In Hawaii: Miiuta Taishou Winner Takayuki Oshiro [Unconfirmed]

Last year, one of my favorite upcoming utasaa, Akane Murayoshi, came to Hawaii as part of Radio Okinawa’s annual Miiuta Taishou Grand Prix winner’s prize. This year’s (the 18th annual) grand prix winner is Takayuki Oshiro (his nickname is ‘Ootaka’ おおたか) who will be performing his winning composition, “Sakasanaya∼”. The YouTube clip above is Ootaka performing the song “Futamijouwa” with Iijima (Ie Island) beauty Kozue Chinen (who incidentally was also in this year’s Miiuta contest so who knows?). It’s pretty much a guarantee that he’ll be performing but his name isn’t on the program yet so I’m labeling this as “unconfirmed.” The Miiuta Taishou Grand Prix winner is scheduled to perform on Saturday, September 1, 2007, at 12:55pm in Kapiolani Park for this year’s Okinawan Festival.

In Hawaii: Churamana

Name sound familiar? Yup, I recently posted an entry about Churamana here and we’ll have a chance to see them live in Hawaii on Friday, August 31, 2007 at the Okinawan Festival in Kapiolani Park. They’ll be performing as part of the “Aloha Concert” set starting from 8pm with Kumu Hula Sonny Ching & Halau Na Mamo O Pu‘uanahulu and Hawaiian recording artist Teresa Bright (link will open to her albums at the iTunes Store).

In Hawaii: Rinken Band

It looks like it’s confirmed, the group that put the “O” in O-pop, Rinken Band, will be performing a free, wait, let me say that again, FREE (yes, doesn’t it look better emphasized and bold?) concert in Honolulu on Saturday, September 1, 2007. Opening for them will be “Hawaii’s Largest Bon Dance” (yeah, I wish it were Tink Tink too) and Rinken and his group will perform a 1-1/2 hour set from 8pm to 9:30pm. More information can be found on HUOA’s Okinawan Festival website.

And if you don’t own any of the group’s albums yet (with more than 10 in their discography, how can you not?), a few of them are available at the iTunes Store over here and over here. If you know me IRL, I’ll make you a mix so give me the word and it’s yours. 😉

Related: Karakui’s DotW post on Rinken Band’s “Party” album.

DVD: Misako Oshiro’s ‘Uta Kataree’

Misako Oshiro’s ‘Uta Kataree’ DVD Utasaa great Misako Oshiro is making 2007 a year to remember. She started off the year with her first full-album in 10 years, “Uta Umui” (UBCA-1008, Tuff Beats), and held her 50th anniversary (in Okinawa’s performing arts) recital last month (7/8/07) at the Naha Shimin Kaikan. She’ll be performing around Japan from August to October and she has a DVD out titled “Uta Kataree” (INDN-70708, Indie Network). The must-have 12-track DVD will also include an interview with the “Okinawan Shimauta Queen”. If you’re not in Okinawa, I think it’ll be pretty hard to get your hands on this DVD through the regular channels so I’d have to recommend going with Sanshin’s Matsuda. Not to fret tho’, come 10/14/07 Tuff Beats (the record label responsible for “Uta Umui”) will be releasing a DVD (UBBA-2001) of her recital which will be available online at Tower Records Japan as well as, I believe, CDJapan and I should also add that she has one of the best utasaa-related websites out there: Shima Umui (which is the name of her minyou bar in Naha).

Utasaa (utasha in Japanese): Okinawan folk singer.

[Image and tip on the “Uta Kataree” DVD via Campus Record Staff blog.]

Yui Aragaki to Make Debut as J-pop Singer!

Yui Aragaki

If Yukie Nakama is beautiful, Yu Yamada sexy, then 19 year old Yui Aragaki definitely has cute down. The model-turned-actress will be making her J-pop singing debut with the song “Memories” from the film which she also stars in called “Koisuru MADORI” (starts its run in theaters on 8/18/07). Also appearing in the movie is Ryuhei Matsuda (who also happened to star in a movie with Yu Yamada) and the fantastic (well, so far with the film “Babel”) Rinko Kikuchi. The trailer has Gakky’s song on it which kicks in around the middle.

[Tip via Tokyograph. Image via Kevin.]

