Aloha Got Soul Reissue: Aiko – My Home Town

AikoDespite a small, self-funded budget, what Japanese singer Aiko Sekiguchi and Honolulu composer Dale Senaga have achieved with her My Home Town album is a delicate balance between her soaring, spirited voice and the inviting arrangements of Dale’s music. Each song is as precious as the next.

Aiko Sekiguchi enjoyed a successful career during the 1960s in her home country as part of a popular vocal trio known as the Koisans, which performed across all formats of entertainment during post-war Japan, including television, radio, stage, movies, and even commercials. The Koisans cut several records with the Victor label and also appeared regularly on NHK’s TV competition, Kōhaku Uta Gassen. Apparently, the group disbanded after one of its members got married.

In 1968, Aiko came to Honolulu for a six-month residency at a local nightclub known as Oasis. Following her residency, she moved to Houston, Texas for another 6-month gig, then to California for a year-long stint at the San Francisco Culture Center, finally returning to Honolulu once again and found a gig at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

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Sometime in 1979, Aiko and Dale Senaga decided to immortalize her voice and his songs on record, so they spent two days recording at A&M Studios in California and returned with the master reels to track Aiko’s voice and Dale’s synthesizer overdubs at Honolulu’s Commercial Recording Studio.

Aiko later became a karaoke instructor and sought to build confidence in her students and bring out the best in each individual. She died in 2014 at 74 years old.

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