Misako Oshiro: Ryukyu No Kaze To Umi To Tsuki
Misako Oshiro’s new album is to celebrate ‘around 60 years’ of her career as a performer. Ryukyu No Kaze To Umi To Tsuki is a fairly spartan and straighforward ten track album of traditional songs from the Ryukyus recorded earlier this year and released by Oshiro herself in August (MSK-001).
She has been very active in recent times not just as a live performer but also with collaborative recording projects. There have been joint albums with Toru Yonaha (2009), Kanako Horiuchi (2011), Seijin Noborikawa and Ainu musician Oki (both 2012). Two years ago saw the release of a 33 track double album retrospective. So just when we might have expected her to rest on her laurels she has been back in the studio again.
The album contains no surprises and is a simple and solid addition to her long recording career. Oshiro sings and plays sanshin throughout and is joined by the experienced Seibun Tokuhara three times for duets. The most notable of these is ‘Iejima Monogatari’. On another song she is joined by Kozue Chinen.
Oshiro’s singing and playing are always to the fore with occasional slight embellishment by taiko and hayashi and by Tokuhara’s sanshin on the tracks where they get together. The album begins with a strong version of ‘Katami Bushi’ and also includes the well-known ‘Ranku Bushi’ and ‘Ishikubiri’.