Life is Treasure
Sometimes a musician isn't appreciated enough in the here and now. Only in retrospect some 20 years or so later is a body of work seen as being for what it is; seminal, important, paving the way for others. I wonder if Kanako Horiuchi might fit into this category, if for nothing else than for drifting seamlessly between traditional music, club, ska, Thai and African music to name just some of the albums and collaborations she's been involved in. It never feels she is just a guest, or has been shoehorned into a project, but an integral part. Mixing club and Okinawan music is nothing new. But this albums manages to sound just that. Credit must go to DJ Sinkichi and DJ-Nuh-Doh. DJ Sinkichi is no no new kid on the block, having cut his teeth with members of Boredoms going back to the 1990s, and being involved in a multitude of projects from the jam band Dachambo and working with JAKAM and the Counterpoint label. DJ Nu-Doh is another veteran of the club scene in Japan and Okinawa with a host of credits to his name such as working with another of our favourites, Juza aka Moochy and his label Proception. A variety of sounds, moods and styles make this an exceptional album.
1. Hanaumui (Psychedelic Nice Age Mix) 2. Haimuru Bushi 3. Jidai no Nagare (2017 Mix) 4. Kajadeifu Bushi (Robbery Blues Mix) 5. Kashimasa Bushi (Pray Mix) 6. Torisashimai 7. Salt-N-Pa-Pa (Harii Mix) 8. Mo'ashibi
Sanshin Island Cafe
The very talented Kenji Yano (Surf Champlers, Sarabandge) takes eleven popular Okinawan songs from the past and present and turns them into relaxing music for his sanshin island cafe album. He's done similar records before, and whatever he turns his hand to has a touch of class. Acoustic, instrumental, sanshin and Hawaiian sound.
1. Umi no Koe (Masaru Shimabukuro) 2. Nada Sou Sou (Begin) 3. Jukyu no Hana (Trad.) 4. Bashofu (Tsuneo Fukuhara) 5. Haisai Ojisan (Shoukichi Kina) 6. Shima Uta (Kazufumi Miyazawa) 7. Tinsagu nu Hana (Trad.) 8. Asadoya Yunta (Trad.) 9. Chisana Koi no Uta (Mongol 800) 10. Warabi Gami (Kazuya Sahara) 11. Hana (Shokuchi Kina)
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Island Breeze- Okinawa Songs
Corajo is best known for a You Tube hit with Tinsagu nu Hana and for the song Ichiban Sakura on an Orion beer TV commerical. Subtitled trad x innovation, well known and traditional songs are given a modern backing, ranging from rather clever reggae, ambient and jazz to sounding like something out of Juliana's in the 1990s.
1. Tinsagu-nu Hana 2. Jinjin 3. Toshindoi 4. Uruku Tomigoshiku 5. Akata Sundunchi 6. Bebe no Kusa Kaiga 7. Mimichiri Boji 8. Tsuki no Kaisha
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Down Beat Connection - Taiwan - Ryukyu Vol.1
Compiled by Little Masta, brilliant album exploring connections between the close neighboring alternative music scenes in Okinawa and Taiwan, with ska, reggae, dub, cumbia, afrobeat, and other unclassifiable styles. Artists include The Bartox featuring the guitarist from Mongol 800 who record their brand of ska in 1960s vintage style, Tenugui Brothers with Orlando from Ghana and Little Masta, Taipei based Cumbia band La Cumbia del Sol and Otaku3 from Taiwan a collective of musicians living an alternative lifestyle.
1. The Barcox (Okinawa) - Miss Okinawa 2. Gintendan (Okinawa) - CV-6 Ver.1.0 3. Tenugui Brothers (Okinawa)- Mandela 4. Mad Over (Okinawa)- Set if Off (feat. Yoojee & Shin) 5. La Cumbia del Sol (Taiwan) - Revolucion 6. Skaraoke (Taiwan) - Ska Train to Okinawa feat. All Japan Goith (Okinawa) 7. Dubjuana Midnight System (Japan) - Titan 8. Little Masta (Okinawa) - Ass Hole 9. Otaku 3 (Taiwan) - Seven & A Half
Mestizos y Cumbia Musicos de Extremo Oriente (Mestizos and Cumbia Music from the Far East)
Compiled by Little Masta, extraordingary album of Columbian Cumbia inspired music from Japan, Okinawa and Taiwan with dub, reggae, salsa, afrobeat, ska, thrown into the mix.
