Released a couple of weeks ago, Nanaironote recently did a shimakutuba cover (yup, not hougen), of BEGIN’s “Sanshin no Hana” featuring the talents of Tafuku Mami and Ishimine Airi (who in our opinion has one of the best voices in the industry). A few of the older but more recent Nanaironote covers didn’t quite catch our ear but this one sticks. It’s amazing with two equally amazing artists.
Nema Ui Covers “Shima Uta”
Having just released her first EP “Ui ❤️ Okinawa” on 10/20, VTuber Nema Ui also released a cool cover of The Boom’s “Shima Uta” on her YouTube channel (the song isn’t part of the EP). The 6-track EP is currently available on all streaming platforms.
Cover of Kiroro’s “Mirai e” by i-Dushi
A hula version of i-Dushi’s “Mirai e” (Kiroro) was recently put together by Insense Music Works on their YouTube channel. The cover song was released with the compilation album “HONEY meets ISLAND CAFE – Sea of Love 5 -” from December 2020. Unfortunately, the album nor the single is available globally so we’ll have to enjoy the video on YouTube.
Nanaironote’s “Gurenge” Uchinaaguchi Cover
They really hyped this one making it a YouTube Premiere event and now we can finally see the Uchinaaguchi cover of “Gurenge” from the hit anime series “Demon Slayer“. The shot all in one take music video features the singer Maedo Niina (she’s also a model and radio personality), the amazing Nakamine Yoshimori on sanshin, among others. Perhaps the biggest star is the use of Ryukyu Mura for the music video’s location.
They disabled sharing the video outside of YouTube so here’s the link.
“Hanamizuki Okinawa Hougen Ver.” is the MV of the Year
If you watch one music video on YouTube, this must be it. The MV is an acoustic cover of the very popular J-pop song Hanamizuki by Hitoto Yō (she’s Japanese and Taiwanese) and matches well with Uchinaa-guchi and Ryūkyū instruments, dance and vocals. (Another version to listen to is from Amami Ōshima’s Minami Kizuki.) The music video is a collaboration between guitarist HOMARE of Nanaironote and model/actress/singer Karin Miyagi who recently collaborated with famous Okinawan artist Naka Bokunen for the Chimugasana project. Filming took place at Ryukyu-mura.
An interesting connection that this cover of Hanamizuki makes is that the song inspired a film of the same name (2010 release) that starred the popular Okinawan actress Aragaki Yui and had its international debut at our very own Hawaii International Film Festival!
h/t @sherryberry100 on Twitter.
BTS’s Dynamite in Uchinaa-guchi
What better example of Ryukyuan pop culture than this cover of K-pop group BTS‘s super-catchy Dynamite sung in Uchinaa-guchi? The brilliant cover is by Toume Yoshiaki (Usumasa Okinawa) who is an uta-sanshin player, Okinawa shibai actor, and a Ryukyuan Dance performer. Be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter. I’m looking forward to see what he comes up with in the future.
BEGIN announces tribute and cover albums, plus more – Tokyograph
Pop group BEGIN celebrated the 20th anniversary of their debut this year, and they have now announced the simultaneous release of two special albums to celebrate that milestone. Titled “BEGIN 20th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL TRIBUTE ALBUM” and “BEGIN 20th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL COVER ALBUM,” the albums are scheduled to go on sale on March 2, 2011.
The members of BEGIN are originally from Okinawa, so the “SPECIAL TRIBUTE ALBUM” will have an all-Okinawa theme. The artists known to be participating are MONGOL800, Cocco, Kariyushi 58, MAX, ISSA (DA PUMP), Chiharu Tamashiro (Kiroro), D-51, Yanawaraba, Isamu Shimoji, 2side1BRAIN, Ponytail Ribbons, and BOURBONZ. The album’s jacket will feature actress Manami Higa, who also hails from Okinawa.
