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

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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 Masaru will be backing him up on the Ichi Go Ichie instrument he and BEGIN designed with luthier K.Yairi.

There’s a pretty impressive lineup of musicians from Hawaii and Japan and best of all, the event is free, and will be held at the Kakaako Waterfront Park in Honolulu, Hawaii.

And if you haven’t purchased Keith’s debut album, “Hawaiian Jazz Done Asian Style,” it’s available on Amazon.com. (Image to the left contains a clickable affiliate link that helps out Karakui.com if you purchase the album from it. Nifee in advance! 😀 )

BEGIN’s record label, Teichiku, started up their own YouTube channel where you can find the band’s latest song, “Egao no Manma,” for viewing. I guess it’s a great way to see what Masaru looks like so you can give him a shaka and Aloha when you see him (and Keith too) at the Ukulele Picnic. 😉

(Nifee deebitan for the tip, Derek & Keith!)

Tatsuya Shimabukuro to perform in Hawaii’s Okinawan Festival!

I blogged about Tatsuya Shimabukuro’s debut album several months ago and now I’m elated to hear that he’ll be performing at this year’s Okinawan Festival (Honolulu, Hawaii). He’s set to perform on Saturday, August 30, as part of the ROK segment as one of the winners of their Miuta Taisho competition. BBtv has footage (video #3, 島袋辰也 for the song “アーシベイストリート”) of his performance from the competition so go view it and see him shred on his sanshin!

Okinawan music and dance performance: ‘Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo’

Norman Kaneshiro-sensei emailed information on an Okinawan music and dance performance his group has lined up for March 28, 2008, a Saturday. Titled “Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo,” the performance featuring the talented members of Ukwanshin Kabudan will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (<rant>for those like me who are irritated by websites that resize your browser’s window, this is one of them</rant>). Ukwanshin Kabudan has a blog too! Way to go, guys. 🙂

For more information, download the poster and/or the synopsis (includes the artists’ profiles).

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!

In Hawaii: Hanayakara, Ryusei Daiko & Naha Daiko

The girls of the group Hanayakara are so cute and talented that they could possibly be thought of as the Okinawan version of the popular J-pop group Morning Musume. Hanayakara will be performing in Hawaii at 2pm on Friday (8/31/07) at the Ala Moana Shopping Center’s Centerstage and at 4:05pm on Saturday (9/1/07) at the Okinawan Festival.

Also performing at the Okinawan Festival will be eisaa groups Ryusei Daiko (Sat. 9/1/07 at 4:50pm) and Naha Daiko (Sat. 9/1/07 at 3pm and Sun. 9/2/07 at 5:10pm).