Songs Connecting Islands

Last night I went to the Songs Connecting Islands live show at Arte Sakiyama in Shuri. This was a ‘welcome performance’ linked to the International Small Island Cultures Conference currently being held at Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts.

An-chang Project

An-chang Project

It was very good to see An-chang Project making a rare but very welcome appearance in Okinawa. Members Jun Yasuba (vocal, sanshin), Yoshiko Higa (vocals, percussion) and Maki Hishida (vocals, flute) are all based in Tokyo but fourth member Yu Tamura (vocals, drum) is currently living in London and was able to join them on a visit back to Japan. An-chang Project showed great enthusiasm and some excellent harmony singing on songs from the Ryukyu islands of Amami, Miyako, and Yonaguni, as well as from Taiwan and the Pacific island of Kiribati.

Mio Matsuda

Mio Matsuda

The evening ended with a performance by Mio Matsuda who is well-known for her great fluency in singing in many different languages and especially for her work in Portugal and Cape Verde. She was accompanied by guitarist Ryoji Yamaguchi and they ended the evening by inviting the other musicians on stage to join in with Matsuda’s trademark song ‘Saiko’.

Also performing last night were the young sanshin and guitar duo i-dushi and Ogasawara-based singer and ukulele player Homare Nishimoto. Mio Matsuda and Ryoji Yamaguchi appear again in a ‘Special Live’ performance tonight (17th) at Conte in Naha starting at 19:30.

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