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Cool Japan / Cool Japanese Person / Veteran Japanese singer tops foreign album charts

Saori Yuki Scat of the daybreak

Saori Yuki (由紀さおり, born November 13, 1948) is a Japanese singer and actress. She was born as Akiko Yasuda (安田 章子) in Kiryu, Gunma, Japan and raised in Yokohama. She started her singing career with her older sister Sachiko as a child singer. Although in 1965 she debuted with her first single "Hitchhike Musume (Hitchhiking girl)" from King Records (Japan) as Akiko Yasuda, the result was not successful and had not been for a few years.
Scat of an angel by Saori Yuki, 2009

NEW YORK—A collaboration between the veteran Japanese singer Saori Yuki and the Portland, Oregon-based jazz orchestra Pink Martini is topping the album charts in the United States, Canada and Greece.
The album, "Pink Martini and Saori Yuki – 1969" features 12 songs from the past, including Yuki's 1969 debut hit "Yoake no Scat (Melody for a new dawn), "Blue Light Yokohama" sung by Ayumi Ishida, and "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul and Mary.
Released early in November, the album ranked at the top of the jazz chart in Apple Inc.’s iTunes store in the United States.
Saori Yuki talks about the new album in October in Tokyo. (Hiroshi Shinozaki)
(Saori Yuki talks about the new album in October in Tokyo.)

In Canada, it ranked at the top of iTunes' foreign music category and stood fourth in the overall album chart in Greece.
Pink Martini's leader Thomas Lauderdale first encountered Yuki’s music after buying one of her albums at a used record store in Portland, and that eventually led to a joint concert in Japan in 2010.
Yuki and the orchestra also took part in a charity concert for March 11 quake relief in late March as they were putting together the album.
Commenting on the new recording of "Yoake no Scat," her first in 42 years, Yuki told The Asahi Shimbun that she had tried to sing in the same key she had used in the 1960s.

Yuki Saori - Room Light ルーム・ライト

“A bassist in the orchestra commended me, saying, 'You sing precisely on the key. I feel great!'" she said.
The album is expected to be sold in 22 countries.
Born Akiko Yasuda, Yuki started her singing career in a choir when she was attending elementary school. She debuted as Saori Yuki with "Yoake no Scat" in 1969.
Her extensive career included hosting a children's television music program, acting in various films and television dramas and performing with her sister Sachiko Yasuda, who is also a singer.

By TS on Feb 18, 2012
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Author:T. SATOH