Seven Elegant Ballads
will be released via MusicGate on Feb. 1, 2020.
Seven Elegant Ballads opens with “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” written in 1939.
Hiromi makes it her own in this expansive rendition, which, she says, was inspired by Marc Chagall’s painting “Lovers in the Red Sky.”
Says Hiromi, “I love the brilliant world he creates in that painting, and
the lyrics of ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’ remind me of it. Plus, it’s just fun to sing.”
“Moonlight in Vermont,” written in 1944, is “a very romantic love ballad that evokes the winter,” says Hiromi. “I love the image of the lines ‘Icy finger waves, ski trails on a mountainside, snow light in
“Around the World” is the theme from the 1956 film Around the World in 80 Days. Once again, Kanda puts her own stamp on it, exploring the cinematic qualities of the tune with great flourish. “I sing this
song as if I’m a traveler on a beautiful hot-air balloon,” she says.
The first of the album’s two originals, “Days of Yesterday,” is next in the sequence. Both it and “Twilight Tears,” which closes out the recording, were composed by Hiromi and Hoguchi, a famous Japanese composer, arranger, studio musician and lyricist, who is also Hiromi’s husband.
Both songs appeared earlier on Hiromi’s Days of Yesterday album, and she felt the two sentimental love ballads deserved another go on the new project, in order to spotlight Hoguchi’s talents.
“He is a marvelous composer and arranger, who knows and respects the Great American Songbook,” she says.
“The original songs create a nice balance in the album. I believe it is important to keep this style fresh by creating new songs in that vein.”
Two other classics fill out the track list. “Smile,” with music by the great Charlie Chaplin, is “a very lovely song and it gives me courage,” Hiromi says. “Joe Sample’s piano playing on this track is just wonderful.”
Finally, there’s “Don’t Blame Me,” from 1933. “This is the first time I’ve sung the song,” she says. “I feel like it’s coming out of an old radio when I hear it.”
Hiromi says that the time spent in Hollywood recording Seven Elegant Ballads with such an illustrious cast of contributors was “thrilling, and I’m very proud of it. We had a dream that someday we would create wonderful music in the U.S. That dream has now come true several times over the years.
I hope listeners enjoy entering my romantic music world in Seven Elegant Ballads.”
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1 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
2 Moonlight in Vermont
3 Around the World
4 Days of Yesterday
6 Don’t Blame Me
7 Twilight Tears