CD Album: Hirokazu Matsuda’s ‘Sanshin-Zanmai’

Hirokazu Matsuda’s ‘Sanshin-Lanmai’

Long known as a master utasaa (Okinawan folk musician), it’s hard to believe that the September 26, 2007 “Sanshin-Zanmai” (RES-126, 14 tracks), marks Hirokazu Matsuda’s (The Fere) first nationwide CD album release. Thanks to the awesome record label Respect Record (Seijin Noborikawa, Sadao China, Yoriko Ganeko, Takashi Hirayasu, Ryukyu Underground, Toru Yonaha), fans of Okinawan minyou (folk music) will have an easier option (the harder option being to import from Okinawa) to purchase his music. The CD album should be available for sale at all of our favorite online stores and if history repeats itself, at the iTunes Store too. 🙂

[Via the Campus Records staff blog.]

Update: OK. Something’s fishy with this album cover. It looks like the person who photoshopped the sanshin’s sou (neck) failed to notice that it’s been switched around. The nakajiru’s karakui should be facing Hirokazu and if you look on the sou, you’ll find finger positioning stickers which should also be facing him. Conspiracy? Collector’s album cover? The album doesn’t hit until September so maybe they’ll correct it by then. We’ll see.

Workshop: Loochoo Nu Kwa

We posted about the concert they held in Okinawa back in June of this year and now it looks like they’re heading to Oahu, Hawaii with a workshop. Let’s hope a concert will happen here too. *hint* 😉

Loochoo Nu Kwa: Children of Loochoo
Workshop on Okinawa’s music and dance as connected to its history and culture

When: Saturday, August 25
Registration: 4:30 p.m.
Workshop: 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Jikoen Hongwanji Hall, 1731 N. School Street, Honolulu

Presented by Ukwanshin Kabudan, sponsored in part by Young Okinawans of Hawai‘i

This workshop will help you to understand the importance of music and dance in the history and culture of Okinawa. You will also hear the urgency to preserve and perpetuate the Ryukyuan traditional legacy as presented by Norman Kaneshiro, Eric Wada, and the Ukwanshin Kabudan members who have just returned from an emotional visit to Okinawa. If you have ever wondered about what it is to be Okinawan, or how you can strengthen your identity, this presentation will help you to understand.

[Via Donna.]

Check out Donna’s post for a link to download the workshop’s flyer.

Hawaiian meets Okinawan: Churamana

If you’re a fan of Hawaiian and Okinawan music you may be interested in the duo Churamana (チュラマナ, roughly translated as “Beautiful [chura, Okinawan] Energy [mana, Hawaiian]”) with Tokyo-born Maki Uehara on vocals/hula and Ishigakijima-born Makiko Miyara (formerly of the O-pop group Donann) on vocals. If you’re familiar with the group TINGARA (Okinawan healing music) — check out this Pop.i-O entry I posted about 2 years ago on them — Churamana’s music may seem familiar and that’s due to Gerhen Oshima’s (ex-TINGARA, on sanshin) involvement in the project along with a well-known musician of Hawaiian music in Japan by the name of Yuki “Alani” Yamauchi (on slack-key guitar, Hawaiian guitar and ukulele).

Samples of the duo’s music is available at the Japan iTunes Store (clicking on link will launch iTunes). If you’re interested in purchasing their CDs, they’re available at one of my favorite online stores,

Churamana’s Discography (caps = katakana):

Rakuen no Niji
“Rakuen no Niji” 2007.05.23 (VICL-62409)

  1. Hi‘lawe ∼ Akata Sundunchi
  2. Aloha Oe
  3. ChuraMANA
  4. Hana ∼ Subete no Hito no Koroko ni Hana wo
  5. Mana
  6. Umi no Joou Rainha do mar
  7. Pua Mae‘ole
  8. Asadoya Yunta
  9. Kokoro ni Niji wo
  10. Amakakiru Hashi
  11. Pauoa Liko Ka Lehua
  12. Yuuyake no Niwa

Futatsu no Rakuen
Futatsu no Rakuen 2006.06.21 (VICL-61977)

  1. Ula No Weo —Prologue—
  2. Kodou ∼Ichimadin∼
  3. Akaka Falls
  4. Tinsagu nu Hana
  5. Pua Ahihi
  6. Furusato
  7. Pua Anela
  8. Kanahele —Interlude—
  9. Tsuki nu Kaisha
  10. Yashi no Mi
  11. Ula No Weo

Official Website (Victor Entertaiment, Inc.)
Official Blog (Futatsu no Rakuen)