Kanako Hatoma’s second album, “Tiida nu Fwaa”

Yeah, I’m late on this one as it’s been sitting in my To-Do list for several months. So without further ado… Yaeyama singer Kanako Hatoma (26) released her second album, “Tiida nu Fwaa,” in October of last year. The album follows her debut album “Yoon no Michi” which was released in 2001 on Sadao China’s …

Veteran Amami utasha Ikue Asazaki

We often focus on the new singers from Amami-Oshima like Rikki Nakano, Chitose Hajime, Kosuke Atari, and Minami Kizuki, leaving out the traditional singers. So, better late than never, no? Ikue Asazaki is a veteran utasha (now in her 70s) who has been singing Amami shimauta since picking it up from her father and regarded …

New year get-together and fellowship dinner

Happy New Year to the Okinawa Minyo Kyokai Derek Ichiro Shiroma Kenkyusho and Jane Kaneshiro Sozan Kai who will have a New Year get-together and fellowship dinner this Friday night at the Jikoen Hongwanji Mission. I’ll be there and I’m hoping to see some of you there too. 🙂 (Nifee deebitan for the invite, Derek-sensei!)

Bassist Yo Yasuda’s BeatMaster iPhone/iPod touch app

Currently based in Okinawa, professional bass player Yo Yasuda has played with a number of artists like Syakari, Siori, and Namiko. Although that should be enough to be of interest to our pop culture blog, he’s gone and done something to really excite us: introducing the BeatMaster app for iPhone and iPod touch. According to …

Update: Ukulele Picnic 2009 in Hawaii

I posted an entry a couple of weeks ago about the upcoming Ukulele Picnic 2009 in Hawaii concert and it looks like we have a time slot for Keith Nakaganeku and BEGIN’s Masaru Shimabukuro. The special collaboration between these two amazing musicians is set to take the stage from 3:10 PM for a 15-minute set. …

Website: Simple Sanshin Source

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 …

Mark this date: 2/14/09 Ukulele Picnic in Hawaii

One of my favorite artists of both Okinawan and Hawaiian music is Keith Nakaganeku (with his band Calabash) and I got a tip that he’ll be performing along with his friend Masaru Shimabukuro (BEGIN‘s guitarist) at this year’s Ukulele Picnic 2009 in Hawaii on Saturday, February 14, 2009. He’ll be singing “Nada Sou Sou” and …

Ayano Uema’s recording of her 2nd album

While I couldn’t find a release date for utasaa Ayano Uema’s forthcoming (and untitled) sophomore album, we can rest assured that she’s busy recording for it and is posting her progress of it on her blog here, here, and here. If you haven’t already purchased it, Ayano’s (and two other awesome female utasaa, Mika Uchizato …

Matsuda Kazutoshi no Teegee Rajio

Utasaa Kazutoshi “Kaazuu” Matsuda launched his own internet radio show, Matsuda Kazutoshi no Teegee Rajio, at the beginning of the month and now he’s added a much welcome m3u version (it launched with Real Player) for the last two shows (#3 and #4). Although it’s all in Japanese, it’s worth listening to as he introduces …

Yasuo Yoshida’s ‘Jakai’ hits stores on March 23rd

Veteran utasaa (Okinawan folk musician) Yasuo Yoshida has a new album out today titled “Jakai.” Yasuo-sensei is one of the most I’m-happy-to-be-in-the-background-kind of musicians I’ve ever met so I’m quite eager to listen to the album. Many of you who follow shimauta and O-pop (Okinawan pop music) will probably be familiar with his wife, Yasuko …