged by Takio, with most of his fine band playing , Kakizaki sings Min'yo (folk) songs from mainly northern Japa. She is an exciting new discovery as a young female singer who seems capable of taking min'yo in new directions, as Takio has done almost singlehandedly for the last fifteen years. Despite a big production with 16 musicians, an array of instruments, it still has enough rawness to capture the essence of min'yo with diluting it.