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AMAMI modern

Far Side Music |  AMAMI modern

Amami no Uta Asobi- Rikki no Kuro Usagi Haneta

RIKKI

Amami no Uta Asobi- Rikki no Kuro Usagi Haneta

Ref: FSD7049


Price: 26.99

First album from the wonderful Amami island singer, Rikki, for 12 years. Kuro Usagi Haneta is a children's picture book written by Tetsuhiro Koda, published in 2011 and set on Amami Oshima island. The book is based on Amami's nature, culture and customs, and the songs on this album similarly convey the charms of Amami island. Composed by Hiroaki Sugawara and Ichiro Takamoto. Rikki's vocals are accompanied by Sugawara's various guitars, percussion and keyboards plus piano, shamisen, violin and accordion. Utterly charming.

1. Kuro Usagi Haneta 2. Kenmun 3. Satangabu 4. Harebare 5. Sango no Umi no Naka Matachi 6. Takagura Tateta 7. Rurikakesu no Uta 8. Ichimura San 9. Komori Uta 10. Kanashiki Mongoose 11. Neriyakanaya 12. Tategami sama 13. Rurikakesu no Uta (instrumental)

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Minami nu Kaze (Feinu Blues)

IKUE ASAZAKI

Minami nu Kaze (Feinu Blues)

Ref: FSD7044


Price: 23.99

Veteran 80 year old singer from Amami island. Traditional songs performed in a mostly traditional style, featuring sanshin, slide guitar and keyboards with elements of blues and jazz and most of all Akazaki's expressive vocals.

1. Amishare 2. Hokorasya 3. Ahagari 4. Eeumi 5. Chisyuryahama 6. Hamachidyurya 7. Katetenuinakunsyu 8. Hanmetoribushi 9. Watasya 10. Inesuri 11. Shouren 12. Agaretachigumo 13. Hounenbushi


Ahagari

IKUE ASAZAKI

Ahagari

Ref: FSD6009


Price: 11.99

CD single from the elderly female singer from Amami with the haunting voice. Includes Ahagari, the theme tune to a popular NHK TV programme. Tracks 2 and 3 are released onto CD for the first time, arranged and with piano accompaniment by Ryo Yoshimata, a well known arranger of TV and film soundtracks.

1. Ahagari 2. Anma 3. Hanazome 4. Ahagari (Instrumental)


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Kyuramunjima

MARICAMIZKI

Kyuramunjima

Ref: FSD5856


Price: 23.99

Mizuki Nakamura and Marica are a wonderful female duo from Amami who play traditional Amami music in a modern style. On their new album, for the first time they've decided to play sanshin, the main instrument of Amami shimauta. They had previously wanted to maximise the potential of Amami shimauta without the sanshin, but this time decided to make the sound more rootsy, with a dynamic ensemble of musicians.

1. Amagurumi 2. Agarehinu Harukana 3. Itokuri Bushi 4.Watasha 5.Temariuta 6. Hanazome 7. Guikumagiri 8. Inisuri Bushi 9. Chukkyari Asabana - Hounen Bushi 10. Yetwo 11. Amagurumi (Instrumental)



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Chitose Hajime

CHITOSE HAJIME

Chitose Hajime

Ref: FSD5441


Price: 16.99

Hajime Chitose is a singer from Amami who in 2002 and 2003 had some of the biggest selling singles and albums with a blend of pop and Amami island style singing. While she isn't currently at the height of her popularity, she's still the best known artist from Amami. Her career started with this album in 2001 released on an indie label, of covers of pop songs. Unexpectedly it became quite a big hit and helped to propel her to stardom.

1. Birthday 2. Namae no nai Tori 3. Sweet Jane 4. Little Wing 5. Fuyu no Sanatrium 6. Home Again


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Kotonoha

CHITOSE HAJIME

Kotonoha

Ref: FSD5442


Price: 16.99

Hajime Chitose's second 'mini-album', this time all original tunes. Includes 'Ryugu no Tsukai', the theme song for the film Planzet. Also the first collaboration song with Gen Ueda who later would help to make 'Wadatsumi no Ki' into a million selling single.

