In 2017 I am Singer, Dimash performed Autumn Strong in week four of the competition. He chose a song that would resonate with the audience and Chinese people, and learned how to sing it in Chinese for them, he wanted to show his respect to the country’s people who had adopted him. His main concern was that his accent would somehow diminish the clearness of his pronunciation and that would harm their enjoyment of the song. The resulting wild support from the audience tells us how well he did. The mesmerised expressions on audience members and contestants faces alike, spoke volumes. His rendition in Chinese was beautiful. Jump forward to the Tokyo Jazz Festival 2021 and Dimash has revisited the same song only this time he is honouring it in its original language of Japanese and under its original title, Ikanaide.
Autumn Strong or Ikanaide was originally released in 1989 and was written by Goro Matsui and performed by Koji Tamaki, in June 2021 Koji was voted as the greatest ever male Japanese singer, with 190 experts agreeing that he is a “living national treasure of music” and that he portrays an “unparalleled mass of expressiveness and emotion which only seems to get better with age.’ (quote wiki)
I don’t know about that, all I can tell you is, of the two versions of Ikanaide, the second one of the two Koji versions is my personal favourite and I confess, in this, I am at war over which version between him and Dimash I prefer which is unusual in itself. I always prefer the Dimash version!
Where Dimash’s voice reaches deep inside me and melts me, he could be singing about flying elephants for all I care, I have never understood most of the lyrics he sings in however many different languages he sings them in, I simply react to the tone of his voice, the timbre, the melodic beauty and the depth of emotion he is able to portray in every single song he sings.
Koji Tamaki took me by surprise, I found his performance in 2019 spell binding, the raw pain and emotion he delivered Ikanaide with tore at me. I wept all the way through it. Aesthetically, I prefer Dimash’s performance, it is elegant and beautiful, and performed perfectly, as we have come to expect. Koji left me feeling… I think that’s actually the major difference, he made me feel such a depth of raw feeling, I connected to both the song and the artist during the performance.
I connected to Dimash’s version but on a different level. While I felt the emotions he was delivering I could still appreciate his technical abilities and tonal changes along with his vocalisations while still remaining engrossed in the song. With Koji, I simply felt the song and the singer’s emotion and it stayed with me for some time afterwards. For me, there will always only be one Dimash, but I admit, I was spellbound by Koji’s stellar performance.
Autumn Strong, Chinese language, Dimash 2017.
Ikanaide. Japanese Language, Dimash during 20th Tokyo Jazz Festival, 2021.
Ikanaide, Japanese language, Original Artist, Koji Tamaki, lyrics by Goro Matsui 1989.
Ikanaide, Koji Tamaki, 2019 performance with full Orchestra. Japanese language.
I shall leave you to decide which version you prefer, on this occasion, I don’t believe there is a poor one among them, so all in all, it’s a good way to keep listening to just one song!
As always if you wish to see more of Dimash take a quick trip over to YouTube and visit his official YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/DimashQudaibergen_official
You won’t want to leave… I promise.