Ayano Uema’s 2nd album will be released on 8/2/09!!!

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We knew she was working on her 2nd album back in January 2009 and now we finally have a release date and a title for it, “Majun,” which will hit local store shelves on August 2, 2009. No other information on the number of tracks or its price but we’ll report it as soon as it’s available. Ayano’s debut album, “Negai Hoshi,” was released in 2006 and the majority of tracks were penned by her. Containing a total of 8 tracks, it sold for ¥2,000.

Ayano Uema’s official website

(Via 上間綾乃の、日々ブログ.)

Long-awaited debut album from Sadahito China

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Gosh, I think this release is more than a decade in the making and I believe it’ll be well-worth the wait. Sadahito has for years, been one of the backup musicians for O-pop quartet Nenes, is also the second son of legendary utasaa Sadao China. So I’ve always thought it strange that it took so long to see a solo album release for him. In a way, I guess it shows that he’s ready to stand on his own as a musician as he’s definitely paid his dues despite having the strong influence of his father always looming in the background. But, I digress.

The album, titled “Shimauta Hangaku,” will have a total of 13 tracks of minyou standards which will definitely be interesting to match-up with his father’s songs. “Shimauta Hangaku” (DCA-0008) goes on sale on May 31, 2009, and is priced at a reasonable ¥2,000. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to track it at online stores like cdjapan.co.jp at this time but believe that it’ll be available at tower.jp and at Amazon.co.jp when it’s released. (I’m basing this on the fact that Kanako Hatoma’s albums, also from the DIG label, are currently on sale at both locations.)

(Via F★blog.)

Misako Oshiro & Toru Yonaha to release collaboration album!

Mark your calendars for this historic (well, IMHO) release: on June 24 veteran singer Misako Oshiro and popular singer-songwriter (and producer) Toru Yonaha will release a collaboration album titled “Futari Uta~Umui Keishou.” The 12-track (including a bonus track of a live performance at Misako’s Shima Umui) album is produced by Toru Yonaha and will be released on Misako’s current record label, Tuff Beats. The album is available for pre-order at cdjapan.co.jp: “Futari Uta~Umui Keishou”.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

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

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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 (who is also her producer) DIG record label. The album (DCA-0007) contains a total of 12 tracks, retails for ¥3,000, and can be purchased online at Amazon.co.jp.

Live performances of Kanako can be found on YouTube by following this link.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

Yukito Ara x Isamu Shimoji’s “Sakishima Meeting” available on iTunes!

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If you’ve been a longtime follower of my blogs, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Yukito Ara and his O-pop band Parsha cluB. Therefore, I’m ecstatic to find music of his (albeit a recent collaboration with Isamu Shimoji, an awesome artist from Miyako Island) available on iTunes. The EP, “Sakishima Meeting,” was released last year (July 26), contains a total of four tracks and while the disc is priced at ¥1,200 (about USD $12), it can be purchased on iTunes for USD $3.96. Awesome stuff.

iTunes Link

Web: Ryukyu Minyo Ongaku Kyokai

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Many of you may know about Okinawa minyo, but you may not know that there are many different organizations of the music in Okinawa and one of them is the Ryukyu Minyo Ongaku Kyokai, or RMOK. I’m actually pretty excited about this entry because having a large, traditional, organization like the RMOK build a website (and to have it under their own domain name) is a great plus to folks like me who live on the web. Two veterans of the Okinawa minyo world are presently affiliated with the organization, Tetsuhiro Daiku (who has been pretty active on the web), and Yukichi Yamazato. Looking through their listing of affiliated schools, I also see Mayumi Yamakawa and Mitsuko Nakado. Way to go!

Ryukyu Minyo Ongaku Kyokai

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 as a genius of the music. While Ikue has had indie record releases since 1997, it wasn’t until 2002 that she had her first major label release with the album “Utaba Utayun” on Universal Music. According to her Wikipedia page, “Utaba Utayun” is one of her most famous, notably for the song “Obokuri Eeumi,” which was featured in the anime “Samurai Champloo” (see below video).

With 2005’s “Obokuri” (Toshiba EMI) being her last major label release, Ikue has since returned as an indies musician with her most recent album released on 2007 titled “Hamasaki” from the HIGH CONTRAST RECORDINGS label. Ikue’s official website can be found here.

(Nifee deebitan to Shari Tamashiro for bringing the singer to my attention.)

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!)

Ayano Uema posts images on her blog from her Kansai tour

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Utasaa Ayano Uema’s blog entry on her recent Kansai tour is filled with both candid and on-stage images. The first of the trio of concerts took place at Live House MAXA in Matsuzaka City, Mie Prefecture (yes, it’s where the famous Matsuzaka beef is from), and was filmed live by the city’s TV station.

To learn more about this beautiful singer, be sure to check out her official website.

ういずあす – the trio formerly known as ‘wiz-us’

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Waiting for me in my inbox this morning was an email from Mark about a group from Okinawa named ういずあす. At first I didn’t recognize the group but upon further research (ah, googling how I love thee) I found that the trio formerly went by the name “wiz-us” (which is how the current name is pronounced in English—yeah, go figure). Anyhoo, that name was quite familiar to me because I purchased their debut single, “Toori Ame,” a couple of years ago. At the time, they were marketed as a J-pop group with an Okinawan-twist (not unlike what’s being seen in the popularity of artists from Amami-Oshima like Chitose Hajime and Kousuke Atari) by, I presume, their record label at the time SME Records. So, yeah, I was totally thrown off by the change from “wiz-us” to the Japanese “ういずあす” and how they’re now adorned in Ryukyuan costume. Checking out their profile, the change from J-pop to wherever they plan to go (O-pop? Minyou?) from here is not all fluff as all three are accomplished artists of Ryukyuan music and dance:

  • Rina Kinjo (22, Nago City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 13 years.
  • Reika Higa (23, Nanjou City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 14 years.
  • Ayano Oyakawa (23, Urasoe City): Ryukyu Buyou (Saikoushou) for 15 years.

Their discography (from their SME catalog) so far consists of their debut single “Toori Ame” released in March 2007 and a cover album, “Nakayukui,” released in December 2007. Looking at the discography you’ll notice the void between January 2008 to present so I’m assuming they’re going indie.

Links to find out more about ういずあす (I’ve left out the ones that link to wiz-us):
Official Website
Official Blog

Video: おきなわBBtv: They introduce themselves with their new name and also mention an upcoming single that they’re working on.

(Nifee deebitan to Mark for the tip!)