KOKIA – Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~

October 14, 2008 at 8:02 PM | Posted in KOKIA | 8 Comments
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Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~ is KOKIA’s 7th album and it was released on September 24, 2008. The album reached #67 on the Oricon Weekly Charts sold 2,715 copies. All of the songs on here feature arrangements inspired by Irish folk music and she performs some classic folk songs as well.

♦ ♦ ♦

The first track, Lydia~Fairy Dance, showcases KOKIA performing in traditional Irish sean nós style. This means that there are no lyrics and just gorgeous, ornamental vocalizations. She mostly sings within in her higher register, another common characteristic of Irish folk songs. Accompanied by mostly gentle strings and drums, the music eventually gains momentum and later adds a playful flute.

The next track originally appeared on The VOICE and it has been given a new Irish flavored arrangement. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta was my least favorite song on that album but I liked the changes here in this new version. The flute in the background is a new addition to the music and there is an extended instrumental sequence that features an upbeat fiddle as well. KOKIA sings the lyrics at a faster pace too. Actually, it’s more like ‘gibberish’ because this song doesn’t have any real lyrics.

Now the album transitions into its first Japanese song, the first of only three. Kanashikute Yarikirenai is my favorite song on here and I find it to be a really peaceful and relaxing listen. It opens very quietly with guitar but follows it up with some very pretty strings and a prominent flute. KOKIA’s vocals are lovely and perfectly match the serene atmosphere of the music.

Included on the album are covers of three Irish/Celtic folk songs. The first one to appear is Black is the colour, the only song that is completely in English. The original title is actually Black is the Colour (of My True Love’s Hair). There are many lyrical versions of this song and it has been covered by a ton of artists, but KOKIA’s version is sung from the male perspective. Instead of ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘her’ is sung. Here’s an example:

I love my love and well she knows, I love the ground whereon she goes. I wish the day soon would come when she and I will be as one.

Soshuu Yakyoku is an interesting song because it features Japanese lyrics that are performed in an Irish manner. It is performed mostly through rhythmic and elongated high notes while bouncy woodwinds play during the instrumentals.

It was pretty cool to hear KOKIA sing in the Irish language with her cover of Suil a Run (Walk My Love). This bittersweet folk song features both English and Irish lyrics and is primarily an acoustic track with the occasional flute every now and then. The chorus is in Irish and KOKIA sounds really good singing the lyrics.

Here is another pretty song that is also quite festive. Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ starts off slow but gets upbeat when the woodwinds and accordion come in. The most notable thing about the song is the ending when KOKIA starts adlibbing and the instruments are at their most lively.

The final track is Taimse Im’ chodhadh (I Sleep), an Irish folk song based on an old poem. It is performed completely in Irish and I was impressed with KOKIA’s vocals because she sings the lyrics very well. The music consists of only the uilleann pipes (or Irish bagpipes) and there is an instrumental section during the middle of the song. In my opinion, this was a great way to end the album.

Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~ was absolutely fascinating from beginning to end. I really liked the Irish theme of this album and KOKIA continues to show her incredible versatility and innovation as a vocalist. The folk songs she performs are really interesting and the new original tracks are well done, too. I’m now convinced that she can do just about anything and with her upcoming Christmas album coming in early November, let’s see what she has in store.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Lydia~Fairy Dance
2. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta (song of pocchong~雫の歌)
3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai (悲しくてやりきれない)
4. Black is the colour
5. Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)
6. Suil a Run
7. Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ (そのままで ~be as you are~)
8. Taimse Im’ chodhadh

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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8 Comments »

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  1. Yay!
    Thanks a lot for the reviewed.
    I’m surprised Kokia actually has gone to Irish music, which was totally unexpected.
    I was into a bit of Irish music (and was the first reason why I took violin lessons, I wanted to play Irish fiddle), and I’ve been looking for something else to listen to.

  2. i agree this was an amazing album =D i’m glad you reviewed it, i didn’t even know she was coming out with one.

    your the reason i’ve actually liked KOKIA.

    if it wasn’t for you, i wouldn’t know about her fascinating and amazing music ^_^V awesome review btw!

  3. I’m sad to say, but I can’t bring myself to appreciate Irish music as of now T_T. Nice mini-album thingy from KOKIA nonetheless.

  4. I agree with every word you say – you show a great insight into KOKIA’s genius. Her fascination with Ireland is unexpected: but Japan and Ireland both have a lot of spirituality, and the musical instruments have a lot in common too. This album marks KOKIA out as a true international artist – way beyond other Japanese artists I think. Great to read your review. It made the album even better to listen to.

  5. I’m can hardly wait until the release of Christmas gift. KOKIA has been doing pretty good these days and I’m proud of her. I always knew she would do well with some Irish taste, and what took her so long? In any case, this is an amazing album and a grand review. =)

  6. I love how Kokia is a busy woman. She never fails to deliver one awesome album after the other!
    I’m listening to this album right now, and I have no words, it’s truly awesome!
    Makes me wish to play the flute again and pick some Irish tunes! :3

  7. omgosh Irish/Celtic music!!!! I love Jpop and I have a whole fascination with the Irish culture and lovely gaelic language and now the two are combined!!!! Great review!!!

  8. this album is my favorite, i like the song Black is the Colour ^^


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