Lucy: Hiyamikachi

A new album by Okinawan-Peruvian singer Lucy is released on Kwotchee Records tomorrow (12th October). The release is timed to coincide with the opening of the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival here on Okinawa and the album is being sold at the special low price of 1,600 yen.

Hiyamikachi is produced by Masahiro Takara and contains twelve upbeat songs of celebration, most of them familiar to Okinawan music enthusiasts. It’s a lively diversion for Lucy and is very different from her more refined and sophisticated debut album Ninufabushi. Her distinctive voice can still be heard throughout the new album as she comes up with some intriguing versions of these old songs assisted by Nao with taiko, hayashi, sanba and whistling and a large number of assorted musicians.

The title track ‘Hiyamikachibushi’ is the perfect opener and Lucy adds some different sounds and Spanish lyrics to this powerful song to make an unusual but very effective new blend. Of the other songs, the outstanding track is ‘Mimurabushi’ which is given a completely new workout with a compelling arrangement involving a combination of sanshin, guitars, bass and drums. It works so well that it would be good to hear an entire album arranged in this way – perhaps it’s one for the future.

For the most part the other Okinawan songs are played straightforwardly enough, though when we get to ‘Hounen Ondo’ the Okinawan sounds segue excitingly into a cacophony of whistles, percussion and a Brazilian samba rhythm. It’s a great soundtrack for the Uchinanchu Festival.

One US dollar from every CD sold will be donated to Japan Earthquake Relief. A video of the song ‘Hiyamikachibushi’ from the album can be seen here (and some of you may recognize the person dancing in the yellow shirt):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biP2_guIstc

The video can also be seen with an English explanation here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2LnzgTL4Rs

And in Spanish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm_uqeTv2uc&feature=related

 

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