Toru Yonaha on YouTube

I’m loving this so much that I want to share this short video of the song “Urazagwaa” featuring Toru Yonaha and Mayumi Yamakawa. Clip is from tadaitsu’s YouTube channel shot at this year’s Koza Terurin Matsuri.

If you can handle the shaky camera work, the next video features Misako Koja and Toru Yonaha singing Koja’s “Warabigami” shot at last year’s Shinjuku Eisa Matsuri. At least the sound quality is pretty decent.

And finally, Toru jamming his “Chatan Meekata” with backup by singer Mika Uchizato.

More videos on YouTube with Toru Yonaha can be found here.

Ayano Uema shares video of “PW無情”

You can file this in the “let’s hope more artist get in on this” category. Popular (and beautiful I might add) utasaa Ayano Uema shares a PV (well, kinda) of her rendition of the song “PW 無情” (the Prisoner of War song) on YouTube. Accompanying Ayano on piano is Yasushi Matsumoto of Taiyofu Orchestra.

(Via 上間綾乃の、日々ブログ.)

Sadao China has a big 2009

2009 has turned out to be a big year for the utasaa great, Sadao China. Perhaps the biggest was the King Records limited edition 6-CD box set “Shimauta Hyakkei” released back in October. (The box set can be purchased at our favorite online retailer, CDJapan.) Yeah, a CD box set release may not be the most exciting of news to some, but throw in a Japan Record Award and we’ve definitely got something here.

(Via F★blog.)

But that’s not all folks! Beginning this month (and into January 2010), Sadao China will be featured in an NHK series introducing the sanshin to beginners of the instrument. Titled “Mensoore! Hajimete no Sanshin,” the show also has its own textbook to follow along with Sadao’s lessons. I’m hoping NHK will release a DVD when the series is over and we’ll post it here if we hear news of it.

(Via 沖縄三線.com.)

Continue reading “Sadao China has a big 2009”

Hirara releases debut mini album, “Kanikubata”

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Miyakojima folk singer, Hirara, who performed at this year’s Okinawan Festival in Honolulu, released her debut mini album, “Kanikubata,” on December 1, 2009. The album is currently sold in Okinawa and contains a total of six tracks including “Kanikubata” and “Tsuki ni Negai wo” — both featured in CMs for the awamori Kiku no Tsuyu.

Continue reading “Hirara releases debut mini album, “Kanikubata””

And this, my friends, is what the Web is all about

Visit YouTube user tauezato‘s “Pops Sanshin Class” channel to view more videos like this (the song is BEGIN’s “Shimanchu nu Takara”). It’s a great way to learn songs since he shoots a closeup of his fingering on the sanshin. Couple this with Taruu’s Shimauta Majime na Kenkyuu blog for lyrics to Okinawan songs are you’re set!

Chihiro Kamiya’s new mini album “Cheeringu”

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A very favorite artist of ours, Chihiro Kamiya, will be releasing a mini album titled “Cheeringu” on 9/30/09. The mini album will have a total of 7 tracks. In a departure to her previous albums which were Okinawan pop focused, the mini album will be a mixture of world, pop and reggae sounds. Whatever she sings, we’ll be buying it. 😀

“Cheeringu” is available for pre-order at cdjapan.co.jp.

okinawaBBtv has an interview with Chihiro announcing her new mini album up on their site.

King Records to release a 6-CD box set of Sadao China’s recordings

I heard about this upcoming release about a month or so ago but haven’t seen any big promotions of it—which is quite sad indeed. So we here at Karakui.com will do our part by promoting the King Records release of a 6-disc box set featuring music by utasaa (Okinawan folk singer) legend Sadao China. Titled “Hyakkei,” the limited release box set of 101 tracks will sell for ¥15,000 with each disc featuring a theme of: Celebration & Dance (Disc 1), Playful & Fun (Disc 2 & 3), Drama & Admiration (Disc 4), and Love (Disc 5 & 6). “Hyakkei” will be released on October 7, 2009, and is available for pre-order at online retailers like (our favorite) cdjapan.co.jp. Click here for a full list of tracks in the box set.

Not interested in the box set? Well, there’s a release for you as well. Coming before the release of “Hyakkei” King Records will release a (single) disc of Sadao China’s recordings titled “Uta Damashii” on September 9, 2009. “Uta Damashii” will have a total of 15 tracks—13 of which are in “Hyakkei” and 2 bonus tracks which aren’t included in the box set—and is priced at ¥2,800. “Uta Damashii” is available for pre-order at cdjapan.co.jp.

Yasukatsu Oshima’s albums available on iTunes!

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I’ve long, long, been a fan of utasaa (minyou singer) Yasukatsu Oshima and although I already own most of the albums in his discography, having his music readily available for other future fans on iTunes is simply awesome. I have to give a lot of props to whoever is in charge of promoting the singer (Miki Nagata?) because in addition to having his albums on iTunes, Yasukatsu’s website has been wonderfully redone with information in English (with an RSS feed), a Twitter acccount, and gems like this translated bit from an interview found in Urma magazine.

If I had to recommend an album of his to start your collection with, I’d say pick-up “Island Journey” which is very easy to listen to and features guest musicians such as J-pop artist UA, pianist Ayano Kinjou of the J-pop duo Kiroro, and wunderkind utasaa Kanako Hatoma.

Unfortunately, missing from the albums available on iTunes as well as the discography listing on the website is his debut album “Nishi Kaji Hai Kaji,” released in 1993 from Polystar. The album featured the song “Irayoi Tsukiyahama” which was co-written with Eishou Higa of BEGIN (who covers the song on their first shimauta collection “Omototakeo 1”).

Among his contemporaries from Yaeyama, if I were to connect a genre to each I would say that Yukito Ara is rock, Eishou Higa (BEGIN) is pop, and Yasukatsu is soul. My wish from now is to see all of their music—especially Yukito’s as well as Parsha’s because they’re on an indie label—available digitally as well. It’s my hope that they’ll follow Yasukatsu’s lead in making their music readily available to the world through online stores like iTunes.

(BTW, the only album of his missing in my collection was his beautiful collaboration with Geoffrey Keezer which, thanks to it being available on iTunes, I now own. 😀 )

Link: Yasukatsu’s albums on iTunes (link opens iTunes)
Link: Official website (in English)