Mako in Seattle

Traditional Okinawan music performer Mako has recently been in touch to introduce herself and to talk about her fascinating ‘Okinawa Overseas’ story.

She was born in Okinawa but moved to Hawaii with her family at the age of eleven, and later moved to Seattle as an adult. Her sanshin playing began after she moved away from Hawaii, and this led to the discovery that singing and playing sanshin offered a connection or ‘portal’ back to her roots.

As a member of the Okinawan community in Washington State she frequently plays in the Seattle area. “Sometimes this is at public events like cultural and/or world music festivals” she says, “other times at private events such as fundraising parties, school events, or as a guest speaker in classrooms. I just love to see people’s eyes pop open when they see and hear something they’ve never seen or heard before and to introduce Okinawa to those people.”


She performs both solo and sometimes as leader of the group known as Mako and Munjuru who can be found via their Facebook page. She is also a member of the Honolulu musical troupe Ukwanshin Kabudan.

“With this worldwide pandemic everything came to halt. After more than two months of stay-at-home and a small dip in the bar graph in the greater Seattle area it seems as though people’s wheels are starting to turn. Although stay-at-home was extended to take effect until the end of this month, I’m involved in a couple of projects starting very soon. I’m hoping to be able to keep introducing Okinawan music for as long as I’m enjoying it.”

An album of Mako’s recent recordings of traditional Okinawan songs has been released just this week. The album Portal is a fine example of her work and is available through Bandcamp at the link below:

She will also be doing a live stream on 21st May at 7pm Pacific Daylight Time for 30 minutes or so. It can be seen on either of these Facebook pages:

Mako and Munjuru

SAMA: Seattle Sacred Music and Arts

Explore posts in the same categories: Okinawa Overseas

2 Comments on “Mako in Seattle”

  1. Devon Leger Says:

    Oh great, I’m glad you connected with Mako! She’s the best, I was hoping you’d pick up on her album.

    Nice! Devon

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