While browsing the iTunes Store (waiting patiently for Hikaru Utada’s [a J-pop artist with no ties that I know of to Okinawan pop culture but thought I’d share this information with you anyway 😛 ] latest album to pop-up there) I stumbled on two indies artists — one an utasaa, the other an O-pop duo — who have albums at the store.
Shinobu Maki is one of young artists inheriting traditional music of Yaeyama Islands located in southwest of Okinawa, Japan.
He lives in Taketomi Island floating in the beautiful sea of cobalt color. In this album, “Yonaguni Shongane” recorded on the beach of Taketomi Island is the best choice, and you must be able to feel the refreshing wind and beautiful cobalt sea of Taketomi Island.
In addition, Shinobu Maki can play Sanshin by wonderful technique which is local traditional stringed instrument.
For US $7.92, you’ll get 8 tracks (the original album comes with a total of 10 tracks — missing is “Hiyamikachi Bushi” and a cover of BEGIN’s “Yugafu Shima”) of lovely shimauta performed by Shinobu.
The second is “Ribbon of the Hearts” (iTunes Store link) from O-pop duo Kochi (東風). Having started Kochi in 1998, Shuri-born Takane Kochihira (vocal/guitar) and Belgium-born Yasuko Takahashi (vocal/sanshin), released their first single called “Umui Uta” in 2004. “Ribbon of the Hearts” is priced at US $6.93 and comes with all 7 tracks like the CD copy.
It’s interesting to see these artists added to the iTunes Store where otherwise they’d have little exposure to those outside of Okinawa and Japan. Be sure to check out my Listing of Artists on iTunes Page for more stuff to add to your Okinawan music collection.