1. Kotonoha 2. Yakusoku 3. Ryugu no Tsukai 4. Seirei 5. Mihachigatsu


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Anma

IKUE ASAZAKI

Anma

Ref: FSD5114


Price: 15.99

Four track mini-album from Amami's Ikue Asazaki. The title track, sung in Japanese, is based on the version from the NHK drama, 'Atsuki', with lyrics by UA. Plus two new verions of previous songs and the local Shimaguchi language version of Anma. Asazaki's haunting vocals plus piano, koto and sho (mouth organ used in gagaku)

1. Anma 2. Asagao 3. Agaru Yunu Hara Kana 4. Anma (shimaguchi version)


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Cassini

HAJIME CHITOSE

Cassini

Ref: FSD4490


Price: 26.99

Latest album from Amami island's most famous singer Chitose Hajime. Like many singers from Amami, music was in her blood, and from a young age she sang folk songs, in the distinctive local falsetto style. Her big break came in 2002 with the single Wadatsumi no Ki. This is her fourth full album, with one track produced by the omni-present Paddy Maloney of the Chieftains.

1. Cassini 2. Megumi no Ame 3. Anata ga Koko ni Ite Hoshi 4. Kasei Kuru Kuru 5. Hotaru Bushi 6. Akakokko 7. Miyori no Mori 8. Niji ga Umareru Kuni (produced by Paddy Maloney) 9. Rokko Ballad 10. Tama Yura 11. Seiya Kyoku 12. Sora ni Saku



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Wan Shima

ANNA

Wan Shima

Ref: FSD4444


Price: 24.99

Anna (Sato) is from Amami island, where traditional music is still very much alive in the hands of several young singers and musicians. She sings with that distinctive Amami style, to a modern electronic accompaniment of keyboards. The title track features and was arranged by Greg Matheson, who has played keyboards with Dionne Warwick, Larry Carlton among many others.

1. Wan Shima 2. Kanashaya 3. Harvest Moon 4. Neriyakanaya 5. Ikyunnyakana Bushi 6. Matsuri 7. Kurudando Bushi 8. Wan Shima (ethnic)


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Yurai Hana

KOUSUKE ATARI

Yurai Hana

Ref: FSD3601


Price: 21.99

Kohsuke Atari was as a teenager a promising singer of traditional Amami island songs. Unfortunately someone at Epic Sony decided he could be a pop star and got him to sing pop tunes, which has been fairly successful in terms of sales, but not for artist credibiity. On this latest album of 12 tracks he is joined by various Japanese pop singers such as Naotaro Moriyama and Kyogo Kawaguchi. Songs include Hana, and Ave Maria. The male version of Hajime Chitose.



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Miss You Amami

RIKKI

Miss You Amami

Ref: RAS101


Price: 13.99

Rikki is from a place just about as far south in Japan proper as you can get. Amami island is the last drop of Kagoshima, the southernmost prefecture of Kyushu, the southern of the four main islands that comprise Japan. Lying almost exactly half way between Japan and the southern islands of Okinawa, the music of Amami is a unique hybrid of its two neighbours. The music sounds stylistically essentially Japanese, but is played on a sanshin,(snake skinned banjo) more similar to Okinawa. The distinctive falsetto singing style is just about unique, there being little similar in either Japan or Okinawa. Amami shima uta (island songs) are often considered to be the Japanese blues, and the southernmost of the country’s folk styles.

Rikki (full name Ritsuki Nakano) was born to sing Amami shima uta. She started when she was four years old, making her ‘public’ debut at a minyo (local folk songs) award show in Kagoshima City the following year. The next year, still only six, she won that award and for the following six years until 1988. At the age of fifteen she won the National Folk Award title, the youngest winner in history.

On ‘Miss You Amami’ Rikki sings traditional songs and others rooted in the island tradition, with other influences and elements to create a new Amami island music. Still only young, (she was born in 1975) Rikki is somewhat a veteran of a new Amami island movement in modern roots music. Back in 1995, Japanese producer Makoto Kubota, revered for his productions of Asian music, was one of the first to recognize that Rikki had the talent to help him create a new Amami island music on the album ‘Rikki.

‘Miss You Amami’ was produced by Katsunori Tanaka, who worked with Kubota on some of his Asian projects and produced a succession of albums while living in Brazil. It was this experience that gave Tanaka the impetus for including the feeling of ‘saudade’, a Portuguese word, relating to a feeling of yearning, and at the heart of much Brazilian music. At the time she made this album, Rikki had lived away from Amami for about five years, and was experiencing saudade, and is behind the title of this album, ‘Miss You Amami’.

The album also features Yuki ‘Alani’ Yamauchi, a Japanese master of the Hawaiian slack key guitar, Brazilian percussionist Beto Cazes, Malaysian accordion player S.Atan, and Japanese accordionist Aki Tamura. On sanshin, the traditional banjo like instrument, is the great Shunzo Tsukiji, one of Amami island’s finest traditional musicians, and mentor of Rikki. Taking center stage however is Rikki and her beguiling voice, drawing from her rich heritage, dripping with emotion, and taking her tradition into new territories.

