From the new year

Happy New Year! To kick 2009 off right, I invite you to enjoy this marvelous performance of "Marching March" by UA.

"Marching March" was composed in the '60s by HATTORI Kōichi (服部公一). The lyrics, written by SAKATA Hirō (阪田寛夫), open with the narrator ordering his legs to carry him to a field, via various kinds of roads and making agreeable sounds such as zakku zakku and bokko bokko, so that he can search frogs and earthworms for navels and eyes respectively.

("Sanpo", the song that opens Tonari no Totoro, seems to me a loving homage to "Marching March" in both theme and structure, by the way. No idea if there are any on-the-record discussions of the matter.)

Anyhow, the 1965 performance of "Marching March" by AMACHI Fusako (天地総子) and the Otowa Yurikago Kai (音羽ゆりかご会) picked up a Japan Record Award in 1965, and looked something like this. Today, your standard uta no onē-san/onii-san rendition looks like this... so as much as I like Amachi's groove, UA's slower, country-brass-banded performance is a kind of revelation.

As it happens, UA recorded a bunch of these for NHK a few years ago, without taking her chicken suit off once, and they're all on the 'Tube now. Here are a few of my favorites:

Popularity factor: 6

language hat:

I enjoyed that! But why is she wearing the chicken suit?

Incidentally, Swahili ua 'flower' and ua 'kill' are (unsurprisingly) historically different words, the former from Proto-Bantu *duba and the latter from *bud-.


You know, I wondered about that. It certainly seemed unlikely that they would be from the same root.

The chicken suit is a complete mystery to me. UA is kind of Björk-like presence in general, so there may not even be a logical explanation.


Bjorkiness aside, the songs are all from a children's TV show called doreminoterebi. No more mysterious than dressing up as a train conductor and having a moose drop ping-pong balls on your head, if you ask me. The totally awesome web page for the show is here: http://www.nhk.or.jp/school/doremi/


We can certainly agree that it is no more mysterious than dressing up as a train conductor and having a moose drop ping-pong balls on your head. Thanks for the link!


Sorry, the reference may have been a little obscure:


Ah... I've never seen Captain Kangaroo. But yeah, I was being non-snarky: kid's TV is weird all over.

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