Peter Barakan’s Roots to Okinawa

Television presenter, radio DJ and author Peter Barakan is well known throughout Japan. Last year he visited Okinawa to talk about music and his show was sold out. Yesterday he returned to Okinawa to give another of his popular music presentations, this time in front of a full house at Okinawa University.

His talk this time focused on roots music and was titled Roots to Okinawa. For almost two hours he gave a fascinating presentation on some of the most interesting roots music from around the world. This was illustrated with some powerful audio and video clips which began with an old recording of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and went on to cover music from America, Africa and Europe.


After the interval, I joined Peter Barakan to take part in a one hour Talk Session. This began with a short presentation in which I talked about my discovery of Okinawan music and played some recent recordings from Shoukichi Kina, Unaigumi, and Satoru Shimoji. In the discussion which followed with Peter we covered a wide range of musical topics.

One of these was the revival of interest in the old songs, stories and music of the Appalachians through the duo Anna & Elizabeth, and Peter showed a video of their performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. We also managed to squeeze in a brief discussion of Basque music before taking questions from a very responsive audience which included several musicians from Okinawa.



Peter Barakan has a calm, warm and thoughtful personality and his wide-ranging knowledge and passion for roots music was very much appreciated by everyone. Let’s hope it isn’t too long before he returns to Okinawa.

Explore posts in the same categories: Okinawan Life

One Comment on “Peter Barakan’s Roots to Okinawa”

  1. にし Says:

    I also hope it is not long before Peter Barakan returns to Okinawa.

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