This week, Dan’s brother Will is a guest host for the Song of the Day (or この日の歌).
When you can’t understand the words, the voice just becomes another instrument.
About eight months ago I moved to Japan to teach High School English. At the beginning of the school year, I had an introductory lesson where the students asked me questions – in English, of course – to better get to know me. A common question I got was “What Japanese music artists do you like?” The first answer I always give is Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.
The grandfathers of the Japanese ska scene, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, or “Skapara” as they are nicknamed in Japanese, have been playing music for over thirty years. While the band is no pop juggernaut, they’ve been popular long enough that even my 14-year-old students are familiar with them. One interesting thing about Skapara is that rather than having a lead vocalist, they rely on vocal features from all sorts of artists to sing their songs. If you take the time to listen to their music, you’ll quickly notice how this practice lends to the wide variety of musical styles they are able to tackle.
For their twenty-fifth anniversary, they released an album called “Ska Me Forever,” off of which this song comes. The song’s title is roughly translated to “In This Ever-Flowing World,” and, even if you can’t understand the lyrics, you can still feel the poetic, upbeat nostalgia of the music. With its bright melody and mellow vocal delivery, it’s impossible not to feel good as you listen to this song. I find myself sighing and smiling at the end of that final horn chorale, no matter how many times I listen.