Amami Shimauta no Genten / Otojo Nakayama, Maboroshi no Meban Fukkoku (The Origins of Amami Shimauta / Otojo Nakayama's Rare Collection ) (2 CDs)
Fourteen old, rare 78 records by female singer Otojo Nakayama (1891-1970) from Amami. She was 'discovered' by Shomu Nobori, a scholar of Russian literature from Amami who loved the island of Amami, and made an effort to get the island back from the USA. The fourteen 78 records came from Nobori's private collection, are rare recordings, especially Otojo Nakayama's young beautiful voice from the early Showa period of the 1920s-1930s. 2 CDs 28 tracks.
Female singer from Amami Oshima, who owns a restaurant on the island as well, where young singers such as Rikki and Kousuke Atari used to perform. Nishi has a deep voice, and on this CD performs with young male singer Shingo Maeyama who plays sanshin and sings hayashi, and Shunzo Tsukiji, a veteran male singer and Chie Mori, a 90 year old female singer. Superb release from the ever excellent Jabara records.
1. Asabana Bushi 2. Kurudando Bushi 3. Yonkana Bushi 4. Nagakumo Bushi 5. Anchan na Bushi 6. Yoisura Bushi 7. Yachabo Bushi 8. Mankoi Bushi 9. Kantsume Bushi 10. Sobayado 11. Shiro Nagare 12. Iye Tu 13. Watasha 14. Wakare Asabana (Agari Bushi) 15. Asabana Bushi 16. Itokuri 17. Ikyun-nya Kana
KAZUHIRA TAKESHITA, KAORI TAKESHITA
Amami Shimauta no Shinzui Takeshita Kazuhira Higya Bushi no Kokoro (2 CDs)
Veteran singer sings various Higya Bushi from Southern Amami Island. 2 CDs, recorded at the Tokyo Summer Music Festival 2006. Comes with a booklet detailing the history of Amami shimauta and the difference between Okinawan and Amami shimauta.
CD 1 ; 1. Asabana Bushi 2. Shun-ryoshu Bushi 3. Kurudando Bushi 4. Yachabou Bushi 5. Nagakumno Bushi 6. Mankoi Bushi 7. Naga-asabana Bushi 8. Ashikebu Ichiban Bushi 9. Shumichi Nagahama Bushi 10. Hanazumu Bushi 11. Imanu Kajakumo Bushi 12. Honen Bushi 13. Shudon Nagahama Bushi 14. Itou
CD2 ; 1. Hokorasha Bushi 2. Yoisura Bushi 3. Shunkanei Bushi 4. Muchakana Bushi 5. Kadoku Nabuikana Bushi 6. Torasan Naganei Bushi 7. Asawakare Bushi 8. SUbayado Bushi 9. Nagamu Kiryagari Bushi 10. Tokunoshima Bushi [Intabu Bushi] 11. Kantimui Bushi 12. Agare Tachigumo Bushi 13. Chukkyari Asabana Bushi 14. Rokucho
TOKUROU KATSUSHIMA & ITSUKO KATSUSHIMA
Shima Gatare (2 CDs)
Live 2 CD set by father and daughter duo from Amami island. CD1 was recorded in 1981 in Amami and CD2 in Amagasaki, Hyogo, in 1987. Great performances brimming with atmosphere. CD 1- 15 tracks CD 2 - 12 tracks.
Ayamaru no Uta
Re-release of 2002 album, featuring traditional singer from northern Amami performing her local kasari bushi. 14 tracks.
Shoki no Yamato Tokuhara Amami Shimauta
Latest of the young musicans to come out of Amami island, Tokuhara was born in 1988, learnt traditional tunes from a tender age, and won several traditional music prizes. He performed with Ikue Asazaki, one of the island's most respected elder musicians, and for the last few years has lived in Tokyo. Falsetto vocals accompanied by shamisen on a traditional sounding mini-album.
1. Nagakumo 2. Yama to Yorojima 3. Ikyun-nya Kana 4. Shodon Nagahama 5. Muchakana
Born in 1983, Saori Kawabata began singing her local Amami island folk songs from the age of nine. She soon entered competitions, as seems to be the usual progression for anyone who's any good, won a few and came third in the national minyo championships. This is her first album, of pure Amami shima uta. Vocals and sanshin.
