We started talking about Omega Tribe during a first blog post. This time, we are taking interest in the 2nd period, the one where the singer Carlos Toshiki joins the group. After the departure of Kiyotaka Sugiyama, Kenji, Takao and Keiichi, Omega Tribe continued because producer Koichi Fujita was happy with the band, and both Toshitsugu & Shinji were determined to stay in the group.
Carlos Toshiki, a Japanese born in Brazil
Carlos Toshiki was born on April 7, 1964 in Londrina, in Brazil, of Japanese parents, who both owned a restaurant in Curitiba and lived in a Nikkei community in Maringá. His father, also a radio DJ, played kayōkyoku and enka songs from Japan, and other new releases from Japan. He acquired a taste for music at a young age and would lock himself in his room to practice singing for hours after school, memorizing the lyrics phonetically.
Brazil has a strong Japanese community (See HERE)
His father noticed him and wanted him to be a singer, but Carlos Toshiki‘s stage fright prevented it. To encourage him, his father promised that if he became the champion of the national competition NHK Nodojiman, he would send him to Japan for a musical career. Participating in various singing competitions, Carlos Toshiki won the competition at the age of 17 with a resumption of Blue Sky Blue (ブルースカイブルー). With his victory, his father bought him a plane ticket, and was able to go to Japan.
Blue Sky Blue (1978) is a song from Hideki Saijo
Carlos Toshiki : difficult beginnings in Japan.
Carlos Toshiki started a job washing dishes in a restaurant. He was paid less than average as a Brazilian, but it was at this job that he started to get opportunities. His boss asked him to sing for customers during breaks, and he gradually became known to customers. He also was an interpreter.
Carlos Toshiki sometimes sang in front of restaurant customers
While working part-time, he took singing lessons and sang in advertising jingles. In 1982 he recorded the single LUCIA (along with a song called 哀愁のイパネマ – Ipanema of Sorrow).
He made a demo tape with songs in English and Japanese and sent it to producers in hopes of musical opportunities. One of the cassettes was given to Koichi Fujita. Fujita wanted to continue Omega Tribe, who were in the middle of their last tour, and contacted Carlos Toshiki for an audition to become their new lead singer.
Audition for 1986 Omega Tribe
During his audition, he was asked to sing covers of Silence ga Ippai and Futari no Natsu Monogatari, eventually passing the audition and being invited to see the last show of S. Kiyotaka & Omega Tribe : FIRST FINALE, and to become the new Omega Tribe vocalist. This variation will be called 1986 Omega Tribe, but will later be changed to Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe (see part 3 of the article).
Kimi Wa 1000%, genesis of a hit !
To help Carlos Toshiki to enter into the aesthetic of the group, as well as to get to know it better, Fujita took him to Hawaii. During the trip, Carlos Toshiki commented on the similarity between the Japanese word for “a thousand” (千, sen) and the Portuguese word for “one hundred” (cem). Fujita also found it interesting, contacting a lyricist to create a song based on the pronunciations. The song became Omega Tribe‘s first single in 1986, Kimi wa 1000% (君 は 1000%), which Carlos Toshiki sings without understanding most of the lyrics.
The single was an instant success and the group was able to achieve two albums, Navigator in 1986 and Crystal Night in 1987. Both albums reached #3 at Oricon Chart.
We can find on this album Older Girl and You Belong To Him :
Crystal Night (1987)
On that album can be found Crystal Night and Super Chance :
1986 Omega Tribe – DJ Special
A compilation album, containing two tracks only released as a single : Cosmic Love & Brilliant Summer.
The narrator we hear seems to be Kamasami Kong, but in reality, it is actually the DJ Ron Wiley.
1986 Omega Tribe becomes Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe
At the end of 1987, guitarist Mitsuya Kurokawa had to leave the group due to health problems. Furthermore, the name 1986 Omega Tribe is starting to sound dated. It is for this reason that the group will rename itself Carlos Toshiki & Omega Tribe. This iteration will therefore be the subject of a next chapter in this series of articles !
Go further :
Interview of Carlos Toshiki subtitled in English :
A live of 1986 Omega Tribe (Cosmic Love, Down Town Mystery and Crystal Night)
Carlos Toshiki official website : https://carlostoshiki.com/