Okinawan music and dance performance: ‘Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo’

Norman Kaneshiro-sensei emailed information on an Okinawan music and dance performance his group has lined up for March 28, 2008, a Saturday. Titled “Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo,” the performance featuring the talented members of Ukwanshin Kabudan will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (<rant>for those like me who are irritated by websites that resize your browser’s window, this is one of them</rant>). Ukwanshin Kabudan has a blog too! Way to go, guys. 🙂

For more information, download the poster and/or the synopsis (includes the artists’ profiles).

Lecture: Okinawan Identity and Independence

Dr. Taira is Emeritus Professor of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and for the past two decades has been the Editor and Publisher of The Ryukyuanist, a newsletter which has connected and informed scholars and researchers of Okinawa Studies of developments in the field. He has written extensively on the quest of Okinawans for self-determination, and will discuss the range of meanings and forms that Okinawan independence might take, including the “one-Japan, two systems of governance” proposal that has surfaced in since recent years. He will also be part of an informal “Talk Story discussion on Okinawan Identity” hosted by the Center for Japanese Studies at the UH at Manoa campus on Wednesday, September 5, from 3:00-4:30 pm in Moore 319 (Tokioka Room). Both of these appearances are made possible through a grant of the UH Diversity Fund. [Via UHWO News.]

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 from 12:30pm to 1:45pm in Room E-103, UHWO
Wednesday, September 5, 2007 from 3pm to 4:30pm in Moore 319 (Tokioka Room), UHM

[Nifee to Charlene for the info. 😀 ]

Garrett Kam: Breezes from Lands Below the Winds in the Ryukyus

Southeast Asian Influences in Okinawan Culture
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
3:30-4:30 pm
Tokioka Room, Moore Hall 319

Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the Ryukyu Kingdom was the main trade link between East and Southeast Asia, even transporting goods from SouthAsia to China and Japan. The impact of these early contacts with Java, Thailand, Laos and Malaysia still
appear today in various aspects of Okinawan culture, especially textiles, dance, music and language.

This talk will cover the history of Ryukyuan contacts with the “Lands Below the Winds”, the places that the monsoon blew its ships down to. Through a variety of visual and audio examples, it will show how Okinawa absorbed and transformed cultural influences from Southeast Asia.

The presenter is Garrett Kam, who was born in Hawai’i and finished his M.A. Asian Studies at UHM. He has been living in Southeast Asia for over 20 years, especially on Java and Bali.

Sponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies (go COS!) and the Asian Studies Program through its Freeman Foundation Artist in Residence project.

[Nifee to Norman Kaneshiro sensei for the info!]

In Hawaii: Hanayakara, Ryusei Daiko & Naha Daiko

The girls of the group Hanayakara are so cute and talented that they could possibly be thought of as the Okinawan version of the popular J-pop group Morning Musume. Hanayakara will be performing in Hawaii at 2pm on Friday (8/31/07) at the Ala Moana Shopping Center’s Centerstage and at 4:05pm on Saturday (9/1/07) at the Okinawan Festival.

Also performing at the Okinawan Festival will be eisaa groups Ryusei Daiko (Sat. 9/1/07 at 4:50pm) and Naha Daiko (Sat. 9/1/07 at 3pm and Sun. 9/2/07 at 5:10pm).

In Hawaii: Miiuta Taishou Winner Takayuki Oshiro [Unconfirmed]

Last year, one of my favorite upcoming utasaa, Akane Murayoshi, came to Hawaii as part of Radio Okinawa’s annual Miiuta Taishou Grand Prix winner’s prize. This year’s (the 18th annual) grand prix winner is Takayuki Oshiro (his nickname is ‘Ootaka’ おおたか) who will be performing his winning composition, “Sakasanaya∼”. The YouTube clip above is Ootaka performing the song “Futamijouwa” with Iijima (Ie Island) beauty Kozue Chinen (who incidentally was also in this year’s Miiuta contest so who knows?). It’s pretty much a guarantee that he’ll be performing but his name isn’t on the program yet so I’m labeling this as “unconfirmed.” The Miiuta Taishou Grand Prix winner is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 1, 2007, at 12:55pm in Kapiolani Park for this year’s Okinawan Festival.

In Hawaii: Churamana

Name sound familiar? Yup, I recently posted an entry about Churamana here and we’ll have a chance to see them live in Hawaii on Friday, August 31, 2007 at the Okinawan Festival in Kapiolani Park. They’ll be performing as part of the “Aloha Concert” set starting from 8pm with Kumu Hula Sonny Ching & Halau Na Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu and Hawaiian recording artist Teresa Bright (link will open to her albums at the iTunes Store).

In Hawaii: Rinken Band

It looks like it’s confirmed, the group that put the “O” in O-pop, Rinken Band, will be performing a free, wait, let me say that again, FREE (yes, doesn’t it look better emphasized and bold?) concert in Honolulu on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Opening for them will be “Hawaii’s Largest Bon Dance” (yeah, I wish it were Tink Tink too) and Rinken and his group will perform a 1-1/2 hour set from 8pm to 9:30pm. More information can be found on HUOA’s Okinawan Festival website.

And if you don’t own any of the group’s albums yet (with more than 10 in their discography, how can you not?), a few of them are available at the iTunes Store over here and over here. If you know me IRL, I’ll make you a mix so give me the word and it’s yours. 😉

Related: Karakui’s DotW post on Rinken Band’s “Party” album.

Identity ‘Roochoo nu Kwa’ Children of Loo Choo

A very big congratulations to the Ukwanshin Kabudan (out of Hawaii) team of Eric Wada, Norman Kaneshiro and Keith Nakaganeku, for their “Identity ‘Roochoo nu Kwa’ Children of Loo Choo” performance at the Uruma Shimin Geijutsu Gekijou Hibiki Hall on Saturday, June 16, 2007. It’s weird (well, not really that weird) that I found out about it through a podcast out of Okinawa. Isn’t technology great? 😀

Keith Nakaganeku and Calabash at Borders This Week!

Want to hear one of the most beautiful voices on the island? How about a chance to listen to Hawaiian, Japanese and Okinawan music at the same place? Well, you’ll get all of those great things if you step away from your Mac/PC and head on over to the Borders at Victoria Ward Centre this Friday (3/16) at 8 PM to listen to Keith Nakaganeku and Calabash. He’ll also be at the Borders Pearlridge location on Saturday (3/17) from 2 PM. Oh, and if you haven’t already, buy his CD too. 😀

(Thanks for the info Ichiro!)