Down in Amami, every singer seems to have started from about the age of four. Here's someone to refreshingly buck the trend. Now 73, Tetsuya Fukuyama only started to sing properly in his 50s. From Kakeroma island, one of the smallest of the Amami islands, known for its beautiful beaches, Fukuyama lived in Tokyo for a few years before deciding city life was not for him and he returned to Kakeroma. He took up singing and sanshin playing more seriously, entered a few competitions and started winning them. This is his first album.
Nowhere in Japan is traditional music as alive as on the small island of Amami. From Tokunoshima, Aika Sawa is still only 16 years old, yet shows an unbelievable maturity on this, her debut album. Originally studying traditional dance, she started learning to sing and play sanshin from the age of seven. While still in junior high school she won the National Minyo Championship. 14 tracks of standard Amami tunes featuring just vocals and sanshin. 1. Kyunuhokorasha 2. Asabana 3. Kurudando 4. Rankanbashi 5. Nagakumo-Bushi 6. Kurudando 7. Amagurumi 8. Shumichi Nagahama 9. Yoisura-Bushi 10. Ikyunnya Kana 11. Ikyunnya Kana 12. Hounen-Bushi 13. Inisuri-Bushi 14. Itwo
ITSUKO KATSUSHIMA & HIDEKI WAKASUGI
Itsuko Katsushima is the daughter of a legendary Amami island musicain, who has passed down many traditional songs to his daughter and other musicians. She started singing from the age of six and is herself highly regarded for her variety of singing techniques and styles. On this album, her second, she is joined on sanshin and vocals by male singer and sanshin player Hideki Wakasugi. Aside to standard songs are some fairly unknown Amami traditional tunes. Most songs are male / female duets from these two outstanding musicians. 1. Naga Asabana-Bushi 2. Shunjoshu-Bushi 3. Kurudando 4. Magaryo Takatyji 5. Nagakumo-Bushi 6. Chigyoihamadake 7.Tokunoshima Chukkyari-Bushi 8. Mankoi-Bushi 9. Yoisura-Bushi 9. Amagurumi 10. Subayado-Bushi 11.Shodon Nagahama-Bushi 12. Kikyaya Wandomari- Itou
ITSUKO KATSUSHIMA & HIDEKI WAKASUGI
First album from Itsuko Katsushima who has lived in the Kansai area around Osaka, since she was 12. She is joined by young sanshin player and singer Hideki Wakasugi. Strictly traditional workouts of 15 songs mostly in male / female duet. 1. Asabana-bushi 2. Kubanufa-bushi 3. Shougatsu gin 4. Shunkane-bushi 5. Amagure 6. Isokana-bushi 7. Tydanu utymagure 8.Kantsume-bushi 9.Choukikujo-bushi 10.Yachabou-bushi 11. Shumichi nagahama-bushi 12. Kadoku Nabekana-bushi 13. Hounen-bushi 14. Kikyaya wandomari 15. Itwo santoyorojima
Aya Maru no Uta
At 29, Mieko Matsuyama was a late starter as a Amami island vocalist. However she won an Amami island minyo competition and these days sings at her own bar on the island. On this album she is joined by two elderly gentlemen who play sanshin and share vocal duties too. 12 tracks of traditional material. 1. Asabana Bushi 2. Yohkana Bushi 3. Shanjoshu Bushi 4. Ukekuma Manjo Bushi 5. Kadoku Nabekana Bushi 6. Uratomi (Hachigatsuodori Uta) 7. Uratomi 8. Yohkanakuzushi 9. Yoisura Bushi 10. Dennago Bushi 11. Gishinao Bushi 12. Nagakumo Bushi.
Hoshi Furu Shima no Uta
Born in 1983, Amami based Shingo Maeyama was a relative latecomer to Amami traditional music, not getting started until he was 19 years old. Progression however was rapid, perhaps as he played guitar, and he won the Best Newcomer Award at the Amami Minyo Competition in 2005. This is his first album, although he was featured on the various artists album Majimun in 2006. 15 tracks all traditional, with Shingo on sanshin and vocals with additional vocals from female singer Aiko Yoneda. 1. Asabana Bushi 2. Shunjoshu Bushi 3. Kurudando 4. Rankanbashi 5. Yoisura Bushi 6. Subayado Bushi 7. Kunnyori Yoneago 8. Shonkane Bushi 9. Anchanna Bushi 10. Asawakare Bushi 11. Kantsume Bushi 12. Tokunoshima Bushi 13. Muchakana 14. Kinkabu Bushi 15. Itwo
Takemaru Yamada is one of Amami island's most loved singers. This album was released in 2004 when he was 88 years old, but most of it was recorded in 1982. He is joined by his son on sanshin and backing vocals. It's not great quality but a great performance and a precious document of a traditional music at a particular time that has been sung for hundreds of years. A couple of the songs were recorded in 1999 and Yamada was still in great form, while others don't feature sanshin but drumming and singing mo-ashibi party style. Fantastic stuff. 1. Asabana Bushi - Naga Asabana Bushi 2. Shunkane Bushi 3. Shodon Nagahama Bushi 4. Shunoshu Bushi 5. Kurudando Bushi 6. Kantsume Bushi 7. Agareyunu Harukana 8. Yachabo Bushi 9. Yoisura Bushi 10. Kadoku Nabekana 11. Yuriuta 12. Hachigatsu Odori (Imano Odori) 13. Rokucho 14. Amakusa.
