For half of the precious weekend, my high patience - I'd like to think so - had been tested as my brain wrestled with a science research proposal concerning herbal extracts and whether or not they're able to kill food-spoiling bacteria. Now here comes the reason for my burning ire, the main purpose is to get us students who don't even know what herbal extracts are - I had only heard of them, but I never knew what they really were - to learn how to write a research proposal, and this was our given topic. So there I was struggling with the decision of how much information I should put into that because at the end of the day, it's only the structure that's important and being graded... putting in lot's of info could just be a waste of time and effort. With 40% Wikipedia, 30% food safety sites, 15% lecture notes, 5% online grocery store catalogues and 10% pure bull (reserved for desperate situations), that was probably the most effort I had put in for a topic that's probably at least 90% irrelevant to my course of study, Marine Science and Aquaculture.
I had first heard of "Soran Bushi" via Hikawa with his rendition that's aptly named, "Kiyoshi no Soran Bushi" (きよしのソーラン節) on a summer festival-themed "Kayo Concert" last August. I must say that this version is very... Hikawa..., and it's sits nicely between contemporary and traditional, but I can't say I'm a fan of it. Michi's take on "Soran Bushi" (that's the title) is a lot more deconstructed and is the most traditional sounding out of the 3 I've mentioned, it doesn't sound bad, it's just that the backup singers with their squeaky "Hai! Hai!" and "Dokkoisho! Dokkoisho!" irks me to no end.
And then we have Sakamoto's version, which is my favourite. I actually heard this on the plane while on the way to Hong Kong. It was the first song under the enka album in the Japanese music section, so I gave it a shot since I had some prior experience with this Minyo. Admittedly, I thought it was quite odd to be listening to a traditional sea shanty, but the music to "Fuyumi no Soran Bushi" allowed me to settle into it quite easily. Composed by Kaoru Hanagasa (花笠薫), it is very much Pop/Rock-like with the sting of the electric guitar and the trumpets blasting away, but the flute... I think it's called the shakuhachi and the constant, manlier "Soran! Soran!" helps the song retain it's Minyo/enka-ness. The lyrics were by Yo Yashiro (やしろよう).
"Fuyumi no Soran Bushi" was released on 2nd November 2005 as the B-side to "Futari no Tairyo Bushi" (ふたりの大漁節), which is her 35th single. It peaked at 24th place on the regular charts.