Archive for the ‘Radio Mixes’ category

Okinawan Collaborations Mix

June 24, 2022

My new radio mix is now online at K.O.L. Radio (see below). This is a mix of collaborations by Okinawan musicians. All except the final track were made with artists from outside Okinawa.

The late Seijin Noborikawa starts things off with his collaboration with Osaka band Soul Flower Union on ‘Midori no Okinawa’. This is followed by Shoukichi Kina and experimental Dutch musician Pascal Plantinga.

Takashi Hirayasu’s groundbreaking 1999 album of Okinawan children’s songs with American guitarist Bob Brozman is featured twice. There are also two tracks from another classic album by Yaeyama musician Yasukatsu Oshima and American jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer recorded in New York in 2007.

Yasukatsu Oshima and Geoffrey Keezer recording their album in New York

Yoriko Ganeko appears twice in very different musical settings. The first is ‘Nishinjo Bushi’ an exquisite duet with Japan’s Kazufumi Miyazawa. The other is from her now rare album recorded in Paris with French rock band LSD.

Other outside collaborators include Oki (Ainu), Guy Sigsworth (England), Yuko Sato (Japan), Sven Kacirek (Germany), and Makoto Kubota’s Japan-based band project Blue Asia. Kanako Horiuchi (an honorary Okinawan from Hokkaido) is here with Senegalese musician Falaye Sakho. Hawaiian-born Anjani Thomas who has family roots in Okinawa (and is known for her work with Leonard Cohen) sings her English language version of a song by Rinken Teruya who plays sanshin.

The mix ends with a new track from Okinawa Electric Girl Saya who gets together with another Okinawan, Tetsushi Hiroyama of Ryukyudisko.

On a personal note, I was very happy to arrange a meeting in Okinawa between Guy Sigsworth (Bjork, Madonna etc.) and Minami Daito singer Mika Uchizato. Their song ‘Shurayo’ has music by Guy and words by Mika. I sat beside Mika in the recording studio as she composed the lyrics.

This is the playlist order with artists and song titles:

Seijin Noborikawa with Soul Flower Union ‘Midori no Okinawa’

Shoukichi Kina with Pascal Plantinga ‘Kunjan Sabakui’

Takashi Hirayasu and Bob Brozman ‘Jin Jin’

Yoriko Ganeko with Kazufumi Miyazawa ‘Nishinjo Bushi’

Yasukatsu Oshima with Geoffrey Keezer ‘Agarikata Bushi’

Kanako Horiuchi with Falaye Sakho ‘Hana Umui’

Oki with Misako Oshiro ‘Kita to Minami’

Guy Sigsworth with Mika Uchizato ‘Shurayo’

Blue Asia with Satoru Shimoji ‘Kun-nu-Shu’

Yukito Ara and Yuko Sato ‘Famure Uta’

Yoriko Ganeko and LSD ‘Minami no Shima’

Yasukatsu Oshima with Geoffrey Keezer ‘Tinsagu nu Hana’

Anjani Thomas with Rinken Teruya ‘Okinawa Time’

Takashi Hirayasu and Bob Brozman ‘Akata Sun Dunchi’

Sven Kacirek with Keiko Kina ‘Nagareru Mamani’

Okinawa Electric Girl Saya with Tetsushi Hiroyama ‘Acchamee!’


Okinawan Classics Mix

December 27, 2021

Here’s some great Okinawan music to listen to at the end of the year. It’s my latest music mix for K.O.L. Radio and it’s online now with a link below. This one is called Okinawan Classics and is a collection I’ve put together of mostly early recordings by the first generation of Okinawan recording artists. All the musicians are from Okinawa.

Choki Fukuhara began recording and releasing albums on his Marufuku label in the late 1940s and was also a singer and musician. One of his own tracks opens the mix. It’s followed by the original 1962 recording of Misako Oshiro’s hit ‘Kataumui’ a song written for her by Teihan China who is also featured elsewhere in the playlist.

Misako Oshiro (Photo: Stephen Mansfield)

Four especially important artists appear more than once. They are Rinsho Kadekaru, Shouei Kina, Yuki Yamazato, and Misako Oshiro. Seijin Noborikawa is also here with ‘Hiyamikachi Bushi’ and so is Rinsuke Teruya (father of the Rinken Band founder).

Four Sisters – forerunners of Nenes – sing ‘Shimajimakaishi’ a song later recorded by Nenes themselves. There is also a track by Hoptones, who were a popular male vocal quartet. The mix ends with a track by Kame Itokazu who formed her own school of song and dance and was one of the earliest recorded women singers.

