What’s a blog without a Best of 2007 list? I’ve been planning to do one for a couple of weeks now but you know how that goes so here it is, barebones and just in for the final day of 2007.
Artist: Kazutoshi Matsuda
It took him a few sessions with other musicians to finally release his own but it was well-worth the wait. I loved the whole album upon first listen (I may’ve called it “Shamichiriti Ver. 2”) with the tracks that received the most plays in iTunes: “Kuyami Bushi”, “Asadoya Yunta” (it’s probably not the version you’re thinking of), “Chatan Mura”, “Eisaa Gashira” and “Hama Sodachi”.
Title: Jugon (Dugong) no Mieru Oka
Released: 11/21/2007 (Japan nationwide release version)
An emotional song filled of love for a pair of dugongs that returned to Henoko, Okinawa. It also features Cocco on the sanshin and singing lyrics to an Okinawan children’s song called “Ittaa Anmaa Maakaiga” towards the end of the song.
Artist: Yui Aragaki
It would be pretty hard to mention anything related to Okinawan pop culture in 2007 without mentioning Gakky’s name. She tore it up on several of Oricon’s popularity rankings, released three films, a drama (the entertaining “Papa to Musume no Nanokakan”) and of course, her debut album.
BEST COMPILATION (Tie)
Title: Okinawa Iyashiuta ∼ Chimugusui
Genre: Shimauta, O-pop
A really good mix of artists both minyou and pop, and a lot of really nice songs. Honestly, my sole reason to purchase it was the Toru Yonaha song “Nishikaji” so the rest of the songs on the album was just a bonus. Songs that stand out for me: “Hoshi no Sekai” by tink tink, “recorder II” by Makico Miyara (of Churamana) and “Nachikasa nu Kaze” by Ishigakijima duo Orange Clover. (Of the three, I’m totally in love with Makico’s voice at the moment.)
Title: Miikaji ∼ Tubi Tui nu Gutu ni ∼
A compilation that’s a glimpse into the future of the Okinawan minyou world with one artist — Kazutoshi Matsuda (see Best Album) — who’s already made a big name for himself in 2007. Next to reach up from this compilation in 2008? Tatsuya Shimabukuro who is currently recording for his album. My favorite? Akane Murayoshi. The version of her “Miyarabi nu Hana” that’s in this compilation pales in comparison to the one with an acoustic guitar backing her but still worth a listen.