1. afro BOOGALOO SKA ACADEMY (Tokyo) - Kaze ga Fuku 2. KATUSI from EL SKUNK DI YAWDIE &EXTRAVAGANZA feat. CHAN-MIKA+SHOGO NAGASAKI (Iwate) - Garlic Holic 3. OBRIGARRD(HAZU main pass) (Nagoya) - X-Dance Cumbia 4. La Cumbia Del Sol (Taipei) - La Cumbia Balkanera 5. LITTLE MASTA (Naha/Kawasaki) - Chon Chon Kijimuna 6. iYABASTARDS!(Koza,Okinawa) - Calavera Waltz 7. THE ZOOT16 (Tokyo) - iR 8. Rojo Regalo (Osaka) - Bambi 9. EKD (Tokyo) - Cumbia Sobre El Puerto 10. SKYLARKING (Nagoya) - Movement 11. Min-yo Crusaders (Tokyo) - Kushimoto Bushi 12. DUB BASTARDS (Tokyo) - Center Guy
WATCH ALBUM TRAILER
SHOUKICHI KINA - PASCAL PLANTINGA
Washinnayo (Limited Edition 7 inch Double Single + 3 inch mini CD)
In recent years, Shoukichi Kina has probably been more concerned in becoming a political activist, than writing new songs, eventually becoming elected to the Japanese Diet in 2005. Only a handful of albums have been released these last twenty years or so, sometimes sub-standard covers of his previous hit songs. One thing Kina hasn't lost is his charisma. He's not the best of singers, or musicians, or even songwriters, but on form, on stage, nobody else on the island can surpass him.
It's now taken a Dutch electronic musician to harness that intensity of performance and present Kina in a totally new light. Fortunately Pascal Plantinga doesn't go down the road most trodden global electronic dance route. Instead Kina's passionate, yearning vocals are encased within a dark, cinematographic, often sparse palette of electronic sounds. Only one of the four tracks was written by Kina, Shima Guwa (Okinawan Island Spirit) the first line of which, Washinnayo (Don't Forget) gives rise to the title of this record. Two others are traditional and another written by one of the great figures of the past, Choki Fukuhara.
The release comes in a beautifully packaged gatefold sleeve with two seven inch vinyl singles plus mini-CD. The most intriguing release Shoukichi Kina has been a part of for many a year.
1. Kunjan Sabakui 2. Munushiri Bushi 3. Shirutuyaa Guwa 4. Shima Guwa
DJ SASA AND ORIONBEATS
Okinawa Techno Reggae
Ten well known Okinawan shima uta and traditional tunes played in a reggae and techno style by DJ Sasa and Orionbeats (Tetsushi Hiroyama from Ryukyudisko).
1. Chatanmae 2. Toshin-Dooi 3. Uminu Chimboora 4. Tinsagu nu Hana 5. Chinnuku Juushii 6. Asadoya Yunta 7. Danju Kariyushi 8. Tsuki nu Kaisha 9. Bashofu 10. Akata Sundunchi
Ryukyu Healing Music - Okinawa Ambient
Series of albums of Okinawan ambient music. Field recordings from different Okinawan islands mixed into an electronic ambient soundtrack.
1. Kudaka 2. Saihanoutaki 3. Gangala 4. Senaga 5. Hamahiga 6. Katsurengusuku
Ryukyu Healing Music - Kerama Ambient
1. Aharen 2. Tokahiku 3. Furuzamami 4. Nishi 5. Tonaki 6. Hateno
Ryukyu Healing Music - Miyako Ambient
1.Ishiniwa 2. Ogami 3. Sunayama 4. Irabu 5. Shimoji 6. Ikema
Ryukyu Healing Music - Yaeyama Ambient
1. Kabira 2. Yaeyamayashi 3. Omoto 4. Sukuji 5. Kuroshima 6. Hatoma
Ryukyu Healing Music - Iriomote Ambient
1. Pinaisala 2. Yufu 3. Nakama 4. Funauki 5. Hirugi 6. Mariyudu
Second instalment of producer Makoto Kubota's love with the ancient Kamiuta and Koyo (prayer) songs of Miyako island sung by octogenarians. Various interesting artists from Japan and overseas join the project including from Miyako, Harneys Sarahama, Marino from Black Wax (sax), Daichi Ito (drums), OMFO from Ukraine resident inAmsterdam, and UBK, leader of surf rock band Boom Pam from Israel.
