Yasukatsu Oshima concert in Naha

Every six months or so the Yaeyama Islands singer and sanshin player Yasukatsu Oshima returns to Okinawa from his base in mainland Japan to give a concert. He is back here again next week for a performance in Naha which is entitled ‘Oshima Yasukatsu Utakai 2011’. The last time he was in Okinawa, in December last year, he was on the island to collect the prestigious Tokubetsu Sho (Special Award) at the 8th Annual Choho Miyara Award ceremony. The event was reported in an earlier post on this blog. At that time he also gave a concert in Naha in which he was joined on stage by various members of his extended musical family. This time he will be on his own in a solo show. As one of the great artists of Okinawan traditional song – as well as an accomplished writer of original songs – attendance at the concert is highly recommended for anyone who is able to get there.

Yasukatsu Oshima

Chapter 3 of The Power of Okinawa book contains several pages outlining Yasukatsu Oshima’s story and it includes my interviews with him and some song translations. There is also an English biography on his official website. A short video put together by his record company, Victor Entertainment, has recently been added to Oshima’s website and it contains a medley of four of his recordings – ‘Irayoi Tsukiyahama’ which he co-wrote with Begin’s Eisho Higa; the original Oshima songs ‘Akayura’ and ‘Ryusei’; plus the traditional Yaeyama song ‘Kuinupana’ which he recorded with jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer. English translations of some of the words and explanations of the songs can be seen in the video. It acts as a great taster if you haven’t listened to his songs before: www.oshimayasukatsu.com

Oshima’s concert in Naha is at the Sakurazaka Theatre (Hall B) on Saturday 28th May and it begins at 19:00. Tickets are 3,000 yen in advance or 3,500 at the door.

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