Picture it -- Japan. 2012. A busload of Canadian tourists driving through the Japan Alps. Not just any bus though. A bus equipped with a karaoke machine! Everyone singing at the top of their lungs. The bus rockin', rollin', bouncing off all four tires. Mariachi horns blaring. Mariachi horns? Yes, it's Ring of Fire!
I'm proud to say that Ring of Fire was my selection from the karaoke catalogue for our group singalong that day. The key to picking a great group karaoke song is to make sure it's very fast, catchy and something everyone knows. No dreary folk songs or weird slow stuff -- that just brings down the energy and the mood.
They loooooove karaoke in Japan, of course, because they invented it. Karaoke is everywhere in that country! We had such a blast that day on the bus. It sure passed the time and made the bus ride seem shorter. And how many people can say they've sung karaoke in the very Homeland of Karaoke?
Here's my one known factoid about karaoke -- it means "empty orchestra." It comes from "kara" ("empty") and "oke" (an abbreviated form of "okesutora" which is the phonetic Japanese imitation of our English word "orchestra"). It refers to the missing lead singer track in the otherwise fully recorded music. Now you know!