The Japan Times: Okinawan chronicles

The Japan Times newspaper has featured a number of books about Okinawa in English in its ON SUNDAY section for the past two weeks. Under the heading Okinawan chronicles: the many sides of life in ‘paradise’, the second of these editions on September 11 includes this mention of The Power of Okinawa.

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The Power of Okinawa: Roots Music from the Ryukyus

John Potter

RYUEI KIKAKU

Nobody who has spent any time in Okinawa can fail to notice the primacy of music in the lives of islanders. English music journalist John Potter, who has made Okinawa his home, is eminently well placed to guide us through the history, key figures and new developments in an ever-evolving music scene.

Potter’s passion for his subject, his tireless research into the origins of the music and its bifurcating forms, has resulted in a study that is both accessible and hugely satisfying – a book that even those with only a passing interest in the topic will enjoy.

Potter demonstrates how Okinawa has long been fertile ground for the kind of instrumental fusions, genre blends and collaborations we now call World Music. The writer was instrumental in bringing together the American pianist Geoffrey Keezer and the Okinawan singer and sanshin player Yasukatsu Oshima, who would go on to create a studio recording with a small number of jazz musicians.

“The Power of Okinawa” comes with an appendage of recommended albums to assist further explorations of this vibrant musical scene.

Thanks to the The Japan Times for this generous review.

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