This is the playlist order with artists and song titles:

Choki Fukuhara ‘Yutakara Bushi’

Misako Oshiro ‘Kataumui’

Rinsho Kadekaru with Shuei Kohama ‘Tomaitakahashi Bushi~Umi Chinbora Bushi’

Koutoku Tsuha ‘Nanyo Hamachidori Bushi’

Yuki Yamazato ‘Motobu Nakuni~Kaisare’

Shouei Kina ‘Kayoibune’

Hiromi Shiroma ‘Chibumi’

Seijin Noborikawa ‘Hiyamikachi Bushi’

Rinsuke Teruya ‘Nenju Gyoji Kuduchi’

Yuki Yamazato with Shouei Kina, Teihan China, and Tsuneo Fukuhara ‘Kui nu Hana’

Rinsho Kadekaru ‘Jidai no Nagare’

Hoptones ‘Hei Niseta’

Misako Oshiro ‘Sagichijuya’

Shouei Kina ‘Sah Sah Bushi’

Minoru Kinjo & Yuki Yamazato ‘Boshi Kuma’

Teihan China ‘Nageki no Ume’

Four Sisters ‘Shimajimakaisha’

Shotoku Yamauchi ‘Nakunigwa~Timatu

Kame Itokazu ‘Amisuku Bushi’

Sakishima Islands Mix

June 17, 2021

Here is my latest music mix which can be listened to now online at K.O.L. Radio. This time it’s a mix of songs from the Sakishima Islands that stretch from Miyako to Yaeyama. The playlist contains some of the best-known traditional songs from these islands as well as some more modern compositions.

The first six tracks are from Miyako and inevitably, there is a song by Miyako’s most famous traditional singer Genji Kuniyoshi who died recently. It is followed by a track from his former pupil, Tadayuki Matsubara, whose debut album is released next week. The Miyako section ends with Satoru Shimoji’s epic arrangement of ‘Togani Ayagu’.

The duo Sakishima Meeting (Isamu Shimoji and Yukito Ara) provide the link between Miyako and Yaeyama that leads into the Yaeyama part of the playlist and takes us to the islands further south. This begins with a song from the late Ishigaki singer Yukichi Yamazato. He was the mentor for Tetsuhiro Daiku whose sparse recording of the most representative Yaeyama traditional song ‘Tubarama’ ends the playlist.

The playlist order is below with artists and song titles:

Hirara ‘Tsunahiki nu Agu’

Isamu Shimoji ‘Banta ga Nmari Zuma’

Genji Kuniyoshi ‘Irabu Togani’

Tadayuki Matsubara ‘Pyarumizu nu Kuicha~Yonamumi nu Anigama’

Miwa Yonashiro ‘Nariyama Ayagu’

Satoru Shimoji ‘Togani Ayagu’

Sakishima Meeting ‘Sakishima no Tema’

Yukichi Yamazato ‘Shibiraoza Bushi’

Parsha Club ‘Gokoku Hojo’

Yasukatsu Oshima with Kanako Hatoma ‘Kunatsuyu’

Hidekatsu ‘Mirukumunari’

Suguru Ikeda ‘Densa Bushi’

Begin ‘Taketomi-jima de Aimasho’

Hatoma Family ‘Tsuki nu Kaisha’

Ayame Band ‘Donan Shima’

Tetsuhiro Daiku ‘Tubarama’

The K.O.L. Radio website has just been updated and is easier than ever to navigate with an archive of all the programmes.

Music from the Basque Country Mix

March 12, 2021

The latest of my music mixes is here and can be listened to now on K.O.L. Radio’s online channel. For this one, I’ve put together a playlist of music from Euskal Herria (Basque Country). It samples some of the various musical styles and introduces the most well-known singers and musicians.

All the songs are sung in the Basque language – Euskara – possibly the oldest language in Europe and, it seems, unrelated to any other language. There is a mix of trikitixa, triki-pop, singer-songwriters, one or two rock bands, and a dash of the old txalaparta wooden percussion instrument.  

Among the artists I’ve chosen are famed trikitixa player Kepa Junkera, as well as triki-pop duo Alaitz eta Maider and band Huntza. The most important singer-songwriters are represented by Mikel Laboa, Benito Lertxundi, Ruper Ordorika and Mikel Urdangarin. And it all begins with the first Basque music I ever listened to by Maixa ta Ixiar.

The most recent tracks are those by Mikel Urdangarin and by father and daughter duo Esti eta Mikel Markez. Both are from albums released just a few months ago. By contrast, the Oskorri track, with a vocal by renowned singer Mikel Laboa, is from the band’s 25th anniversary concert in 1996.

The show is online here:

The playlist order with artist names and song titles is below.

