Archive for the ‘Live in Okinawa’ category

Sakurazaka Asylum 2020

February 13, 2020

The annual Sakurazaka Asylum festival comes to Okinawa next week in conjunction with the Trans Asia Music Meeting. Advertised as a ‘Music & Art Weekend’, numerous music showcases will take place at venues in and around Naha’s Sakurazaka Theatre on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February.

As before, the Asylum brings together a wide variety of musicians from Okinawa, Asia and further afield with the focus mainly on indie rather than roots music. For those wanting a taste of Okinawan roots as well there is another appearance from Sakishima Meeting pair Yukito Ara & Isamu Shimoji.

Among the overseas artists are Basque electric guitar-based rock band Willis Drummond. The trio sing in the Basque language and have just released their 6th studio album. They will be performing on Saturday (17:00) at Sakurazaka Theatre, Hall A. Before that they are touring mainland Japan and will also play in Koza, Okinawa on the 21st.  Their tour then continues in Australia, Tahiti, and Spain.

Basque band Willis Drummond

Isamu Shimoji & Yukito Ara of Sakishima Meeting

It should also be worth seeing Fanel the project by Toulouse-born French singer Bera who mixes Asian and European music with electronics. Her album Human was reviewed here last year. Fanel will play shows on both days. Another overseas musician delving into pop and electronica is the singer Pyra from Thailand, and on Sunday there will no doubt be a big audience for Japan’s Minyo Crusaders with their strikingly original updates of traditional Japanese songs.

Mention must also be made of Okinawa’s Harahells. The drums and guitar duo played last year at a tiny venue down the street, but their increasing popularity means they will be at the main theatre this time, at Hall B on Saturday at 18:45. Their set (like many others) will be just 40 minutes but promises to be one of the most fun if last year’s is anything to go by.

These are just some of my own picks but there are many other musicians to discover and full details of all the artists are on the website below, together with times and venues. Advance tickets are 7,000 yen for both days and 4,000 for a one-day pass. Tickets for the Trans Asia Music Meeting networking event are sold separately.

http://asylum-okinawa.info

Sakurazaka Asylum in Naha

February 10, 2019

The Sakurazaka Asylum 2019 festival began yesterday in and around Naha’s Sakurazaka Theatre. The festival is held alongside the Trans Asia Music Meeting and both events continue today. These pictures show just some of the many musicians who impressed us on the first day of the festival yesterday.

The band Harukakanata from Chiba, Japan

Ishigaki singer-songwriter tidanomiyuki

South Korean duo Laybricks

Drummer Hyejin Yu from Laybricks

With Kwangmin Seo and Hyejin Yu of Laybricks after their show

The band lightcraft from Jakarta, Indonesia

lightcraft

Okinawa’s Harahells

Drummer and vocalist Ramen Maru of Harahells

 

Sakurazaka Asylum 2019

February 1, 2019

The annual Sakurazaka Asylum, a festival of music and art, takes place next week on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th February. As previously, many live shows and events are held not just at the main venue of Sakurazaka Theatre in Naha but also in the surrounding live houses, cafes and bars. The aim of the festival is “to create a place where various cultures interact and new inspiration is born”.

The large number of artists taking part come from Japan and other parts of Asia as well as from Okinawa. The focus is on Asian indie bands and singers rather than on roots music. Some of the musicians from Okinawa are already very familiar faces here and there are surely not many in Okinawa who haven’t already seen the likes of Kachimba4 and Maltese Rock. For those interested in more traditional Okinawan music there will be a performance by Miyako Island singer Hirara.

Singer-songwriter tidanomiyuki is one of the most interesting of the Okinawan contingent and she will play on the Saturday afternoon. Among those invited from overseas is the exciting Korean guitar and drums duo Laybricks and they will perform at different venues on both days of the festival.

Laybricks

Also appearing on both days are Indonesian dream-pop and indie rock band lightcraft who will be here for the first time. Another guitar and drums pair worth looking out for are Harahells. These young women from Okinawa sing quirky songs about food and claim to be better at eating than music.

Full details of all the artists and a schedule of when and where they are playing can be found on the Sakurazaka Asylum website. The festival coincides as usual with the Trans Asia Music Meeting which is held at the same main venue from the 8th to the 10th. For this networking event there will be presentations by music professionals from Japan, South Korea, China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and India.

www.asylum-okinawa.info

Yoko Ishikawa – Live in Naha

November 17, 2018

Iheya Island singer and sanshin player Yoko Ishikawa released her solo debut album in September. The album Shami No Yorokobi was reviewed on this blog. Unfortunately her concert in Okinawa to promote the new release had to be postponed because of the typhoon that hit the island at that time. It has now been rearranged for next Saturday 24th November.

Yoko Ishikawa

Owing to the great interest in this concert it will now take place at the larger Hall A at Sakurazaka Theatre in Naha starting at 18:30. Ishikawa will be joined by the musicians who played on her album and these include Setsuko Kikuyama and Keiko Kinjo. It promises to be a rewarding night at last for one of Okinawa’s brightest young talents.

http://sakura-zaka.com

Tubarama Taikai in Itoman

October 28, 2018

The 7th Itoman Tubarama Taikai was held yesterday. The contest to find the best singer of the traditional Yaeyama song ‘Tubarama’ was attended by 1,500 people and there were 23 singers in competition. Yaeyama singer Tetsuhiro Daiku was one of the judges. Daiku and Okinawa’s Hajime Nakasone also sang for the audience. The eventual winner was a singer and sanshin player from Ishigaki Island, Kyohei Matsukawa. Below are some photos taken last night.

Tubarama Taikai winner Kyohei Matsukawa (above left).

Trad.Attack! in Okinawa

October 9, 2018

Estonian band Trad.Attack! will play a concert this week in Naha, Okinawa as part of their “Shimmer Gold” Tour 2018. Comprising members Sandra Vabarna, Jaimar Vabarna, and Tõnu Tubli, the trio have released two albums and toured in 35 countries over the past four years.

Their mix of traditional Estonian songs and modern sounds is played on 12-string guitar, percussion, bagpipes and whistles. They manage to create a big sound with acoustic instruments and are inspired by archival recordings of the old folk singers. As their website says, these are: “Exciting Estonian sounds in which the old and new collide and spark”.

The concert starts at 17:00 on Saturday 13th October at Sakurazaka Theatre (Hall A). Trad.Attack! will be supported by their guests the Okinawan band Maltese Rock.

https://tradattack.ee

Tidanomiyuki – Live in Naha

August 5, 2018

The Ishigaki singer, songwriter and guitarist Tidanomiyuki gave a live performance last night at Sound M’s in Naha. Presented as one of her monthly series of live shows known as Starry Nights, this one was billed as a Special Starry Night as she sang with a band and with an invited guest – the Hiroshima-born singer and pianist Hanako Kimura.

Tidanomiyuki’s band included Yuki Irei (electric guitar) and multi-instrumentalist Yoshio Hasegawa (accordion, flute, trumpet). Her warm personality engaged the audience from the outset at this small friendly venue. A trio of songs from her recent album – ‘Mother tree’, ‘Understood’ and ‘Loves’ – were the highlights in a joyful set that ended with her own take on the traditional Okinawan song ‘Tinsagu nu Hana’. She sang this with just acoustic guitar accompaniment and managed to rework the well-known song into her own individual style.

Hanako Kimura joined Tidanomiyuki and the other musicians on piano for a fun-filled finale that no-one really wanted to end.