Yuki, who is 63, made her debut in the titular year with a song called “Yoake no Scat” (Dawn of Scat), a jazz number. Yuki also performed several songs with the group in London recently.
1969 has been lodged in the Japanese Top 10 since it was released several weeks ago, helping to sell out her Dec. 6 “comeback” concert at Cerulean Hall in Tokyo.
Yuki has never really gone away. In more recent years she and her sister Sachiko Yoshida have had great success with albums and concerts dedicated to “doyo,” or traditional Japanese children’s songs, but it took Pink Martini to bring her back to the attention of jazz and pop aficionados.
Yuki was made aware of Pink Martini’s cover of “Taya Tan,” a song she originally recorded, several years ago. When the group toured Japan in 2010 she joined them on stage to sing the song with lead singer China Forbes.
Later, Pink Martini invited her to sing a version of “White Christmas” on their holiday album. Later, she went to Portland to perform with the group at a benefit concert for Japanese disaster victims, and that’s where the idea for 1969 came up.