Sunday Sessions at Chakra

Last year Shoukichi Kina held an ‘8 Days Live’ event at his ‘live house’ Chakra on Naha’s Kokusai-dori in order to celebrate his 50 years of making music. It was a remarkable series of evenings with Kina inviting guests to perform their own music and to join him on stage. His expulsion from Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) and subsequent failure in the election for Okinawa Governor seemed to have reinvigorated his desire to make music again.

The new relaxed Kina is already planning the latest in his intermittent series of Niraikanai Festivals which is scheduled for November this year in Ginowan. In the meantime he is reawakening the spirit of those live shows from last year by staging some jam sessions at Chakra every Sunday evening.

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The one we attended last Sunday featured a wide range of music and musicians and also a performance by belly dancers. The music spanned Okinawan traditional and contemporary but there was also jazz and rock and hints of Arabic, Irish, and even flamenco. Anything goes. Kina himself sang a short set with his band Champloose which included a lovely version of his original song ‘Omoibana’ while ‘Haisai Ojisan’ brought the entire audience to its feet with arm-flinging kachashii abandon.

Miyako singer and sanshin player Hirara is a regular at these sessions and she sang and played some songs from her islands very movingly. The photos here come courtesy of Hirara and also Norwegian photographer Heiko Junge who has been visiting Okinawa again.

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Entry to Chakra for these Sunday sessions is just 1,000 yen.

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