Excellent set by teenage female singer from Amami island, traditional, falsetto vocals.
Uta No Kajitsu
Superb second album from young Amami island female singer. Vocals, sanshin, with ukulele and guitar on mainly traditional sounding album.
19 year old male singer, sanshin player. Rhythmical sanshin, Amami falsetto vocals, in style a mix of Japan and Okinawa.
Second album from Amami island musician. Traditional album, rhythmical sanshin playing and falsetto type vocal.
Reissue of one of Rikki's first albums, this one a fine traditional minyo (folk) album. Her voice is in good form if less developed than now.
Traditional shima uta, wonderful female vocals in distinctive style of singing.
Shunzo Tsukiji is a legend of Amami island traditional music. Long time collaborator of Rikki, this is his first full studio album of Amami traditional shima uta. Fantastic performances of the greatest tunes.
Amami no Nakiuta
Kunitaka Sato was a unique musician on Amami island; a street singer, playing sanshin and the san shaku goto (koto). Born in 1918 he died in 1985, and it wasn't until the release of his recording, A Street Singer from Amami in the mid 1990s that much interest developed in him outside of his native Amami island. Back in 1975 he released an LP that has long been deleted, but is now re-relased onto CD with additional unreleased tracks. Like a preserved time piece, listen to a superb musician performing an unusual folk style with his distinctive falsetto voice, from 30 years ago. 11 tracks including Amami traditional standards such as Kurudando and Rokucho.
A Street Singer From Amami
A harp like instrument the san shaku goto plus vocals and sanshin played by blind musician. Pretty wild, and at times sounds almost African.
Robou No Gei
From Amami island, blind koto (harp) player and vocalist. Recordings from 20 years ago and before.
Comes with book sized liner notes and CD Rom featuring scenes and video of this fascinating artist. Old songs from Amami island performed not only on sanshin, but also koto (harp-like instrument). Beautiful packaging, lovingly put together.
Folk Songs of Amami
Amami master player, with the distinctive Amami island vocal style. Extensive liner notes in English give excellent overview of Amami music.
Another traditional album, with a style somewhere between Japan and Okinawa.Kaizuhira Takeshita is probably Amami's greatest traditional musician. He was born in 1933 into a musical family and has been playing publicly since 1959. On this CD he is joined by Nobuko Hayata on hayashi backing vocals. CD comes with excellent English liner notes. Click here to email for availability
Kuroshio No Uta
Amami island shima uta, quite different to Okinawa, and where the term iself was originally used. Seisho is a kind of modern day Kunitaka Sato, the so-called street singer of Amami. Falsetto vocals, sanshin and a recording of old tradition not preserved but passed down through generations and still healthy if judged by this album.
NOBUHIRO MORIZAWA, SHIGENORI TOMARI, MIEKO MATSUYAMA & TAKEKAZU YAMADA
Kasan Uta Asubi
Amami island music is the current roots music hit in Japan. Here three male and one female singer give their renditions of some the island's best known traditional tunes.From the label that has been championing the music for years, before it became a fad.
Compilation album of mainly the younger generation of Amami island musicians such Mizuki Nakamura, Kousuke Atari, Maricamizki, Nami Makioka, and some elder veterans such as Yoshikazu Seisho and Ikue Asazaki. Mostly traditional music, featuring the slapping style of sanshin playing, and the high falsetto vocals. A very good introduction to the island in Japan where traditional music is most revered and practiced by the young generation.
Music of Amami
Beautiful melodies are played rhythmically on the sanshin and sung in falsetto in high vocal range. Artists include Shunzo Tsukiji, Kazumi Nishi and Yoshinari Ikeda. Click here to email for availability