Shakari – 15th anniversary concert in Chatan

The Okinawan duo Shakari (singer Chiaki and her percussionist partner Kannari) gave a live show on Friday at Mod’s in Chatan. It was the last date of their tour to celebrate 15 years of making music together. The Chatan venue was fitting as it’s also Chiaki’s hometown and there was a full house with all tickets sold out well in advance. The duo obviously have a strong and loyal following which extends well beyond Okinawa – the couple sitting next to me had made the very long journey from Hokkaido in the north of Japan to be at the concert.

The duo performed for more than two hours in two distinct sets. The first half comprised a large selection of original songs from all of their previous albums. Many of these songs were shortened and linked together into a long medley and the pair were joined on stage by two keyboard players and a guitarist.



In the second half they played songs from their new album Onkochishin (reviewed recently on this blog) which is made up entirely of traditional Okinawan compositions. It was here that Chiaki really excelled and her vocals were more than up to the task in this surprising departure from her usual contemporary Okinawan pop style. She also played sanshin and fue and, despite her own protestations that she still has a lot to learn about minyo, gave a fine performance assisted by more guest musicians including a koto player and two sanshin players.

Although Shakari’s albums are always stylish and polished they haven’t quite displayed the raw power of a live performance such as this. Chiaki commanded attention throughout with clear and strong vocals and the blend of musicians was just right. Towards the end of the lengthy show Chiaki brought on stage her mother and her mother’s dance teacher and the pair danced to ‘Tanchame Bushi’.


The inevitable encore began with a new song ‘Arigatou’ written and recorded specially for the 15th anniversary tour and copies of the CD single were given away to all members of the audience. Free cups of awamori were also offered to everyone during the interval. Finally, Chiaki returned alone to sing an unaccompanied version of the traditional ‘Hyakuna Bushi’.





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