|Album: (CD above) Victor VICL-60148, Title: Arekara go nen, Nagayama Youko Besto, "Five Years Afterwards: Youko Nagayama's Best", 14 songs, 1997, Y3045, Songs: 8, Performance: 8|
Nagayama-san just can't stop singing. When her career as a teen idol (singing the usual Westernized J-Pop) began to fade, she began singing Enka. I understand that going from J-Pop to Enka is extremely unusual. Some fans were stunned, apparently. Regardless, her voice has a lovely, rich, Westernized sound which is a bit like Kaori Kozai. However, I tend to prefer Yoko's voice with all its coloration. This is one performer who is getting better and better every year.
In 2005, Yoko began playing the shamisen, the traditional 3-stringed instrument. This is NOT an easy instrument to play. It reminds me of the American banjo. The song she plays with the shamisen is "Jyonkara Onna Bushi". I greatly admire her determination - with her busy schedule, learning shamisen must have been an enormous challenge.
In fact, in the interview which she gave at the time, she said that the challenge appealed to her. After learning shamisen, she prepared this special version of the song she debuted with the shamisen. In the Kouhaku Uta Gassen in 2006, she also performed singing with the shamisen, but I don't recall if it was this same song. This was the first video I put up on the site. This video is 400x300, Xvid codec, and is only long enough to cover about a third of the performance. Click on the video icon to view (or download) the video.
|A TV appearance in 2005 with the shamisen|
|Album: Victor VICL-717, Title: "Demo Ne... Youko", Not very translatable, but something like "But Yoko", 14 songs, 1995, Y3000, Songs: 8, Performance: 8 |
I would have to choose this album as her second-best album. Which means that I think it's still one of the best albums I've ever heard.
|Album: Victor VICL-757, Title: "Shiawase Shite Ne", "Please Be Happy", 14 songs, 1996, Y3000, Songs: 9, performance: 7. |
What great material is on this album! Almost half the album are hit songs. This is one of the few albums I recommend to people who aren't sure if they would like listening to Enka. One reason is that THIS is the album which got me hooked. It could easily have been one of several other albums, but this one happened to be it.
This is another fine album. About half the songs also appear on the above albums, so there weren't that many new songs to hear when I bought it. One has to be careful about that.
|Album: Victor VICL-592, Title: uncertain, 14 songs, 1996, Y3000, Songs: 7, performance: 7|
By the way, I have 3 of her albums from her teen idol years. They're great! But they don't belong on this site. I mention them because you should be careful which albums you order by mail. Her J-Pop albums were utterly different. They are reissued from time to time, so you can't go simply by the date on the CD, either. So take care. If she's not wearing a kimono on the album cover, it isn't Enka.
Comments About This Page
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You have an excellent website on Yoko Nagayama. Thank you for having it.
>From Robert Masutani, location Hawaii, date Monday, June 25, 2007 at 03:46:43
Thank you so much for your time and effort in putting together this wonderful web site! I'm a Thai who, as a young toddler, fell in love with my first enka in a very old martial arts TV series, Sanjiro. I'm not sure if you have heard about it. My young uncles and aunties were watching it every week and I remember growing up hearing the tune and remember it by heart. If you ask me now, I can even hum it for you!
Then, I didn't get to hear this kind of music again for a very long time. It's only after much later in life after I grew up that I have come to know about this particular genre of music. Therefore, enka always brings back nostalgic moments to me, perhaps the same way to you and many of your web site's visitors!
I think there is something special about it, I don't quite know how to put a finger on it. But for whatever reason it is, finding your web site is really wonderful for a non-Japanese whose Japanese language skill is still pretty awful at the moment.
I'm writing you here today not only to thank you, but also to ask you a question. As you can possibly guess, I did try listening to all of your song samples! I particularly like the one by Yoko Nagayama the most. But I do not know the name of the song or the album name. Could you please let me know by email? Thank you very much! It's the one that begins with, "Anata no tame ni saite iru...."
Take care and looking forward to hearing from you soon!
From N.S., location Southeast Asia, date Sunday, July 8, 2007 at 13:41:51
I heard nagayama sing a song called ブルライトヨコハマ (blue light yokohama). I had no idea what buruu meant, until someone ssaid it meant blue (hehe).
I have been searching for a best album or something with this song. Do you happen to know what album(s) this song is featured on?
From KL, location Unspecified, date Thursday, July 12, 2007 at 06:45:41
Hi ! I'm leaving in France and I'm Fashion Designer .
I love so much Yoko Nagayama's voice,and I'm very impressed about her talent.
Every day I listen: "Blue light to Yokohama", "suretare"...and others in Youtube.
Please let me know about the recents Nagayama's Yoko videos.
My wish is to be at her show someday .
From BUI Peter, location Other, date Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 23:46:53
This page last modified: 11/30/2008 23:40:13