The “SPECIAL COVER ALBUM,” on the other hand, will not be limited to Okinawan artists. The album includes Yoshimi Tendo, Hiromi Iwasaki with Chikuzen Sato, Sayuri Ishikawa, Ayakaji, Sansanar, Kaori Nakata, Rimi Natsukawa, Aya Ueto, Takeshi Tsuruno, Keiko Toda, SISTER KAYA, and Tokiko Kato. Another Okinawan actress, Tomi Taira, will appear on the jacket.
Both albums look like must haves but of course, we’re most excited about the tribute album, you know, since Manami Higa will be on the cover. Hopefully there will be a track listing up for each album soon so stay tuned here or keep a lookout on BEGIN’s official website or their record label’s website. And, most importantly, remember to mark your calendar for the album’s release date: March 2, 2011. Oh, one thing that looks promising is the price of the albums: ¥2,400 (instead of the norm of about ¥3,000).
HIFF 30: 2 Films, 2 Actresses from Okinawa
The Hawaii International Film Festival gets underway from October 14th to the 24th and we’re in for a treat as they’re screening two films that feature actresses from Okinawa.
“Abacus and Sword (武士の家計簿 Bushi no Kakeibo)” (Japan, 2010) stars Yukie Nakama and will be shown on 10/23/10 at 8:45 PM and on 10/24/10 at 12:30 PM. (Visit HIFF’s page for the film for more info.)
“Hanamizuki (ハナミズキ)” (Japan, 2010) stars Yui Aragaki and will be shown on 10/23/10 at 1:00 PM and on 10/24/10 at 5:00 PM. (Visit HIFF’s page for the film for more info — they also have a trailer up on their website.) Check out the film’s official website which has several wallpapers for the film available for download (unfortunately, none feature Yui Aragaki). The song, “Hanamizuki,” which Yui covers from Yo Hitoto, is on Yui’s latest album “Niji,” released on 9/22/10.
Tickets are already on sale if you’re a HIFF member with tickets for the general public going on sale from October 4th. Why not guarantee your ticket now by joining the HIFF Ohana?
THE BOOM to release a special cover album commemorating the band’s 20th anniversary
On July 22, 2009, THE BOOM will commemorate their 20th anniversary with a special cover album that will feature several artists from Okinawa. Known for their song “Shimauta,” THE BOOM has released a number of singles with an Okinawan-sound to them. Titled “THE BOOM 20th SPECIAL COVER ALBUM,” it will feature Kariyushi58, MONGOL800 and BEGIN.
ういずあす – the trio formerly known as ‘wiz-us’
Waiting for me in my inbox this morning was an email from Mark about a group from Okinawa named ういずあす. At first I didn’t recognize the group but upon further research (ah, googling how I love thee) I found that the trio formerly went by the name “wiz-us” (which is how the current name is pronounced in English—yeah, go figure). Anyhoo, that name was quite familiar to me because I purchased their debut single, “Toori Ame,” a couple of years ago. At the time, they were marketed as a J-pop group with an Okinawan-twist (not unlike what’s being seen in the popularity of artists from Amami-Oshima like Chitose Hajime and Kousuke Atari) by, I presume, their record label at the time SME Records. So, yeah, I was totally thrown off by the change from “wiz-us” to the Japanese “ういずあす” and how they’re now adorned in Ryukyuan costume. Checking out their profile, the change from J-pop to wherever they plan to go (O-pop? Minyou?) from here is not all fluff as all three are accomplished artists of Ryukyuan music and dance:
- Rina Kinjo (22, Nago City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 13 years.
- Reika Higa (23, Nanjou City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 14 years.
- Ayano Oyakawa (23, Urasoe City): Ryukyu Buyou (Saikoushou) for 15 years.
Their discography (from their SME catalog) so far consists of their debut single “Toori Ame” released in March 2007 and a cover album, “Nakayukui,” released in December 2007. Looking at the discography you’ll notice the void between January 2008 to present so I’m assuming they’re going indie.
Links to find out more about ういずあす (I’ve left out the ones that link to wiz-us):
Video: おきなわBBtv: They introduce themselves with their new name and also mention an upcoming single that they’re working on.
(Nifee deebitan to Mark for the tip!)