笹みどり - Sasa Midori
Exploring enka. There's a great record store near the Tokiwadai station. Bins and bins of 7 inch enka records. Grabbing a handful for covers alone I managed to score an old Sasa Midori record.
Still performing, Midori-san embodies the best of enka tradition. Soulful, graceful, yet plumbing the depths of emotion. Why enka doesn't have the cache of fado is a mystery. Yet enka is still considered camp, instead of soul. Perhaps, like many traditions, history has passed it by. The living tradition, like blues, like soul, like rap, becomes the playground of revivalists and mannerists. The place it originally came from no longer exists. The smoky bars and pleasure districts of postwar Edo are shadows of what they once were, replaced by the faux fashion of Ginza and the fragile coat of glitz that covers Shinjuku.
She hit the scene in 1965. Her second big hit was 下町育ち(Being Brought Up Downtown), and the rest was enka history.