Maixa ta Ixiar ‘Espartzinarena’

Ken Zazpi ‘Gaueko argiak’

Kepa Junkera ‘Madagaskar’

Kirmen Uribe ft. Mikel Urdangarin ‘Sausalitora bidean’

Izaki Gardenak ‘Horma eta haizea’

Benito Lertxundi ‘Baldorba’

Alaitz eta Maider ‘Amets bat’

Oreka TX ‘Keinuka Ilargiari’

Fermin Muguruza ‘Eguraldi lainotsua hiriburuan’

Agurtzane eta Ion Elustondo ‘Bidetxurretik’

Ruper Ordorika ‘Itzala’

Oskorri with Mikel Laboa ‘Aita Semeak’

Beñat Igerabide ‘Helduen Mozorroa’

Korrontzi ‘Joxek Andreari’

Esti eta Mikel Markez ‘Oroitzapenek Esnatu Naute’

Willis Drummond ‘Lehentasuna’

Mikel Urdangarin ‘Hiru Ahizpatik Bigarrena’

Huntza ‘Aldapan gora’

For more information and reviews, please have a look at the Basque Music category of this blog.

Special thanks to my friend Anjel Valdes who first awakened my interest in Basque music and culture. He also produced some of the albums from which these tracks were sourced. My interview with him is in the Features Archive.

The Music of Okinawa Mix

December 18, 2020

Back in September I was asked to compile a Contemporary Roots Music Mix for K.O.L. Radio in Tokyo. Now here comes another mix of mine and, not surprisingly, it’s a compilation of Okinawan music.

With the latest show I’ve put together an hour or so of favourite tracks from the newer Okinawan minyo and modern shimauta releases to reach me. All were reviewed here over the past year or two and reviews of the source albums can be found on this blog.

The songs by Unaigumi and Yasuko Yoshida are both are a bit older, from 2015, but were so good I couldn’t leave them out. Most of the selections are from Okinawa but there are also some from the Miyako and Yaeyama islands. The final track, ‘Corona Bushi’, is a topical update of the traditional song ‘Densa Bushi’ which is from the newly released double album Okinawa Yuumoasongu Ketteiban.

The show is online now:

This is the playlist order with artists and song titles:

Yuki Yamazato ‘Inagu Hichui’

Unaigumi ‘Winagu Dushi’

Hirokazu Matsuda ‘Ushinawareta Umi e no Banka 2019 (Jintoyo-gwa)’

Takashi Hirayasu ‘Chunjun Harusa’

Yasuko Yoshida ‘Irayoi Tsukiyahama’

Yuu Yonaha ‘Dirabudi Bushi’

Takao Nagama ‘Yonaguni Kouta’

Rinsho Kadekaru with Misako Oshiro ‘Kaisare (Jintoyo)’

Mutsumi Aragaki ‘Naakunii-Hantabaru’

Satoru Shimoji ‘Kaze no Ayagu’

Yoko Ishikawa ‘Chijuyagwa’

Shinichi Shinjo & Kanako Horiuchi ‘Daisanajya’

Okinawa Americana ‘Chimuganasa’

Akane Murayoshi ‘Hama Sodachi’

Hajime Nakasone ‘Corona Bushi’

Thanks once again to James Catchpole at K.O.L. Radio.

Contemporary Roots Music Mix

September 4, 2020

Based in Tokyo, K.O.L. Radio is an online channel with podcasts, DJ mixes, and other special programmes featuring many genres of music. The shows are introduced in both English and Japanese.

Recently I was asked to compile a Contemporary Roots Music Mix for one of the shows. The only guideline was that it should be a ‘non-Okinawan’ mix so this gave me the opportunity to indulge my interest in some of the other kinds of roots music that I’ve featured on this blog.

The playlist I came up with begins and ends with traditional songs from England sung by Shirley Collins. In between there is music from, or with connections to, the USA, Estonia, Ireland, Argentina, Japan, France, Taiwan, Madagascar, Canada, and the Basque Country.

The show is now online and here is the link to listen:

The playlist and order of songs is below. The albums from which these songs are sourced were all reviewed over the past year or so on the Power of Okinawa blog. For full reviews of the albums check the ‘Roots Music from Out There’ category.

Shirley Collins ‘The Merry Golden Tree’.

The Revelers ‘Au bout de la riviere’ (At the End of the River).

Jake Blount ‘Move, Daniel’.

Trad.Attack! ‘Tehke ruumi!’ (Make Room!).

Cinder Well ‘The Cuckoo’.

Che Apalache ‘Rearrange My Heart’.

Che Apalache   春の便 (The Coming of Spring).

Fanel ‘Inori’.

Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn ‘The Roving Cowboy / Avarguli’.

Hedy West ‘Hobo’s Lullaby’.

Ruper Ordorika ‘Zazpi Nobio (Zuzenean)’.

Agurtzane & Ion Elustondo ‘Ni Banaiz Zu’.

Kelly Hunt ‘How Long’.

Small Island, Big Song ‘Sacanoy’. Featuring Ado Kaliting Pacidal and Tarika Sammy, from the Indian and Pacific Ocean music project.  

Pharis & Jason Romero ‘Kind Girl’.

Shirley Collins ‘Barbara Allen’.

Many thanks to James Catchpole at K.O.L. Radio for asking me to do this. I hope to compile more shows in the future. Maybe it will soon be time for one on Okinawan roots music….