Brandon Ufugusuku Ing has a new song out “Hamachiduri”! The song, an arrangement of the traditional Okinawan song, features the talented Derek Fujio and Jesse Shiroma. After hearing this song a few months ago, we were wondering when Brandon would release it and it’s finally here! Be sure to pick this one up as well as his other songs.
Irei Shunichi’s first album in TEN years is out! It’s called “Nangoku Beat” (tropical beat) and the emphasis is on the beat as the songs on the album have a nice groove to them. “Nangoku Beat” has a total of 8 tracks and is currently available on Apple Music. We’re totally grooving to the title track “Nangoku Beat” and the beautiful “Precious Days”. John Potter at Power of Okinawa has an amazing review of the album as well as an artist profile that’s a must-read.
In the “We can’t believe this is available” department comes a strangely named website called “Okinawa Live Show” from the Okinawa Prefectural Government. Don’t let the name fool you as this is an amazing resource of English-subtitled videos (also available on their YouTube channel) of Luchuan traditional performing arts like Okinawa Shibai, Kumiudui, Ryukyu Buyou, Okinawa Minyou, and Eisaa. There’s a lot of content available so if we can make a suggestion, start with the kumiudui “Shushin Kaneiri” which is one of our favorites!
(h/t @JTBUSA_Honolulu on Twitter)
Singer-songwriter Oshiro Takafumi (of the disbanded vocal group Sky’s The Limit) released his first best of album “Rissyunnotoki” this year through his crowdfunding project. The double CD has a total of 23 tracks and is available on digital streaming services too. Of particular interest to us is his antiwar song “1972” which was composed by sanshin artist Maeda Hideyuki also of Sky’s The Limit.
Oshiro Takafumi’s “1972”
Singer MATSURI has been slowly rolling out new songs and she finally released her new mini album “Harenohi” (not to be confused with the single of the same name) in April. “Harenohi” features a total of 7 tracks and includes previously released singles “Kingyo Sukui” (her debut song), “Hotaru” and “Harenohi”. MATSURI also announced the upcoming 6/24 release of her 5th single “52Hz no Kujira”.
We had this one on our YouTube saved folder and are finally circling back to give it another listen (or several listens 😂). The song is “HiBiKi” by a singer from Ginowan named Higa Yuta. In a tweet announcing the song, he mentions that the song represents him moving forward after making his debut at 22 with a lot of ambition only to find himself facing many unexpected struggles along the way. He chooses to keep singing while raising a child. The song itself is amazing and features the one and only Yonaha Toru on sanshin and vocals.
For the first time, a World Sanshin Festival will be held in the fall to coincide with the 7th Worldwide Uchinānchu Festival (10/30 to 11/3). Looks like they’ll do a “tour festival” in an effort to reduce crowds due to the ongoing pandemic and the World Sanshin Festival will be held every five years after the 2025 WUF. If you’re interested in learning more about the different genres of our music and looking to buy a sanshin (it sounds like sanshin makers/stores will be participating in the festival), this is the event to go to.
I think the channel/series started due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since become a cultural phenomenon (almost every video has a million views!). For this video, both Kinjo Sukai and Yonashiro Sho from JO1 are featured as they do a beautiful The First Take version of their group’s song “Bokura no Kisetsu”. They’re so cool 🥺.
Sukai and Sho as JO1 join other shimanchu miwa, HY, and Rude-α to be featured on The First Take.
Singer-songwriter Anly who happens to be sponsored by both Fender and Yamaha, has been on a streak with new single releases. Her next single is called “Alive” and has a tie-up with Okinawa Cellular’s 5G service. Anly tweeted that the sanshin that can be heard on the song is performed by none other than Nakasone Hajime who has been performing as R∞2 (Roots). We’ll share more on the song as soon as it’s released.
By the way, the actress starring in the CM is Matsuda Ruka from Okinawa.
I hope everyone enjoyed the first week of “Chimudondon” as much as we have. While we wait for new episodes, we can now listen to the theme song in repeat as Miura Daichi’s “Sansan” has finally been released! The song is amazing and matches the show perfectly. An MV hasn’t been released for it yet but prior to the single’s release Daichi did a YouTube short of the song in a cappella. So good.
Here’s the drama opening with “Sansan” on NHK’s YouTube channel.