Okinawan-Peruvian singer Lucy gave a concert last night to a large and appreciative audience at Kugani Hall in Haebaru, Okinawa. Lucy is already one of the outstanding singers and sanshin players in Okinawa and she came here fresh from a trip to Hawaii where she had performed at an Okinawan festival. The concert in Haebaru was again notable for the sheer variety of songs and music on display.
The evening’s schedule was divided into three parts. In the opening section Lucy played and sang with other musicians as they accompanied dancers performing traditional Ryukyu Butoh. Following this, the Hokkaido musician Hiroko Ara played a number of tunes on the Finnish stringed instrument the kantele. These included pieces from Finland, Ireland and Mongolia as well as original compositions. She then accompanied Lucy’s vocal and sanshin on ‘Tsuki nu Kaisha’ and a lullaby from Okinoerabu, a collaboration which worked superbly.
Finally, the third part of the evening featured Lucy singing a wide variety of songs from her repertoire. As well as the Okinawan minyo for which she has become so well-known, she sang in Spanish with a Latin American musical flavour and there were diversions into shimauta and Japanese kayokyoku. She also sang an original song by Kenji Yano and Nao who both accompanied her throughout this set on guitars and taiko. She was joined again by Hiroko Ara’s kantele and by Ryukyu koto and fue and some songs were interpreted by dancers.
It was a long evening and inevitably not all of the songs will please everyone equally but it was an impressively accomplished performance by all involved and no-one was complaining about the late end to the show. Lucy continues to shine as one of the brightest stars of Okinawan music and more.