Vocalist Ruriko Kawamura released Blossoms in 2016, her second album following her 2011 debut record Loo Loo.
The album is a relaxed tour through 11 varied tracks, all arranged by pianist Seiji Endo who backs up the vocalist throughout the disc. Six songs feature Kawamura singing as a duo with the pianist, and more color is added with violinist Noriko Satomi joining on three tracks and guitarist Akira Sekine joining on two others.
Much of the music has a romantic and nostalgic feeling, yet a modern sensibility is included on such tunes as Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” and a surprising rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, expressing Kawamura's poppier side. In addition, the charming Irish folk song “Down By The Salley Gardens” is a sweet highlight, and two Japanese ballads (sung in Japanese) provide extra variety that boosts the album’s charm.
Starting quietly, Endo and Kawamura perform a heartwarming version of “The Rainbow Connection”, the uplifting Oscar-winning classic from The Muppet Movie. The duo is then joined by Noriko Satomi on violin for the next track “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso”, sung in Italian and a definite highlight for its lovesick achiness. Guitarist Akira Sekine then joins on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” done as a slow rock ballad. The rest of the album continues in this eclectic, wistful manner, with jazz standards including “Route 66”, “Tennessee Waltz”, and “Summertime”, and a lovely version of the Beatles’ “In My Life”.
Ruriko Kawamura: Blossoms
Released in 2016 on LooLoo Entertainment Records as lulu001.
(Names in Japanese: Ruriko Kawamura 河村留理子 Seiji Endo 遠藤征志 Noriko Satomi 里見紀子 Akira Sekine 関根彰良)
Excerpt from “Summertime” with Ruriko Kawamura and Seiji Endo, the ninth track on this album:
A live version of Ruriko Kawamura singing “Down By The Salley Gardens” in 2011:
Ruriko Kawamura singing “The Waltz” live in 2011: