Lucy: Koi no Yoisura Bushi

A new CD by Okinawan-Peruvian singer Lucy is always welcome and her third offering has just been released. This one is a mini-album containing five songs plus an instrumental version of the title track. The title song ‘Koi no Yoisura Bushi’ was written by Hitoshi Kume and Lucy’s performance of it won the Miuta Taisho Grand Prix. This is an annual contest begun in 1990 and sponsored by Radio Okinawa in which the best newly composed shimauta of each year is chosen.

‘Koi no Yoisura Bushi’ is a fine successor to the list of winners and Lucy’s singing is impeccable as ever on this lively song. On these recordings she sings and plays sanshin and is joined by Nao on taiko and mentor Shizuko Oshiro on sanshin. There are also contributions from koto, fue and hayashi. The result is a set of songs which have more of a classical feel to them despite most being shimauta rather than traditional minyo. One song was written by Oshiro who also arranges the music for the second song ‘Koi ji Makura’.

Lucy

By far the longest track here is the ten minute ‘Yaeyama Sodachi’ and this is followed by the traditional ‘Tsuki nu Mapiroma Bushi’ which is another song from the Yaeyama Islands whose songs are often very different from those of Okinawa’s main island. It’s good to hear Yaeyama songs sung by Lucy as she has a real sensitivity for them and manages to convey their emotions in just the right way. The recording is also very much a team effort with each musician playing a vital part in the overall sound. The production is by Masahiro Takara.

Lucy continues to develop as a singer and musician and has now made three quite different albums, each one equally rewarding in its own way. She appears to be at home on both modern and traditional songs from all parts of the Ryukyu Islands and her grounding in classical Ryukyu music is particularly evident on the new CD. The next full-length album will no doubt be another departure but in the meantime this is an excellent release.

Koi no Yoisura Bushi is released on Qwotchee Records.

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