Qwotchee Records catalog release continues with Lucy’s recordings becoming available in digital format. At the time of this writing, her album “Koi no Yoisura Bushi” can only be previewed on Apple Music (assuming this is only for those outside of Uchinaa) so hopefully we’ll be able to stream it soon. The album was originally released in CD format back in 2013.
Minyou singer Nakamura Natsuki has a new music video for the cover of Quruli’s “Mikazuki” up on her YouTube channel. The song is from her mini album “Agaritida” and was filmed on Hamahiga-jima. So far, two songs (one of them is “Mikazuki”) from the album have been released internationally so let’s hope that we’ll be able to stream or purchase the entire album one day.
It was teased on Twitter but fans all knew that Kamiya Chihiro is working on a new album that follows her 3rd album “Utaui” (which is amazing) released in 2012. The upcoming new album “Utayui” is slated to be released in August and has a total of 10 tracks. Like her previous release, the album will have Ryukyu minyou (folk) songs rearranged as well as original songs. The album jacket is forthcoming.
It’s crazy times that we’re able to watch a livestream of the amazing Ganeko Yoriko‘s performances at her minyou stage Utahime. I visited there a long time ago with a group and we were invited to do an impromptu live performance on her stage. She’s very gracious and kind so if you’re in Okinawa, be sure to make Utahime one of the top places on your must-visit list. She streams live once a month so be sure to subscribe to her channel.
It was announced on May 5th Okinawa time that the great Miyako folk singer Kuniyoshi Genji has passed away at the age of 90 on May 4th. Born on June 10, 1930 on Miyako Island, during his childhood he was known for his love of music. At 35 he decided to make his living as a professional Miyako folk singer and he won the Folk Song Division for NHK’s Nodo Jiman (20th annual Okinawa region). If you’re unfamiliar with Nodo Jiman, it’s like the inspiration to shows like America’s Got Talent. His passing is another great sorrow for our community having lost Oshiro Misako in January of this year. May he RIP.
It’s been a long time coming but Agaritida is the first solo release from Okinawa’s Natsuki Nakamura who has been well-known on the island music …Natsuki Nakamura: Agaritida
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.)
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.
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.
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!)