Now Reading
Chiyomi Yamada & Baobab : My Land Review

Chiyomi Yamada & Baobab : My Land Review

The album My Land by Chiyomi Yamada & Baobab represents a cross-cultural experience that weaves the nostalgic threads of ancient Japanese folklore with the vibrant hues of modern European folk-pop. Spearheaded by the classically trained soprano Chiyomi Yamada, born in 1956, and backed by the eclectic indie folk group Baobab, the album is a bridge between the mystic past and the eclectic present.

Chiyomi’s musical evolution is remarkable, from studying classical music in Tokyo to immersing herself in Baroque and polyphonic vocal music in The Netherlands. Her tenure with ensembles like Alba Musica Kyo and her exploration of diverse musical periods are testament to her versatile vocal mastery. The influences of these experiences are undeniably present in My Land.

Now partnered with Baobab, consisting of siblings Maika and Mirai Matsumoto and their band, Chiyomi returns to her roots, bringing a treasure trove of Japanese traditional music to a global audience. The album, produced with the deft touch of Jonas Niederstadt, refuses to be pigeonholed into a single genre, as it fluidly transitions between classical, folk, and pop music realms.

“Nagata no Komoriuta” opens the album with a marriage of looping guitar melodies and the thunderous beats of taiko drums, crowned by Chiyomi’s soprano voice. The track’s structure hints at the group’s ability to balance homage and innovation. Similarly, “Akita Obako” introduces itself with the solitary meditations of the shobou flute, paving the way for an acoustic assembly that respects the track’s origins while escorting it into the contemporary soundscape.

Each track serves as a vignette, highlighting different facets of the album’s identity. From the conversational back-and-forth of “Otemoyan” to the Celtic flair of “Muko Yokocho,” Chiyomi and Baobab honor the past without remaining tethered to it. The purely acapella “Gionshoya” is a bold pause to enjoy the human voice in the album’s progression, a moment of serene reflection in the midst of complex instrumentation.

The album’s brilliance lies in its duality. “Haiya-bushi” and “Mike Neko” contrast with Yamada’s subtlety against the group’s rich vocal harmonies, showcasing their command over both the minimal and the intricate. “Sangai-bushi” concludes the journey with an energetic fusion of traditional and new, leaving the listener both satiated and curious.

The transformative quality of My Land is its greatest strength. It offers a platform where the distinctive qualities of Eastern and Western musical traditions not only coexist but flourish together. While the sequence of tracks may not follow a traditional arc, this mirrors the album’s narrative of cultural exchange — unpredictable and yet harmoniously intertwined.

My Land is a spiritual dialogue across eras and geographies. Chiyomi Yamada & Baobab have preserved the essence of traditional Japanese folk music while expanding its resonance for a new audience, bridging gaps that we didn’t know existed between the ancient and the modern, the East and the West. It’s an album that doesn’t just cross borders — it dissolves them, creating a universal homeland of music that beckons to be explored time and time again.


Chiyomi Yamada: Website

Artist Name

Chiyomi Yamada & Baobab

Album Title

My Land

Release Date

March 1, 2024


Indigo Road

Overall Sound In Review Rating
Sound Quality
Vocal Quality
Performance Quality
Buy Link


Overall Sound In Review Rating
You have rated this
What's your reaction?
Bought It
Will Buy It
Streaming It
Thinking About It
About The Author
Steven Miller
Leave a response

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.