KOKIA – Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~

August 20, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Posted in KOKIA | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
KOKIA – Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~

1. Lydia~Fairy Dance
2. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta (song of pocchong~雫の歌)
3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai (悲しくてやりきれない)
4. Black is the colour
5. Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)
6. Siúil a Rúin
7. Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ (そのままで ~be as you are~)
8. Taimse Im’ chodhadh

♦ ♦ ♦

Fairy Dance~KOKIA meets Ireland~ is Japanese singer KOKIA’s  seventh studio album, released on September 24, 2008. It is the third of four albums released in 2008 to celebrate her 10th anniversary as a singer. She recorded five covers and three original songs for this Ireland inspired album. Of the covers, three are traditional Celtic songs. The album reached #67 on the Oricon albums charts, selling 4,000 copies.

Gosh, for my first encounter with KOKIA’s music, I was completely stunned by how beautiful Lydia~Fairy Dance is! KOKIA is performing in traditional Irish sean nós style, and her head voice sounds so etherical… She sings in harmony with herself, and not an entire choir, which I always like a lot. Also heard on this track are very good arranged fiddle, guitar and flute parts. The flute plays lovely light melodies, so I’m almost dreaming away with this song… I have loved Irish music since Titanic, so I am positive this whole album will not let me down.

song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta (song of pocchong~雫の歌) also includes that lovely fiddle sound in the music, and KOKIA herself is singing in… well, I don’t know what it is. Gibberish? What I DO know, is that KOKIA can hit some extremely high notes with those gibberish lyrics! This song is pretty enjoyable for me, but I like Lydia~Fairy Dance a little over this one. The music is most enjoyable ofcourse! I can hear Sissel Kyrkjebo chanting the Titanic tune already…

Wow, I love the woodwind and guitar in the opening for Kanashikute Yarikirenai (悲しくてやりきれない), which seems to be a Japanese track on this album. It also shows me what KOKIA’s vocals are really like without the chanting and overall gibberish adlibbing. She’s very talented in my opinion, her voice is easy on the ears and very light. Her voice goes very well with the beautiful flute in the background, and it’s the third track in a row that appealed enough to me.

Apparently The Corrs sung Black is the colour as well… Should ask my mum sometime… Anyway, KOKIA does it again. She sings completely in English and does that pretty well, better than fellow Japanese singer Koda Kumi (but that’s not even a comparisation worth). What I noticed, is that KOKIA sings this song form a male perspective. She sings about a certain ‘she’ in, for example, ‘I love the ground whereon she goes‘. The three magical instruments, being the flute, fiddle and guitar, return in this track ofcourse, and this is definitely one of my favourites.

It’s great fun to hear what you get when you mix an old Japanese song with an Irish musical arrangement: Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲). KOKIA sings with so much beauty and calmness in her voice, she really sings in an Irish way. The music also features that typical Irish sound with the fiddle playing a nice tune. I keep noticing that KOKIA’s singing is always at a higher pitch, which gives off that special ambience for this album. For a Japanese woman, she blends in with this style very well.

A Japanese woman singing in Irish? It’s possible! Just listen to the beautiful Siúil a Rúin, and you’ll know how pretty KOKIA brings these Irish lyrics together with a lovely Irish melody made of a guitar and flute most of all. The choir in the chorus sounds wonderful as well, and the fiddle decorates this track once in a while ofcourse. The guitar is most dominant in this track, but my main focus is on KOKIA’s flawless vocals, including the accent she’s trying out!

As soon as I hear KOKIA’s first vocal notes in Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ (そのままで ~be as you are~), I immediately know that this will not be my last review of her music. Not even close! This track is a little more uptempo than the others because of the rhythm of the guitar, KOKIA’s lyrics are fully Japanese again and I love the flute part in the bridge. The fiddle becomes more dominant during the last chorus, and the instrumentarium and KOKIA’s vocal volume gain strength during the last minute of the song, my favourite part.

When KOKIA performs acapella during the beginning of Taimse Im’ chodhadh, it’s pure and flawless again, and it’s especially beautiful because of the uillean pipes addition. This track reminds me the most of the Titanic Suite, even in its melody lies a hince of that song. Because it reminds me so much of that, this could easily be my favourite song on the entire album, even though it’s so calm and relaxing.

Is there anything more I have to say about this album? Yes, that it was way too short for me and that I’m begging KOKIA for a follow-up on this album for sure! She did great, and for a Japanese performer, she can blend in with Celtic styles very well. For someone who already liked Irish music, I love it even more now because of this album. So because she did another style so well, I think KOKIA may be able of pulling anything off. So… since no one in my environment can stand this music, I call this my own guilty pleasure. And believe me, I’m PROUD of it!!

Favorite tracks: Lydia~Fairy Dance | Black is the colour | Siúil a Rúin | Taimse Im’ chodhadh

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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