Nuffnang Ads

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jero: The Blackiest Enka Singer

In Japan, there's something called Enka which is basically a type of lounge singing. It flourished in the 1940s & even over here in Malaysia, we heard a lot of it in the form of Mandarin versions from Taiwan in the 70s.

I remember hearing a lot of it on Chinese radio when I was a kid & I thought they sucked. All the songs had the same starting & ending tunes. The singing style was also the same. It didn't matter who sang it, they would always go low, then as they went high, it'd sound almost like yodelling. It was almost formulaic.

But grandmas loved it. In Japan, Enka is still popular amongst the older generation. And as I grow older & falling into that mould, I am slowly begining to appreciate it as well. It sounds scary, I know, but I am not rushing out to buy an Enka album anytime soon.

Over time, Enka slowly reinvented itself. Singers came out with new hair colours.

And the costumes even went overboard, Cher style.


By then, there was a whole new younger generation of singers with flashy costumes like Hikawa Kiyoshi, who's also known as the Prince of Enka.

Although they do bring up the coolness of Enka by a notch (due to their flashy costumes), but it also raises the gay alarm.


Then, came the ultimate reinvention.


He's black & he's known as Jero.


He's hip hop.


But he sings Enka.


How wierd is that?



And this thing can only happen in a land called Japan.

But dude, I don't think the hip hop moves fit in. Just lose it okay.

11 comments:

Abdullah said...

oh my god...

I actually feel trapped in time... Like hearing some bad theme tune from an 80s serial drama or something... and I can't look away....help...

Greg Wee said...

Can't help you there friend. Am in the same boat. Whisper: Have to confess that sometimes I enjoy the ride...

Ciaklat !!! said...

oooohhh...dunno much about this stuff..the only japanese song i know is "sukiyaki"

Ciaklat!!

Greg Wee said...

Ciaklat! That's so over man! It's more like food rather than a song!

Abdullah said...

Dude,

I can't believe I'm going to admit this to you...

I actually reclicked on the link...just to hear the Jero song again... and not just out of curiosity...

What is happening to me????

Greg Wee said...

Do not worry my friend. There is a rationale behind this seemingly strange behaviour. In other parts of the world, they akin this to wine - the older it is, the better it tastes. In short, it's called a maturity of taste. Tere, I've just made it sound classy.

But on a more serious note, Enka songs have a traditional way of singing, that twisting of the notes, much like what I've heard before in traditional Malay singing. you get what I mean?

Abdullah said...

Greg,

did u know that Jero is actually a quarter Japanese, and speaks fluent Japanese too?...

Haaaaahahahahahahahaha!!!

I can't believe I'm saying all these things!

But seriously, I'm kinda starting to appreciate the complexity of the singing...I notice the glottal vibrato is very similar between korean and japanese singing...
Kinda growing on me in its own way..

Greg Wee said...

Well, well, I think Jero has found a new fan! You did your homework well! :)

So, would we see Lobo the Enka singer in addition to Lobo the MC? Maybe it should be Lobo MC Enka.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia is purported to be a multi-cultural society. Why should you be so shocked by cross-cultural performers in this day and age? I find the way you present this talented singer on your page as condescending and constipated. Jero is partially of Japanese heritage. Judging from your post, the Japanese are way ahead of Malaysia.. OVAH!

Anonymous said...

And it's W-E-I-R-D, not *wierd. Why not learn how to spell English instead of insulting those more talented than you?

Greg Wee said...

Woooo. Angry Bird. Another angry anonymous netizen who takes my blog posts too seriously. Please don't do that. Not good. Not good.

Angry anonymous reader also a very good English teacher - spotted my spelling error. Can you help do my grammar as well?

Nuffnang