Miyako Folk Singer Kuniyoshi Genji RIP

Far Side Music’s YouTube Channel

It was announced on May 5th Okinawa time that the great Miyako folk singer Kuniyoshi Genji has passed away at the age of 90 on May 4th. Born on June 10, 1930 on Miyako Island, during his childhood he was known for his love of music. At 35 he decided to make his living as a professional Miyako folk singer and he won the Folk Song Division for NHK’s Nodo Jiman (20th annual Okinawa region). If you’re unfamiliar with Nodo Jiman, it’s like the inspiration to shows like America’s Got Talent. His passing is another great sorrow for our community having lost Oshiro Misako in January of this year. May he RIP.

Suzuhana Yuko (Wagakki Band) Plays Asadoya Yunta

Suzuhana Yuko, the vocalist of the Japanese folk rock band Wagakki Band, recently shared on her YouTube channel that she’s a fan of the sanshin and Okinawan folk music. She performs Asadoya Yunta and talks a bit about how she came upon the instrument and her love of Okinawa. In the video’s description, she writes in English (probably for her worldwide audience) of how the sanshin is not the same as the shamisen that’s used in her band’s music. Maybe we’ll one day see an original Okinawan folk pop/rock song on a future album of Wagakki Band like The Boom’s Shima Uta and Heiwa no Ryuka from the Southern All Stars.

The OGsband “Chibariyo”

“Chibariyo” from The OGsband (from their YouTube channel) is really catchy.

Here’s a short biography of the band via their MySpace Music page:

We are 3 Americans that decided to make Okinawa our home. After playing in various cover bands here, we decided to join forces and start an original acoustic band. So far, so good. We are currently in the process of recording more demo songs to upload and hopefully, we can record a CD in 2010. You can hear some of the songs that may be included on that CD on our music player or click on one of the below videos. Let us know what you think. Thanks.

僕たちは沖縄を自分たちのホームタウンに活動する事に決めた3人です。沖縄でいろいろな曲をカバーしているうちにオリジナルアコースチックバンドを始めることに決めました。曲はロック、フォークソング、カントリー、ブルース、そして沖縄調を合わせもつ曲です。 カバーソングの演奏はリクエストに対応できます。 曲は、一晩で3セット〔各45分〕用意しています。スケジュールなどはぜひ下のサイトでご覧ください。

Check out the OGsband on MySpace Music. Chibariyo guys!