The tiny island of Amami lies almost exactly mid point between the mainland of Japan and the subtropical islands of Okinawa, and musically stands at about the half way point too. It's shima uta (island songs) are a little less frenetic than on Okinawa, the local lute, the sanshin looks like the Okinawan one, but is played and tuned like the Japanese shamisen, while it's sung in a highly decorative falsetto style. Although still in her twenties, Rikki has been championed as the savior and future of Amami island music for years, ever since she started winning various Japanese folk competitions from the age of six. Her recorded output however has been patchy. She's always had a stunning voice, pure, expressive, that weaves it's way around a melody. It took working with Japanese maestro producer Makoto Kubota to bring out the best in her on Rikki's self titled third album, before the beautiful simplicity of just her voice, sanshin and guitar on 'Miss You Amami'. Trouble is along the way she's been signed by various majors and given a producer with an apparent blueprint to turn her into a pop star, even providing the voice for the Final Fantasy computer games. This album is the most successful to date in marrying Rikki's strengths with a big yet sympathetic accompaniment and production, courtesy of Hiroaki Sugawara. Rikki's distinctive vocals hover over a relaxed, mostly electronic backing augmented by acoustic guitar and the Brazilian percussion of Marcos Suzano. These mostly traditional tunes however, never lose the essence of their Amami island roots, taking them into unexplored territory. The occasional over long doodling on electric guitar, repetitive programmed rhythms, and a cheesy synth sound or two are rescued just in time by the factor that in the end holds the entire album together. The voice of a world class singer.