Music: Teresa Bright’s ‘Hawaiinawa’ a fusion of island music from Hawaii and Okinawa

With yours truly being from Hawaii with ties to Okinawa (Japan and China too), it’s really great to see an album that brings both cultures together and Teresa Bright’s latest album “Hawaiinawa” does just that.

From a Honolulu Advertiser interview with the singer (by Derek Paiva):

At the beginning of the project, Bright chose to not read literal translations of the songs. Instead, she found a connection with Hawai’i by studying Okinawan culture, history, geography and music origins. She researched the Okinawan migration to our Islands for sugar plantation work and the songs workers brought with them.

“I found similarities with Hawaiian people,” said Bright. “Okinawans once had their own kingdom and were overthrown. They were fishing people, people of the land, gentle people … just like us.”

When Bright later received very basic English translations of the songs, she discovered other similarities.

“A lot of what they wrote was about their daily lives. The men going out to sea to fish, and the women missing them. A lot of it is about that love. A lot of songs were about flowers.”

Be sure to check out the full-article which has a couple of samples from the album which is also on-sale at the iTunes Store (I’ll pick it up tonight via the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store).

If you’re interested in her album, check out Keith Nakaganeku and Calabash and Churamana.

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).

Hawaiian meets Okinawan: Churamana

If you’re a fan of Hawaiian and Okinawan music you may be interested in the duo Churamana (チュラマナ, roughly translated as “Beautiful [chura, Okinawan] Energy [mana, Hawaiian]”) with Tokyo-born Maki Uehara on vocals/hula and Ishigakijima-born Makiko Miyara (formerly of the O-pop group Donann) on vocals. If you’re familiar with the group TINGARA (Okinawan healing music) — check out this Pop.i-O entry I posted about 2 years ago on them — Churamana’s music may seem familiar and that’s due to Gerhen Oshima’s (ex-TINGARA, on sanshin) involvement in the project along with a well-known musician of Hawaiian music in Japan by the name of Yuki “Alani” Yamauchi (on slack-key guitar, Hawaiian guitar and ukulele).

Samples of the duo’s music is available at the Japan iTunes Store (clicking on link will launch iTunes). If you’re interested in purchasing their CDs, they’re available at one of my favorite online stores,

Churamana’s Discography (caps = katakana):

Rakuen no Niji
“Rakuen no Niji” 2007.05.23 (VICL-62409)

  1. Hi‘lawe ∼ Akata Sundunchi
  2. Aloha Oe
  3. ChuraMANA
  4. Hana ∼ Subete no Hito no Koroko ni Hana wo
  5. Mana
  6. Umi no Joou Rainha do mar
  7. Pua Mae‘ole
  8. Asadoya Yunta
  9. Kokoro ni Niji wo
  10. Amakakiru Hashi
  11. Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua
  12. Yuuyake no Niwa

Futatsu no Rakuen
Futatsu no Rakuen 2006.06.21 (VICL-61977)

  1. Ula No Weo —Prologue—
  2. Kodou ∼Ichimadin∼
  3. Akaka Falls
  4. Tinsagu nu Hana
  5. Pua Ahihi
  6. Furusato
  7. Pua Anela
  8. Kanahele —Interlude—
  9. Tsuki nu Kaisha
  10. Yashi no Mi
  11. Ula No Weo

Official Website (Victor Entertaiment, Inc.)
Official Blog (Futatsu no Rakuen)

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!)

What Do These Three Have in Common?

  1. Konishiki – a retired sumo wrestler and popular celeb
  2. Rimi Natsukawa – one of Japan’s top vocalists
  3. Jake Shimabukuro – ukulele player extraordinaire

The answer? An hour-long music special called “Melody Club” that I still hear people raving about although it aired on Hawaii’s KIKU-TV station on January 7, 2007. (The lowdown on the show: it’s actually an episode from an NHK music program called “Ongaku · Yume Kurabu [Club]” that aired in Japan from April 7, 2005 to March 23, 2006.) I know there are a lot of you out there who missed it and I think KIKU-TV knows it too so they will be rebroadcasting the special on Friday, February 23, at 9:00 PM. (By the way, the video above is from the show. Check out more like this on YouTube.)

Vote for Keith Nakaganeku and Calabash!

Keith Nakaganeku and Calabash’s debut album, “Hawaiian Jazz Done Asian Style”, is up for New Artist of the Year for the 10th Annual Hawaii Music Awards. We can vote for him/his band online and they also have a sample (one minute long) of “Blue Darlin'” up on the site too. Vote for him over here and tell your friends about it too!

Learn more about Keith and Calabash at their official website where you can sample songs from the rest of his very fine album. (My personal favorite is the song “Ke Lana Nei”.)