Wear your Ryukyu Pop Culture in style with the new Karakui t-shirt! Available in 3 colors in quality t-shirts from the fine folks at Cotton Bureau.
HoRookies recently released their 2nd album “Focus” at the beginning of the month and held a release party for it on YouTube. They announced that it’s now available on YouTube as an archive so if you missed the livestream or just want to watch it again, here’s your chance! By the way, if you haven’t added “Focus” to your library, it’s definitely worth a listen.
Announced on Awich’s Twitter is the postponement of her upcoming EP “Queendom” due to production reasons (no doubt due to the pandemic). The EP was set to be released on the 24th of this month but at least she was able to get out her new single “Kuchi ni Dashite” (album art is featured above) which was released on 8/27. She’ll keep us updated as soon as a date is confirmed.
Recently released Rough Guide series includes songs from Uchinānchu artists as well as performers of Uchinā music. There was also a Rough Guide for the music of Okinawa released in 2006 but it’s only available in CD format at this time.
A wonderfully diverse collection exploring some of Japan’s lesser-known contemporary styles by artists rooted in tradition. From the female divas of the southern Ryukyu islands to the minyo revivalists Boomdigi, Aragehonzi and Tsukudanaka Sanpachi, this is an album full of intrigue and surprises.https://worldmusic.net/products/rough-guide-to-the-best-japanese-music-youve-never-heard
Currently available on all music streaming services “The Rough Guide to the Best Japanese Music You’ve Never Heard“.
Slow news day? How about news of a newspaper mascot? Yay! On 9/15 Ryukyu Shimpo mascot Ryu-chan will be celebration their 16th birthday! The celebration will happen on Ryukyu Shimpo’s YouTube channel and they mentioned there will be a special guest and giveaways.
Created as an insert song for the NHK Okinawa show “Uchinaa de Asobo SP“, Kiiyama Shouten has confirmed the digital release of “TTM de UTT” on 9/8. (The TTM stands for to-to-me- and the UTT stands for u-to-to-.) The MV is quite fun so be sure to check it out and the single is currently available on Apple Music.
I hope you enjoyed the two days of Uchinaa culture with HUOA’s 2021 Virtual Okinawan Festival (and if you haven’t, there’s always the archives). We were treated to a lot of amazing local talent and a few special guests and one that came to our attention is singer-songwriter Gus Hokama from Argentina and his song “Jikuu no Hana”. The video has been on his YouTube channel for a few years with Español subtitles (it’s sung in Japanese) but the version clipped above has English ones and is the Español version of the song. This particular song with Gus’s husky voice wouldn’t be out of place in a K-drama. It’s so good. The icing on the cake is that musician Brandon Ing makes a special appearance on sanshin for the song. “Jikuu no Hana” is from his 2018 album of the same name which is definitely worth adding to your music library (Apple Music link).
November 1st is designated as Luchu History and Culture Day (琉球歴史文化の日) and a special website has been created that has information on workshops and special contests. For the contest portion, the logo mark design has already been decided but there are three other contests that run until the end of the month (9/30 Uchinaa time):
- Photo & Catchcopy Contest is open to children enrolled in elementary, junior high, high school, and special schools in Uchinaa.
- Kajadifu Video Contest is open to all Uchinānchu and they’re looking for video performances of “Kajadifu” (YouTubers Ryukatsutyu has a perfect example of this) showcasing the scenery from your part of the world. A special note to add that you will be using their recording of “Kajadifu” that can be downloaded on the contest’s webpage. Even if you don’t participate in the contest, be sure to download the song as it’s an amazing recording by Higa Yasuharu-shinshii (Ryūkyū Koten Ongaku Nomura-ryū Hozonkai).
- Ryūka Contest looks like it’s open to all Uchinānchu (although it’s not clearly stated) and the rules are simple since it has to be a san-pachi-roku Ryūka and use Shimakutuba.
The bad news? Most of the website (except for the Kajadifu contest page) is only available in Japanese (at this time). So here’s the English translation of the website using Google Translate. Chibariyo to everyone entering the contest and leave a comment if you’re participating.
His latest video on his YouTube channel was over 4 weeks ago and with his uploads being quite regular, it was strange to not see any new content from him. Reported on 9/8 on Gackt’s website, we finally found out the reason behind his absence:
As far as the information regarding this situation, after returning to Japan on August 6th, we have been contacted by GACKT saying that he is “unwell”. After a while, his condition suddenly worsened. His early onset neurological disease was triggered and at this point it progressed into a life-threatening condition.https://gackt.com/contents/454205
As you can see from reading the above announcement, many fans were shocked to find out about his “life-threatening” condition. Fortunately (but not yet out of the woods), Gackt made a statement of his own that sheds more light on his condition leading up to the indefinite suspension of his activities:
This is GACKT.https://gackt.com/contents/454212
I made all of you worry.
Thank you for so many messages.
It’s ok, I’m still alive. Ahaha
We wish Gackt a speedy recovery!
Due to the pandemic, most of this year’s eisaa festivities (there were still smaller, downsized local ones here and there) have been canceled. To make up for it, there was a limited time YouTube VOD of the fantastic film “Eisaa Don Don” (extended to 9/30!), a rebroadcast of the Campus Records x Matsuda Kazutoshi’s 2020 eisaa festival, and now we have Virtual Okinawa’s 10,000 eisaa dancers emceed by our favorite VTuber Nema Ui! While it was live-streamed on 9/4 (Uchinaa time), it’s available as an archive for now. Oh, and it’s around 5 and a half hours long!
The Qwotchee Records digital releases continue with a couple of singles from the amazing artist Lucy. The singles are “Hounen Ondo” and “Hiyamikachi Bushi” (not available globally) — note that they’re using the same cover art for both songs but one has a blue overlay (“Hounen Ondo”) and the other a red overlay (“Hiyamikachi Bushi”). Lucy has an amazing voice so be sure to check it out!