Hiromi Kanda

Hiromi in Love

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Japanese singer Hiromi Kanda expresses her affection for American pre-rock traditional pop music on Hiromi in Love. She is accompanied by members of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, playing arrangements written and conducted by Matt Catingub (who also contributes alto saxophone, piano, and backup vocals) on a set of standards written by the likes of Irving Berlin, the Gershwins, and Rodgers & Hart, plus a couple of originals in a similar style. Her timbre may remind some listeners of Linda Ronstadt, who made three albums of similar music, though native English speakers probably will feel the same way about Kanda that native Spanish speakers did listening to Ronstadt's albums of Mexican music, in the sense that Kanda sings with a slight Japanese accent throughout. She is certainly comprehensible, and these are much more than karaoke-like performances, but it is impossible to ignore that, for example, in "That Old Feeling," the word "foolish" comes off sounding like "fulitch," or that, in "Cry," "sunshine" is rendered as "sanshan." Thus, English speakers may suppose they are listening to the soundtrack of an old movie set in post-World War II, U.S.-occupied Japan. This probably means that Hiromi in Love will be most successful in Japan itself and the Pacific Rim in general, where Kanda's accent won't be as much of an issue.

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