火 山 灰 Kazanbai: There are not too many songs written about volcanoes!
Japanese singer and AKB48 member Yuki Kashiwagi sings her biographical song “Kazanbai” — translation: ”Volcanic Ashes” at her 3rd solo concert.
(Sorry that only 480 resolution quality is available here)
AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto wrote this song for Kasiwagi-san. The lyrics describe her dream of leaving her volcanic home town, and pursuing her dream as a singer with the AKB48 group.
Ms. Kashiwagi-san is from Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture located on the southwest tip of Kyushu, Island, Japan . Kagoshima is advertised as “The Naples of The Orient”. The city, located on a bay, sits across from Sukurajima, an active stratovolcano that has created its own island.
Volcanic ash is used in the lyrics as a metaphor for her “piled up memories.” She sings that her memories of family, friends and hometown are “always on her eyelids” … just like the often irritating volcanic ash that sometimes nearly imperceptibly — but continuously — falls on the city between eruptions. It is beautiful. I’m not trying to make it sound goofy. Really, the way Yukirin interprets song is always sweet. True, Kashiwagi-sama does not have a great range, yet few can interpret songs as sweetly as she does. She can turn anything into angel dust – in this case volcanic debris.
Yukirin, now a major Japanese celebrity, was chosen by Kagoshima city government to be the “Face of Kagoshima” and appears in a number of ads to promote the city. I also clipped some images to my collage above.
NEWSFLASH: I just looked this up: Mount Sakurajima started erupting again on May 11, 2014. Lava and ash are now raining on nearby towns!
I am also including two other versions of the song as YouTube links below. She sings it in all three of her solo concerts, performed over the years. It is also interesting to see how Kashiwagi-sama has matured as a singer and performer.
I like the 3rd solo concert (above) the best. I love that ornate set, the full orchestra, chorus and other special effects. (I would even like to buy this on Amazon — if they were reasonable.) As you can see, Yukirin is lifted into a gondola and she is floated above the 50,000 fans of the Yokohama Arena for this song. Unfortunately, there is never a good camera view of the background photos of the volcano and surrounding town. I have included in my image, views from her other concerts which show the volcanic cone a little better. The end of the song, with strings and the piano accompaniment, powerfully rains down like pyroclastic material (my own metaphor).
Here are the other links to the earlier concerts:
2nd solo concert (Includes English and Romanji subtitles, and has HD available.)
The film shown behind her depicts Yukirin growing up, with shots of the volcano of course. She actually loses it a little during this performance, and chokes up crying at the end.
1st solo concert (also HD available, sorry no English subtitles).
It is interesting to see Yuki-chan here in her “Idol” outfit and looking so “girly” back in those days. This is in great contrast to the fabulous red evening gown she wears for the 3rd concert. (Yes, I’ve been known to use the adjective “fabulous” albeit rarely.)
As always, full lyrics in Kanji/Katakana with English and Romanji for your karaoke are available from the Studio48 website.
The starlight from the 3rd concert DVD only took one month to reach my world!