Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Golden Best 2
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
Garland and Piaf stand aside . . . here's Hibari!
H. M Pyles | Chicago, IL United States | 02/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One morning a few years back, I was in a hotel room in Osaka dressing for a business meeting and vainly scrolling through the TV channels looking for anything in English. Suddenly I found myself immersed in an inexpressibly lovely song, so I sat down on the bed to watch for a minute. An hour later, it had become clear that I was watching a documentary on a multi-faceted entertainer whose career apparently began in childhood and spanned stage, cinema, and concert halls. Finally tearing myself away, I arrived late to my meeting, able to talk only about this mysterious person. It turned out to be Misora Hibari (or Hibari Misora, if you use the western convention of putting the surname last). It was the tenth anniversary of her untimely death from cancer, and programming all over Japan was mourning her passing.
Since then I have acquired every audio and video recording of her that I can find, even buying a multi-region DVD player to handle her Japan-only releases.
Despite wide reading on the topic, I know only enough of Japanese culture to know that I will never really understand it. But I do know great music and towering musicality when I hear it. Art at its pinnacle knows no language or cultural boundaries. Hibari took her art to this pinnacle. She sang in a wide range of styles, from traditional Japanese enka to western jazz-age to overproduced 80's stadium fare. She sang dressed as a geisha, as a samurai, as Fred Astaire, as a torch singer, and as a feathered and sequined "megastar" that would do a drag queen proud.
But, Lordy . . . what singing it was. As with Edith Piaf, Hibari could bring you to tears without understanding a word she was singing. As with Judy Garland, Hibari had but to open her mouth for you to know you were not hearing just an accomplished singer, but an aching, striving soul that had finally found its release through a mortal's vocal chords.
If Hibari had been born in the West, we would all know her as well as we know our other cultural icons. Don't let the inscrutability of Japan and its culture deprive you of this treasure. Hibari belongs to us all. Without knowing a word she is singing, you'll know exactly what she is saying."
The Queen of Singers
High Sierra | Northern California | 12/05/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Any discussion of Japanese popular music must begin with Hibari Misora who is often called the "Queen of Singers" in Japan. Hibari began singing professionally as a child and her career spanned more than 40 years, with numerous hits including "Ringo Oiwake", "Kanashii Sake" and "Yawara." Perhaps her most famous song, "Kawa no nagare no yoni" (Life is like a flowing river) was released in 1989, the year of her death. It was later voted the greatest Japanese song of all time in a poll by NHK Television. Hibari Misora's songs are often credited with helping the Japanese get through the difficult postwar years. She also starred in dozens of movies. Hibari was only 52 when she died and was considered a national treasure. On the day of her death, regular TV programming in Japan was interrupted to bring the sad news to the nation.
A year before she passed away, she performed at a concert in a Tokyo stadium. Despite overwhelming pain in her legs, she sang dozens of songs that night, all the while reassuring the audience that she was alright. I have a video recording of that emotionally-charged concert. My wife, who's from Japan, often cries when she watches it. I've always had the feeling that Hibari herself knew this would be one of her final performances.
Hibari Misora had an unswerving dedication to her music and her fans. She is still missed. In Japan, many young people won't admit they like Enka music which was Hibari's specialty. But if you go to the bar districts late at night, the sounds of karaoke Enka fill the air. If you want to give Enka a try, there's no better place to start than with Hibari-san."
Hibari, the greatest Japanese Singer
Raymond A. McLaren | La Habra, CA. USA | 10/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Misora Hibari since the early 1060's when I was stationed in Japan. She is a magnificent singer as well as an accomplished actress. I have her original greatest 50's album which I purchased in 1966. Many of the songs on this album are in Volume 2. To me, Hibari is a true legend in Japanese music. I miss her, even though her music is still alive through recordings. This album is truly representative of her talented voice. I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I do."