1. Kanashagama 2. Hidawa no Misu (Remix by UBK) 3. Hoiya -Yusuma no Shu 4. Nunu Ushami nu Aagu 5. Shougatsu Aagu Yotsudake 6. Maigumui Mauayaha 7. Namasu no Gu 8. Nishihara no Kuichah 9. Hoiya - Yusuma no Shu (Remix by OMFO) 10. Neema no Shu 11. Hidagawa no Mizu 12. Maigumui Mauyaha (Remix by OMFO) 13. Kannaagi Aagu 14. Hide San no Kuichah
DJ SASA WITH WICKED FRIENDS
DJ Sasa's best of album celebrating 10 years of producing Okinawan music. Includes tracks from popular albums such as the 'Nchu' series, 'Island Souls Reggae' and 'Chura Lovers'. Plus newly recorded cover songs such as Nenes' Ougon no Hana and the local hit Sayonara no Natsu by Kiiyama Shoten.
1. Intro 2. Sayaka Kawamitsu / Sayonara no Natsu 3. Megumi Abiko / Choo Choo Train 4. Masae Nakata / Saboten no Hana 5. Yammy / Tsuyoki Hakanai Monotachi 6. Megumi Abiko / Season In The Sun 7. Cana / Shima Yakaraa 8. Hitoshi / Anmaa 9. Alisa Yamasato / Chon Chon Kijimunaa 10. Yurika Oyama / Tinsagu nu Hana 11. Yurika Oyama / Nagai Aida 12. Masae Nakata / Hana 13. Masae Nakata / Shimauta 14. Hitoshi Terao / Sayonara 15. Chihiro Kamiya / Chiisana Koi no Uta 16. Yammy / Shimanchu nu Takara 17. Karabisa / Mirai e 18. Ran Oshiro / Chinnuku Juushii 19. Oomari / Love Love Love 20. Sayaka Kawamitsu / Ougon no Hana 21. Alisa Yamasato / Asadoya Yunta 22. Outro (track 1- 22 non-stop mix) 23. Sayonara no Natsu (full version) 24. Ougon no Hana (full version)
PASCAL PLANTINGA featuring KEIKO KINA
Bashofu/Yonaguni Shongane (12" Vinyl)
Enchanting electronic folksongs from Okinawa featuring one of the island's most prominent voices.Plantinga's fascination with the rich musical life of the Okinawan islands led to the collaboration with Keiko Kina. As a daughter of Shoei Kina, perhaps the greatest of all Okinawan minyo singers and sanshin players, and sister of Shoukichi Kina, the most famous star to emerge from the Ryukyu Islands, Keiko has a lifelong tradition in indigenous Okinawan music. Here she performs two local classics, embedded in lush electronic arrangements.
Available on limited edition vinyl (250 copies).
Ryukyu Cafe Sound
Cafe Style Okinawan music compilation- laid back, wistful sounds. Mostly compiled from the excellent Takara Records with artists such as Sanshin Cafe Orchestra, Lucy, Moriken, plus DJ Sasa & Yurika Oyama, Kazutoshi Matsuda.
1. Ran Oshiro / Tinsagu nu Hana 2. Lucy / Shimauta 3. Moriken / Nada Sou Sou 4. The Sanshin Cafe Orchestra / Spiritual Recollection 5. DJ Sasa & Yurika Oyama / Okierabu no Komoriuta 6. Sar Hoo Hoo / Juku no Haru 7. The Sanshin Cafe Orchestra / Innocent Smile 8. Moriken / Hiyamikachi Bushi 9. Lucy / Subete no Hito no Kokoro ni Hana o 10. Ran Oshiro / Amazing Grace 11. Lacordo / Tsuki nu Kaisha
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Fourth album and first for three years from the UK/US duo with their brand of Okinawan club music. Familar tunes are given a not so familiar workout, while other original tunes are full of Okinawan sounds. Dub, Afrobeat, Trip Hop, Lounge and more influences are poured into the Okinawan blender, and out comes some of the coolest new Okinawan music of recent years. Collaborators include Mika Uchizato, Toru Yonaha, Ayano Uema and Natsuki Nakamura.
1. Kajimaya 2. Miyarabi Yunta 3. Urizun 4. East Town Dub 5. Ahabushi 6. Umaku Kamade 7. Wattachine 8. Zamami 9. Hanjo Bushi 10. Paikaji
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Ayakaji is female singer Kaori Nakata and Tetsuaki Shimajiri, sound creator and producer. 8 tracks in a kind of new age style including traditional songs, originals and a cover of a Begin tune.
The Ryukyu techno-twins are back with a new CD single of three tracks. Naoto of Orange Range guests. 1. OK Sampler 2. Taiko Rock 3. Sanshin8.
Latest album from the Ryukyu techno twins, now recording for a major record company. Techno and club rhythms combined with Okinawa melodies and sounds. Continue to be firm favourites of the Japanese festival circuit.
Currently one of the most in-demand live acts at Japanese festivals, Ryukyudisko consists of twin brothers Tetsushi Hiroyama (rhythm and sequence) and Yosuke Hiroyama (vocals, mix, effects) or RKD1 and RKD2 respectively. There must be something in the twin's brotherly understanding, as when they get on stage to perform their signature blend of Okinawan traditional music with techno, it seems an entirely natural mixture that even someone who might hate techno can somehow get into. The contrasts in their music can hardly be more different, deeply rooted traditional Okinawan music and machine powered driving rhythms. Female vocalist and sanshin player Natsuki Nakamura adds a further dimension in the roots cause. Peekan is their second full album and mostly consits of full on techno beats with plenty of traditional Okinawan sanshin and rhtyhms. A radical reworking of one of Asia's thriving musical traditions.
Ryukyudisk O Tech
Ryukyudisko are the young Okinawan dj duo of twin brothers Tetshushi (RKD1 rhythm and sequence) and Yosuke Hiroyama (RKD2 vox, mix and efx). On this remarkable debut, they combine their own Okinawan melodies and Okinawan singers and instruments with techno and other dance sounds. Powerful, original club music.
TAKUJI aka GEETEK
Eisa - In Da Club
Eisa is Okinawa's version of the Obon festival, when the souls of the departed are said to return. It's one of the best times to be in Okinawa as Eisa parades and groups take to the streets, banging drums, singing and chanting. On this album some of the most popular Eisa tunes are given radical new mixes by Geetek with dub, hip-hop, house, reggae and ambient mixes. 7 tracks, one for the dance floor.
TAKUJI a.k.a. GEETEK
DJ, producer, remixer from Okinawa, Takuji aka Geetek gets his hands on Okinawan kacharsee dance classics performed by some of the island's top musicians including Rinken Band and Nenes for some studio remix fun. Probably Takuji's best work so far, as the mixes seem less formulaic, and instead are stamped with his own sound. Not so much for the club floor, but more like experimental electronica that makes this a rewarding listen.
Spirit of Healing - Okinawa
Words such as 'Spirit' and 'Healing' normally set off alarm bells here, as an excuse to add a few nature sounds or slushy keyboards over some decorative ethnic sounds to appeal to a new age market. Which makes this album's delights all the more welcome. While there are the expected ocean and forest sounds and the occasional lush keyboards, this is a beautifully crafted CD that showcases some of Okinawa's most well known traditions, instruments and songs, (mo-ashibi, sanshin, Tsuki nu Kaisha) as well as some lesser known traditions (prayers) instruments such as Ryukyu kokkyu (erhu), ryukin (zither) and some superb vocal performances from Sachiko Shima, Coi-na and Team Kukuru, with music played by Toru Yonaha and others.
Shimadelica is the long awaited third album, the first in three years, from the US/UK duo, Ryukyu Underground. 'Shimadelica' sees the guys back in the studio, recording with live musicians and adding beats, rhythms, and some surprises too to create the trademark, unique sound that is Ryukyu Underground.Jon Taylor and Keith Gordon bring some new ingredients to the RU blender this time. 60s and 70s psychedelic music are mixed with the local sounds of Okinawa. Those local ingredients are still at the root of their music. Funky rhythms, progressive house, 90s Brit rock, dub, trip hop, Brazilian, Arabic, Indian plus other world and club influences all help to take the listener on a global trip that begins and ends in Okinawa. Ryukyu Underground have employed the talents of some of the brightest young names from roots side of the Okinawan music scene. Toru Yonaha is much demand as a session musician and a fine sanshin player and singer in his own right. Long time female collaborator and singer Mika Uchizato is featured once again as are other young female vocalists Natsuki Nakamura and Ayano Uema. Another significant step forward, Shimadelica takes the rich sounds of Okinawa into previously uncharted territory.
Ryukyu Mabuya Sounds - Shimauta Pops in 60's-70's Cover & Remix
One of our favourite Okinawan compilations of the many has been the Ryukyu Rare Groove CD of 60s and 70s Okinawan pop tunes (FSD2283). Songs from this album are now given remixes or covered by contemporary Japanese and Okinawan artists including Yasuhiro Konishi (Pizzicato Five), Hakase-Sun (Little Tempo), Takuji Aoyanagi (Little Creatures, Double Famous) and Orange Pekoe. Great variety of sounds, from Brazilian to Hawaiian, reggae, jazzy sounds and electronic beats. Recommended.
Okinawan Trance Music; the new project by the innovative Kenji Yano(Surf Champlers). Okinawan music for the new century.
THE SANSHIN CAFE ORCHESTRA
Okinawan Cafe Music - Old Okinawan Traditional Songs
Instrumental versions of Okinawan songs, played on sanshin and guitar with percussion, keyboards electronic sound effects and mouth organ, resulting in the first ever Okinawan meets country music on the song "Wild East".
On RU's stunning thrird album, tunes from the first two CDs are given new mixes by a dazzling array of like-minded DJs, musicians, producers, remixers, other creative artists and Ryukyu Underground themselves. All collaborators on this project were chosen by Jon and Keith. Some they have previously worked with, while others they have long admired. They include some of the top names in the world dance music scene, alongside equally talented up and coming artists. The breathtakingly diverse range of styles includes ethnic lounge, ambient, techno, dub, and ethnic drum and bass over 2 CDs and 126 minutes of pulsating music. Remixers featured are Kid Loco, Saru, Da Lata Jason Bentley, Junkie XL, Lelonek, Chaos Luda, Bill Laswell, Rohan, Brown Sounds, Richard Kirk, Sharaab, Karsh Kale, Depth Charge and Dub Farm.
Following the success of their first album, Ryukyu Underground release their much anticipated follow up. In contrast to their first album, which sampled many traditional recordings on local labels, this time around Jon and Keith were keen to cooperate and interact with Okinawan musicians in laying down the basic tracks. Despite his young age, Toru Yoneha is one of Okinawa's top players, much in demand as a session musician of the sanshin, the three stringed snake skinned banjo at the heart of Okinawan traditional music. In female singer Mika Uchizato, they have unearthed a real new talent. It's Mika's beautiful voice that is heard on the opening track 'Hana' originally recorded by legend Shokichi Kina, and one of Okinawa's best known songs around the world. 'Koi no Michi Kusa', features Mika over a heavy dub backing, a sound that has become one of the trademarks of Ryukyu Underground. Elsewhere Kuiji nu Hana is set to an infectious bossa nova/samba rhythm, Sefa Utaki has a laid back ambient drum 'n' bass feel, while Kanasando is in a downtempo lounge style.
Ryukyu Underground's first album. ' Electro dub adventuring from Japan's Okinawan archipelago. Gordon & Taylor keep the mystery while adding their own voice to the music, blending traditional children's songs with dub reggae on 'Tinsagu Nu Hang' or mixing the punchy sound of the sanshin banjo with nifty drum programming. A triumph.' - Muzik
Rinken Band Eisa Remix
Rinken Band's excellent Eisa, (festival) material is given the remix treatment by Okinawan djs, including dj olive who has worked in New York. Good at what it is, with added new field recordings.
Club music with strong Okinawan flavours has been popularized by Ryukyu Underground and more recently Ryukyudisko. Female singer Natsuki Nakamura has associations with both, as the featured singer on Ryukyudisko's album and as part of Chaos Luda, one of the remixers on RU's Ryukyu Remixed. Uru too have joined that scene mixing Okinawan minyo with club music, featuring Natsuki and two other artists.
TAKUJI a.k.a. GEETEK
Kacharsee In Da Club
Remixes by Takuji of tracks by Toru Yonaha. The track titles and subtitles give you a good idea on what the music is like. Honen Ondo (drum 'n' bass) Umi no Chimbora (raga house) Tako Yama (Okinawan dub) Nanyogaeri (hip-hop) Toshin-doi (jungle) Honen Ondo (ohayashi drum 'n' bass). Sounds formulaic and made to order rather than a creative work, but is pretty good for the dancefloor.
TAKUJI a.k.a. GEETEK
Uto Ashibi - Okinawa Minyo Best Acoustic Remix Selection
Takashi Hirayasu and Chuei Yoshikawa's acoustic album of Okinawa's greatest tunes is given a laid back remix treatment. Not for the dance floor, more for chill out. The originals have extra beats, echoes and effects added to them in varying degrees.