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 and Natsuki Nakamura) “Yonaha Toru Presents: Uchina Warabeuta” is available on iTunes (link opens iTunes Store). It’s an album that I highly recommended giving a listen to. Also worth checking out the trio on two additional songs, “Hanjou Bushi” and “Miyarabi Yunta,” which are on the various artists album “Respect Record Presents Okinawa Best Song Collection” (link opens iTunes Store).

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 new albums and performs live on the show too. (Previous shows can be found here. He also has links to the artists and albums mentioned on the shows on that page.)

(Via Three Strings.)

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 Yoshida, of the first generation Nenes who joins him on this album on taiko, sanba and feeshi, along with the couple’s daughter, Izumi on feeshi. Also appearing on the album is Satoshi Kadekaru on keys, Sadao China-sensei on (get this) koto, guitalele, and violin.

The album, from Marufuku Record (FCD-115), will have a total of 13 tracks and is priced at ¥3,000.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

Music: Respect Record to release Seijin Noborikawa original album in January 2008


Respect Record has been the record label most associated with original album releases (as opposed to compilations or reissues of an artist’s earlier recordings) of artists from Okinawa that’s readily available outside of Okinawa on say iTunes or from my personal favorite online stores like CDJapan.

The label’s release of Seijin Noborikawa’s fantastic “Spiritual Unity” (RES-45) in 2001 — which apparently is out-of-print but available for sale digitally in DRM-free goodness iTunes Plus — brought an end to a recording drought by the utasaa[1] legend. (Noborikawa’s previous original album was 1998’s “Howling Wolf.”) The 2001 release also brought about a string of shima-uta[2] releases by the record label which brought us many gems and continues onto 2008 with Noborikawa’s first original solo album recording in six years, “Suikojizai” (RES-135).

The 14-track “Suikojizai” follows 2002’s “STAND!” (out-of-print but available on iTunes) and will be released on 16 January 2008.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

1. utasaa, utasha, 唄者 – folk singer.
2. shima-uta, 島唄 – island song, folk music from Amami-Oshima and Okinawa.

Community: Congratulations to Kenton Odo, June Nakama and Calvin Nakama

There’s a nice story by Steve Murray on Midweek.com (‘SHAMISEN’) on the accomplishments of three musicians from Hawaii who are “the first foreigners to earn a master’s certificate in the Okinawan shamisen.” Definitely worth a read. All three musicians will be performing in Hawaii on Tuesday, November 27 as part of the 14th annual TOBE! Uta Sanshin 2007 concert. Read here for more info. Congratulations guys, we’re all very proud of you!