Sit back and immerse in the present with Benny Oyama’s “Hazy River”
Based in Brooklyn, Benny Oyama touches listeners with his multicultural artistry in more ways than one. The Japanese and Jewish singer-songwriter frequently explores traditional Brazilian and American folk influences to produce moments of intimacy. His Asian identity also surfaces in special ways, often emerging in the form of Japanese art and lyricism. By centering on the intricacies and softness of acoustic guitar, Oyama is able to create moments of quiet and respite that weave between phrases in his songs. As you listen “Hazy River,” make sure to brew a cup of tea and settle into somewhere cozy.
A soothing soulfulness can be found in Oyama’s voice, reminiscent of great artists like James Taylor, Nick Drake, and João Gilberto. While much of his past guitar work honors the lovely bounciness of bossa nova style rhythm, here he takes a more freeform approach instead. In “Hazy River,” mental imagery of nature embodies both words and sounds. As he sings of “the lonely river mountain passing through a sacred valley,” guitar notes play like a babbling brook–fast, delicate, and sweet.
Throughout his song, Oyama gently calls to someone who has yet to open up and connect. He invites vulnerability of spirit and offers the warmth of touch. And he’s very likely speaking to you.
Header photo by Isabella Gabrielle.