Ska Lovers: Lovers Ska ~ Sing With You ~

This album by Ska Lovers is the joint project of producer, programmer and keyboard player DJ Sasa and Hokkaido-born Okinawa-based singer and sanshin player Kanako Horiuchi who is also an accomplished performer of Okinawan minyo. Their idea is to play well-known J-pop songs in ska and rocksteady versions together with a large helping of Okinawan musical style. On this album the ten songs include ‘Summer Nude’ (Magokoro Brothers), ‘Butterfly’ (Kaela Kimura), ‘Nagisa ni Matsuwaru Etosetora’ (Puffy), and ‘Shangri-La’ (Denki Groove). A vibrant brass section is added to the guitar, bass, keyboards and drums and on top of this floats Horiuchi’s voice and sanshin.

The album works very well as it seems unforced and is simply a lot of fun. The production is extremely clear with Kanako Horiuchi’s vocals very much upfront. If anything, it might have been even better if some of the roughness of the band’s live performances had been captured (see previous post ‘Ska Lovers in Naha’) but this is a very minor quibble as the album as a whole is so enjoyable. It would be good if their next album does the same thing with Okinawan songs that this one does so successfully with Japanese pop.

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