Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2013

A Happy New Year of the Snake to all from the Power of Okinawa!


Last year was an unusually good one for new album releases from Okinawa. Three in particular were outstanding. Shoukichi Kina returned to something like top form with the release of Nirai Pana an album which gets better with every listen; Yasukatsu Oshima made another top class album Shimawataru~Across the Islands; and Misako Oshiro collaborated on some excellent recordings with Ainu musician Oki for the album Kita to Minami.

Other good releases from Okinawan artists included Tetsuhiro Daiku’s Agi, Chihiro Kamiya’s Utaui and Tatsumi Chibana’s solo debut Atarashii Sekai. There was also another Misako Oshiro collaboration, this time with fellow veteran Seijin Noborikawa. All of these were reviewed on this blog. Let’s hope 2013 is another good year for Okinawan music.

Japan earthquake

March 18, 2011

It is a week today since the massive earthquake which struck the north-east of Japan followed by a devastating tsunami. Now there is the added danger of leaks of radiation from a nuclear power plant which appears to be out of control. In Okinawa we are a long way from mainland Japan and were not directly affected by last week’s earthquake. However, we were still on high alert for the tsunami which in the end didn’t arrive here. Since last Friday all television has been taken over by news reports of the quake and its aftermath. Many music and sporting events in Okinawa have been cancelled and in some cases events have been transformed into charitable activities to help the earthquake and tsunami victims.

On 17th January 1995 I was living in Kobe and was caught in the middle of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which took more than 6,000 lives, so the earthquake which hit Japan last week had a special relevance for me and brought back many bad memories of those days. Already the number of dead and missing far exceeds the figures in Kobe. People are now faced with the additional problems of aftershocks and further quakes, as well as power cuts, food shortages, lack of transport and heating. The appalling pictures and scenes of devastation will gradually fade from media coverage as other world events become more newsworthy in the weeks ahead but what my experience of the Kobe disaster makes clear is that the suffering continues for a very long time after that. What is needed now is long-term support and assistance for all those who have survived. The Japanese government might also need to think seriously about alternatives to nuclear power in a country so prone to earthquakes and natural disasters.

I hope that all readers of the Power of Okinawa blog and their families and friends are safe and well. Our sympathies must go out to all those who have been involved in this disaster. Let’s hope that the recovery and rebuilding process will proceed as quickly as possible.

The Power of Okinawa – 40% discount

December 4, 2010

There is a new reduced price for the 2nd edition of The Power of Okinawa. For those buying the book through the internet only, there will be a discount of around 40%. For full details see the Contact/Orders page of the Power of Okinawa website.

On the Power of Okinawa blog

July 7, 2010

It’s just over three months since this blog began and I still haven’t really mentioned the point of it all. So just to put the record straight, this blog accompanies the second edition of ‘The Power of Okinawa’, the first book in English on Okinawan music, which was published in March 2010. The new edition is much bigger and better, but as all guidebooks are likely to date soon after publication (or even before), this blog is being used to add new information on Okinawan music and for the occasional album review. There are also some posts on other kinds of roots music that I’m interested in. Finally, there may also be some occasional posts on Okinawan life or culture which may have nothing to do with the music at all.

 Any longer music features should eventually end up on the Features page of the Power of Okinawa website, where several of the articles I’ve written over the years are already available to read.

 So to recap, my self-imposed guidelines are to write about Okinawan music; other roots music; or just plain Okinawa. While it might be nice to write about other interests of mine, such as the novels I’ve been reading, the films I’ve seen, or the World Cup football which has had me trapped in front of the TV now for nearly a month, I will resist the temptation.

 Many thanks to everyone who has been reading the blog up to now.