Minami Kizuki’s amazing debut single “Aitsumugi”

We’re always on the lookout for new artists to listen to and we’re happy to announce the debut of 19 year-old Minami Kizuki (城南海—interesting how it’s read, no?) who released her first single, “Aitsumugi,” on January 7, 2009. Upon listening to the single, one will definitely think of Chitose Hajime (oh, forgot to mention that she, like Chitose, is from Amami-Oshima)—who we are big fans of—and it’s no wonder because they were both trained as utasha and they’re, like, female too. One may also be reminded of Rikki Nakano (oh where art thou?) and even Kousuke Atari. One thing is for certain, with her beauty and awesome voice, she definitely has what it takes to become as popular as her sempai and of course, karakui.com will be rooting for her too. 🙂

Be sure to check out the PV of “Aitsumugi” above and click on it to see the video in HQ glory at YouTube.com. Although it’s in Japanese, there’s also a clip on YouTube that profiles the singer.

If the single interests you, please consider purchasing it via this cdjapan.co.jp affiliate link as it’ll help us out—just a little. 😉

Official Website (Pony Canyon)
Official Blog (Oricon)

Ayano Uema’s recording of her 2nd album

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While I couldn’t find a release date for utasaa Ayano Uema’s forthcoming (and untitled) sophomore album, we can rest assured that she’s busy recording for it and is posting her progress of it on her blog here, here, and here. If you haven’t already purchased it, Ayano’s (and two other awesome female utasaa, Mika Uchizato and Natsuki Nakamura) “Yonaha Toru Presents: Uchina Warabeuta” is available on iTunes (link opens iTunes Store). It’s an album that I highly recommended giving a listen to. Also worth checking out the trio on two additional songs, “Hanjou Bushi” and “Miyarabi Yunta,” which are on the various artists album “Respect Record Presents Okinawa Best Song Collection” (link opens iTunes Store).

Matsuda Kazutoshi no Teegee Rajio

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Utasaa Kazutoshi “Kaazuu” Matsuda launched his own internet radio show, Matsuda Kazutoshi no Teegee Rajio, at the beginning of the month and now he’s added a much welcome m3u version (it launched with Real Player) for the last two shows (#3 and #4).

Although it’s all in Japanese, it’s worth listening to as he introduces new albums and performs live on the show too. (Previous shows can be found here. He also has links to the artists and albums mentioned on the shows on that page.)

(Via Three Strings.)

Ayano Uema’s official website is up!

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She announced it today on her blog and here it is: uemaayano.com! Filled with a lot of Ayano pics (some of them quite huge but it’s not like we’re complaining), her official website contains information on her schedule, profile, and links to her blog and original goods too. Once again, we see a reference to “Majun Record” and lo and behold, in Ayano’s profile page in plain Japanese is the sentence: second album planned for a 2008 release! Yay! We’ll be following her blog, this new website and our favorite Okinawan music blog in anticipation of finding out more about Ayano’s upcoming second album.

Introducing Three Strings: Everything Sanshin

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Today we’re announcing a new website called Three Strings: Everything Sanshin. We’re hoping it’ll do for sanshin, what Karakui.com has done for Okinawan pop culture: make information for that subject available to a larger audience. Please kindly add the website to your browser’s bookmarks or even better, add it to your newsreader. Nifee deebitan! Richie, Karakui.com.

Off the Wall to feature live Okinawan music!!!


Off the Wall
Originally uploaded by Champuru

Watch, enjoy and listen to live Okinawan music every 1st and 3rd Wednesday night of the month at Off the Wall (Aiea, Hawaii).

(From their email newsletter—nifee deebitan to Sandaa-sensei for the tip!):

Join us this coming Wednesday, September 17, at OFF THE WALL BAR for LIVE OKINAWAN MUSIC by Afuso-Ryu Gensei Kai Hawaii (featuring Grant “Sandaa” Murata-sensei, Kenton Odo-sensei & members of the club).

Music starts at 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

For this special event we have drink specials of $7 – Orion Okinawan Beer (21 oz); purchase a bottle of Awamori and we will hold it for you—featuring Shimauta Awamori or Iichiko Kurobin Shochu Bottles for only $40.00 (at a special price only for this day).

Enjoy Okinawan food dishes such as Rafute, Goya (bittermelon) Champuru, Tofu Champuru, Eggplant Pork Miso Champuru and more!

Seating is limited!!!

For More Information conctact us @ Ph: 808.486.WALL (808.486.9255).
Located @ the Pearl Kai Shopping Center, across from Pearlridge Sears
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy, B-10
Aiea, Hawaii 96701

The food and atmosphere there is excellent (okay, to be fair, I’ve only been there once—check out Donna’s pics of their delicious food—but more reason to go back, yeah?). I’m so there! Tobiiri anyone? (And Sandaa-sensei, I’m coming for one of those bottles of Shimauta Awamori. 😉 )

Akane Murayoshi releases debut album!

A song that I completely fell in love with in 2006 also happened to be the Miuta Taishou Grand Prix winner of that same year: “Miyarabi nu Hana.” The song—sung by upcoming utasaa Akane Murayoshi of Kumejima Town—also performed at the Okinawan Festival in Hawaii in 2006. The album, unsurprisingly titled “Miyarabi nu Hana,” was released yesterday (9/13) and contains a total of 14 tracks and will retail for ¥2,100. The CD is produced by Yoshimi Aragaki who also penned the title track and the album comes with two versions of the song: an album version and a sanshin version.

(Via Okinawan Music Net.)

And the awesome new releases for 2008 keep coming!

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Geez, I’m really going to go broke this year what with all these great CD releases in the 2nd half of 2008 and with my mom’s and big bro’s birthdays this month, Xmas and that shiny new iPod nano. But I digress.

Coming on 10/10/08, an artist whom I really, really admire, Suekichi Matsuda, will be releasing his first (!) album titled “Uta Unji.” This is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met (and pretty much every utasaa you’ll meet is nice) and he’s a veteran of the Okinawan minyou scene having played with Sadao China, Nenes, The Fere and Misako Oshiro. “Uta Unji” will have a total of 13 tracks and is priced at ¥3,000.

(Via Campus Record Staff Blog.)

New Kazumi Tamaki CD to be released on 9/25/08!

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Have you heard of the Okinawan word churakaagii? Well, the very handy Okinawan-English Wordbook (Amazon.com link) defines the word as “a beauty; a belle; a pretty girl; a good-looking woman.” All of these describe utasaa Kazumi Tamaki and to top it off, she’s super nice in person too.

Anyway, before I go on about Kazumi, she has a new album out this month (9/25/08) called “Haru ya Kariyushi” on BCY Nnarufon. The 15-track album features her singing partner, utasaa great Koichi Kamiya, and was also produced by the pair.

Kazumi’s last (and I think only) solo album, “Tin’in,” was released 11 years ago in 1997 so to say that “Haru ya Kariyushi” was a long time in the making is an understatement. The album includes a couple of her previous hit songs (“Haru ya Haru” and “Heiwa no Negai”) and is priced at ¥2,800.

(Via Campus Record Staff blog.)

Toru Yonaha getting back to his Roots

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This upcoming release from Toru Yonaha is the perfect companion to his 2007 album “Utage ~party~” which was heavily influenced by J-pop. The 11 track album titled “Roots ~Ryukyu Iwaiuta~ (Best of Okinawan Traditional Songs)” will be released on 9/24/08 in Okinawa. Dude, I am so buying this. (Via 沖縄三線日和.)