1. Kana Yo Nenneko Yo 2. Nobotan nu Hana 3. Imujin Gawa 4. Mihachigatsu nu Yoru 5. Ikyunnya Kana - Yoisura 6. Syumichinagahama 7. Matsuri Medley- Waido Bushi, Amakusa, Inesuri, Kuduki, Rokucho 8. Erabu Yuri no Hana 9. Agarisachi 10. Amami no Komori Uta




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Shimauta Trickles

RIKKI

Shimauta Trickles

Ref: FSD1719


Price: 26.99

The tiny island of Amami lies almost exactly mid point between the mainland of Japan and the subtropical islands of Okinawa, and musically stands at about the half way point too. It's shima uta (island songs) are a little less frenetic than on Okinawa, the local lute, the sanshin looks like the Okinawan one, but is played and tuned like the Japanese shamisen, while it's sung in a highly decorative falsetto style. Although still in her twenties, Rikki has been championed as the savior and future of Amami island music for years, ever since she started winning various Japanese folk competitions from the age of six. Her recorded output however has been patchy. She's always had a stunning voice, pure, expressive, that weaves it's way around a melody. It took working with Japanese maestro producer Makoto Kubota to bring out the best in her on Rikki's self titled third album, before the beautiful simplicity of just her voice, sanshin and guitar on 'Miss You Amami'. Trouble is along the way she's been signed by various majors and given a producer with an apparent blueprint to turn her into a pop star, even providing the voice for the Final Fantasy computer games. This album is the most successful to date in marrying Rikki's strengths with a big yet sympathetic accompaniment and production, courtesy of Hiroaki Sugawara. Rikki's distinctive vocals hover over a relaxed, mostly electronic backing augmented by acoustic guitar and the Brazilian percussion of Marcos Suzano. These mostly traditional tunes however, never lose the essence of their Amami island roots, taking them into unexplored territory. The occasional over long doodling on electric guitar, repetitive programmed rhythms, and a cheesy synth sound or two are rescued just in time by the factor that in the end holds the entire album together. The voice of a world class singer.



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Shitsurushima

NAMI MAKIOKA

Shitsurushima

Ref: FSD3662


Price: 26.99

Nami Makioka's last album, Nanka, became a bit of a cult classic after it was played on the BBC last year. This is a welcome follow up, and is in similar vain. She sings traditional songs, plays sanshin, and is accompanied by ukulele, percussion, guitar and other instruments that makes for one of the most interesting Amami modern roots albums of recent years.



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Nanka

NAMI MAKIOKA

Nanka

Ref: FSD2744


Price: 26.99

Second solo album from another young female exponent of Amami shima uta. Nami is from Kikai Jima in Amami and at the age of sixteen gained top honours in her tradition. Unlike her stablemates Maricamizki, there is no sanshin on this album. Instead her wonderful voice is surrounded by layers of keyboards, mandolin, violin, bouzouki, piano and various percussion in an extremely tasteful way. Songs include Amami standards such as Kurudando, Isokana, Muchakana, Yoisura Bushi, Shumichi Nagahama and Ikyunnya Kana. Highly recommended.



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Notus

KOHSUKE ATARI

Notus

Ref: FSD2437


Price: 26.99

Fourth album from the young talented Amami Island singer and sanshin player. Atari has been studying 'Higya-bushi', a unique shimauta style from Southern Amami. Here he sings this traditional style with the accompaniment of ukulele, bouzouki, guitar, violin and percussion.



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Luminessance

MARICAMIZKI

Luminessance

Ref: FSD2356


Price: 26.99

The Amami island female duo seem to have been around for ages, but this is their first full album as opposed to their excellent mini-albums. One of the albums of 2004, with the two women in great voice and playing sanshin, accompanied by acoustic and lapsteel guitars, ukulele, violin, percussion and flute. The songs ebb and flow with Marica and Mizki's strong voices adding piercing, falsetto tones together with their britle, crisp sanshin. The album is recorded with a live feel to it, with little studio effects and no hint of electronic help, being totally acoustic. 12 tracks of beauty and vitality.



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Shimauta Bum Bung

MARICAMIZKI

Shimauta Bum Bung

Ref: FSD1717


Price: 24.99

Only six tracks and 24 minutes, but what wonderful music it is. Female duo sing in traditional Amami island falsetto style vocals accompanied by small Balinese gamelan bamboo orchestra, Gamelan Joged Bumbung. The two compliment each other perfectly on songs ranging from slow plaintive ballads to faster tunes, including an instrumental, where Bumbug take centre stage. Wonderful and fascinating.



