Shoukichi Kina – 8 Days Live

Shoukichi Kina is currently celebrating 50 years of musical activity. An exhibition of photos and film is already on display at the Okinawa Times Building in Naha. Meanwhile, at Chakra on Kokusai-dori, Kina is holding an event, 8 Days Live: Peace and Celebration, in which he sings with his band Champloose every evening and talks on stage with a variety of different guests. There is a different theme each evening and the one I attended last night was focused on Kina’s travels around the world.

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It was back in 1992 when he previously held an 8 Days Live event. The time has passed very quickly and it’s also hard to believe that Kina, now 67, was just 16 when he wrote ‘Haisai Ojisan’. That song inevitably ended the performance last night with many of the full house getting up and dancing around the tables. Kina and his band were called back for an encore.

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Before that we had been given a rather different show to the one which fans of Kina and Champloose are normally used to seeing. On some occasions in the past Kina has been tense or cantankerous on stage with the atmosphere filtering down to all around him. Last night, however, it was a real joy to be part of the audience as a new relaxed Kina revisited songs from all stages of his long career and sang them passionately with obvious happiness and life-affirming enjoyment.

The superb ‘Omoibana’ was an excellent opportunity for him to demonstrate once more that he really is a great singer. And this time he was keen to allow others around him to shine as well. In an exuberant party atmosphere, several young musicians were invited to the stage to perform their own covers of Kina songs. An electric guitarist joined Champloose for the traditional song ‘Jin Jin’ and was urged by Kina to let rip with a blistering solo. There was even the appearance of a quartet of belly dancers who danced in front of the stage.

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While Okinawa is renowned for its performing arts and has also become home to many different contemporary musical styles, the show put on by Shoukichi Kina last night was a wonderful reminder of the many boundaries he has pushed over the past half century. Most importantly, he continues to be a brilliant singer and performer like no other that Okinawa has produced.

8 Days Live continues until this Saturday (7th) at Chakra. Doors open at 18.30 and events begin at 19.00. Tickets are 2,500 in advance or 3,000 yen at the door.

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