We often focus on the new singers from Amami-Oshima like Rikki Nakano, Chitose Hajime, Kosuke Atari, and Minami Kizuki, leaving out the traditional singers. So, better late than never, no? Ikue Asazaki is a veteran utasha (now in her 70s) who has been singing Amami shimauta since picking it up from her father and regarded as a genius of the music. While Ikue has had indie record releases since 1997, it wasn’t until 2002 that she had her first major label release with the album “Utaba Utayun” on Universal Music. According to her Wikipedia page, “Utaba Utayun” is one of her most famous, notably for the song “Obokuri Eeumi,” which was featured in the anime “Samurai Champloo” (see below video).
With 2005’s “Obokuri” (Toshiba EMI) being her last major label release, Ikue has since returned as an indies musician with her most recent album released on 2007 titled “Hamasaki” from the HIGH CONTRAST RECORDINGS label. Ikue’s official website can be found here.
(Nifee deebitan to Shari Tamashiro for bringing the singer to my attention.)