Some weeks ago I have discovered the famous Japanes enko singer Misori Hibari. Misori Hibari started her carreer at an early age of 12, she died in 1989 at the age of 52.
There is especially one song that is connected with Misori Hibari – Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni. This song is played by radio and TV stations in Japan every year on the birthday of Misori Hibari. And this song has been selected as the best song ever by more than 10 million people in Japan in 1997.
From wikipedia: Beginning in 1990, television and radio stations annually play her song “Kawa no nagare no yōni” (川の流れのように?) on her birthdate to show respect. In a national poll by NHK in 1997, the song was voted the greatest Japanese song of all time by more than 10 million people.
I have found many videos of this song at youtube, and I have selected the most interesting videos for my post.
Let’s start with a version sung by Misori Hibari herself:
Misora Hibari(美空．ひばり) – Kawa no nagare no you ni(川の流れのように)
Now some videos of this song with plucked instruments. The first video shows a Chinese group of 12 women – the 12 Girls Band who play all Chinese instruments:
Among the instruments used by the women: erhu (Chinese fiddle), pipa (pear-shaped lute), guzheng (zither), yangqin (hammered dulcimer), dizi (transverse flute), and xiao (vertical flute). Occasionally, the duxianqin (single-stringed zither) and hulusi (three-piped gourd flute) are employed. (from wikipedia)
Kawa No Nagare No Yoni
Here is a version for classical guitar:
川の流れのように (Kawa no Nagare no Youni) (Like the flow of the river)
And a version by the famous group Los Panchos with guitars:
Tributo a “Los Panchos” – Kawa no nagare no yo ni
Now a version for mandolin orchestra from Japan – garden concert for handicapped people:
And finally a version with electric guitar:
美空ひばり / 川の流れのように － Live in 俺んちｗ －
Additional information about Misori Hibari
Wikipedia (Engl.) about Hibari Misora: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibari_Misora
Lyrics zu Kawa no Nagare no Youni mit englischer Übersetzung: http://www.corichan.com/lyrics/albums/tsubaki-camellia.html
Wikipedia about the 12 Girls Band: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Girls_Band
Homepage 12 Girls Band: http://www.12girls.org/english/index.asp
Blog (German) about enka singing in Japan: http://japanprojekt.blog.de/2009/10/03/schlager-7089269/
Playlist with other versions of Kawa Nagare No Youni: