No One's Land

No One's Land

Product Description

If it wasn't for Oki, Ainu (or native Japanese) music, might be all but forgotten. Until recently the Japanese government had a policy of systematically trying to suppress the Ainu culture. Instead, this album marks a high point in the rejuvenation of Ainu music, making it relevant for the young Ainu, just as Oki set out to do about seven years ago. The roots of the Ainu can be traced to Siberia and Mongolia, and musically they share much common ground too, immediately blowing apart any preconceptions about what Japanese roots music might sound like. No One's Land, is Oki's third album, and by far his most experimental and contemporary. His band, now called the Far East Band, has expanded to accompany Oki's tonkori (long skinny lute) on a variety of instruments, together with a female chorus group. Female singer Rekpo takes centre stage on some of the albums best songs, such as the hypnotic opening Kane Ren Ren, featuring percussion, bass, guitar, and tribal sounding programmed drums. Other influences range from reggae to hints of Spanish and African guitar, all set to chanted vocals clearly from another world. Several songs feature Olga Letykai Csonka, a Chukchi, (an indigenous Siberian people) throat singer, the two meeting at a United Nations conference on Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, and recording while they were there. Interspersed between are a few simple, equally mesmerizing tunes of tonkori and Ainu singing, and some solo experimental pieces of tonkori set to more programmed rhythms and effects. A major step forward for the Japanese music with the most ancient roots of all. (From fRoots magazine)