Okinawa Omedetai Uta Ketteiban

As already noted in ‘The Power of Okinawa’ and elsewhere, there are a bewilderingly large number of Okinawan music CD compilations to choose from. Well, here’s another to add to the rapidly growing pile. This one is a bit different from some of the hastily put together albums on big labels already available, and so it more than justifies its existence. Okinawa Omedetai Uta Ketteiban, released on the specialist Respect Records label from Tokyo, contains solely songs of celebration from the Ryukyu Islands.

 Some of these songs are familiar Okinawan party fare such as ‘Toshin Doi’ – which is used to get everyone on their feet to dance the katcharsee at the end of a typical island gathering. Among other well-known songs from around the Ryukyus are ‘Togani Ayagu’ and ‘Honen nu Uta’ from the Miyako Islands, ‘Hatoma Bushi’ from the Yaeyama Islands, and Okinawa’s ‘Medetai Bushi’. A version of Tsuneo Fukuhara’s ‘Honen Ondo’ is also included. As well as local traditional songs of the people there are some examples of the more stately classical Ryukyu court songs and the album opens with one of them –  ‘Kagiyadefu’

 All the songs are performed by the Oshiro Shizuko Minyo Group and by members of Yuinukai, a Nomura-ryu classical music group. The album was produced by Respect’s Kenichi Takahashi and was recorded in Koza, Okinawa.

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