Introducing okinawa-sanshin.net’s kunkunshi database

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Upon hearing of okinawa-sanshin.net’s kunkunshi database my first thought was “cool, there’s finally a website that makes available kunkunshi for all to enjoy.” But, alas, the website is actually a database for existing kunkunshi books. Still, it’s a great way to search for a song to find out which kunkunshi book it’s in to save you time with your collection at home or if you’re out shopping for one.

All we can hope for in the near future is to see these book companies take the next step and go digital for say, Apple’s iPad. 😉

Sanshin Kunkunshi Database (三線工工四データベース)

Website: Simple Sanshin Source

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Simple Sanshin Source is “an English-based guide to the Okinawan sanshin” that features kunkunshi (sheet music), lyrics, and tips by Kenji, a self-taught sanshin enthusiast. Given that I haven’t been very good at updating Three Strings, Simple Sanshin Source looks to be the online place to learn about the sanshin. There’s also a YouTube channel with sanshin tutorials so check it out!

Ryukyu Beatles, not an insect, rather, it’s the name of an album

Yup, Richie here at Karakui.com is a pretty big fan of The Beatles and it’s pretty cool to see their music redone with an Okinawan twist. The group of this wonderful album are calling themselves “Soul Gakudan” and they’re none other than Toru Yonaha (sanshin, fue), Kazunari Uechi (taiko), Yoko Onaga (koto) and Natsuko Morita (kuucho). (That’s Toru in the YouTube clip performing “Day Tripper” in Koza.)

The first pressing of the 10-track album—released on 6/18/08—comes with a kunkunshi (or kururunshi) booklet and is currently on sale for ¥2,000 at retailers like CDJapan.

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Track listing:

  1. NORWEGIAN WOOD
  2. TICKET TO RIDE
  3. EIGHT DAYS A WEEK
  4. YELLOW SUBMARINE
  5. OB-LA-DI, OB-LA-DA
  6. DAY TRIPPER
  7. MICHELLE
  8. IN MY LIFE
  9. NOWHERE MAN
  10. HEY JUDE

Singer Kozue Chinen posts kunkunshi of her song ‘Imenshori Iijima’

In a very cool move, Okinawa minyou singer Kozue Chinen posted kunkunshi (musical notation) of her composition “Imenshori Iijima” on her blog along with the lyrics which are a tribute to her hometown. “Imenshori” means welcome in Iijima (Iejima) dialect and she also links to a YouTube clip of her performing the song.