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Song Fruits

MARICAMIZKI

Song Fruits

Ref: FSD1718


Price: 24.99

Mizuki Nakamura and Marica sing Amami shimauta accompanied by ukulele and acoustic guitar. In sound and feel, this album has been compared to Sierra Leone Palm Wine guitar music.



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Shodon

KOHSUKE ATARI

Shodon

Ref: FSD1739


Price: 24.99

Young male Amami island singer and sanshin player. On this third album he is accompanied by including guitar, ukulele, tuba and percussion that adds a welcome new dimension to his previous very traditional albums.



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Kafu

MIZUKI NAKAMURA

Kafu

Ref: FSD2742


Price: 26.99

Third solo album by one half of the excellent Maricamizuki duo. Traditional Amami island tunes played on twangy sanshin with falsetto vocals by Mizuki with occassional help from Marika. Very nice but lacks a variety with most songs being of similar tempo and structure.



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Kana

MARIKA YOSHIHARA

Kana

Ref: FSD2743


Price: 26.99

This may be the first solo album by Marika Yoshihara, but it's more like another excelent Maricamizki release. Marika is joined by Mizuki on nearly all tracks, plus a sumptuous array of instruments including ukulele, bouzouki, guitar, kalimba and percussion. Some of Amami island's best known traditional tunes, Yoisura Bushi, Itokuri Bushi, Kurudando, Hanagoma and eight others. Mainly slow, plaintive and bluesy with some upbeat and accapella songs.



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Hainumikaze

CHITOSE HAJIME

Hainumikaze

Ref: FSD1732


Price: 26.99

One of the most remarkable success stories in Japanese roots music in recent years. Amami island female vocalist, singing in traditional style sells over 1 million of her first album. The songs and arrangements and instrumentation are fairly regular pop, albeit, cooler than almost anything else that sold this amount in Japan. Big production, and slightly dry, cold sound, but overall an album that oozes quality throughout and comes highly recommended.



Hamasaki

IKUE ASAZAKI & DAIKICHI YOSHIDA

Hamasaki

Ref: FSD3382


Price: 26.99

Brilliant new album featuring Ikue Asazaki, veteran traditional singer from Amami, and sitar player Daikichi Yoshida, a veteran of Japan's alternative music scene. Asazaki has one of those immediately arresting voices, that drips with character but often has been set against a new age accompaniment that hasn't always done her justice. Yoshida is probably best known for playing with improv band Psycho Baba, but has played with a host of other musicians including Alaya Vijana (Fuji Rock festival 2006) Keiji Haino, sax player Kazutoki Umezu and Sitar Tah! and has written songs for female singer UA. On this suprising album, Amami celebration songs meets Indian, Indonesian gamelan, Korean and other Asian elements in a decidely experimental, boisterous manner. Other musicians include Akira Sotoyama (drums), Arunangshu Chaudhury (tabla) U-zhaan (tabla) Urotsute Noyako (gamelan) Fuyuki Yamakawa (hoomi-throat singing, igil) Maya (harmonium) Indora (Korean pansori) and Tonchi (steel pan drums). Wild and rather wonderful.



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Shimayumuta

IKUE ASAZAKI

Shimayumuta

Ref: FSD3243


Price: 21.99

Female singer Ikue Asazaki from Amami island in Japan's deep south, has one of those voices that immediately grabs the attention. Slightly deep, a bit hoarse, obviously that of an old lady (she was born in 1935) that conveys a wealth of emotion. On this mini album she has teamed up with Chinese piano player and arranger Wong Wing Tsan. It verges towards New Age, but Asazaki's voice is an engaging as ever. Six tracks.



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6. Luminessance (Ref: FSD2356)
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Obokuri

IKUE ASAZAKI

Obokuri

Ref: FSD2653


Price: 26.99

Ikue Asazaki is an elderly lady from Amami island whose voice is full of character, slightly hoarse and sometimes with falsetto. On this album she sings Okinawan and Amami traditional minyo, plus old Japanese songs and lullabies. Excellent.



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Uta Ashiibi

IKUE ASAZAKI

Uta Ashiibi

Ref: FSD2242


Price: 26.99

Veteran female singer from Amami island, who in her twilight years got signed by a major. Her music sometimes borders on the new age / healing, and here collaborations with pianists and guitar players such as Chichi Matsumura from Gontiti continue this theme.



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Utaba Utayun

IKUE ASAZAKI

Utaba Utayun

Ref: FSD1723


Price: 26.99

The three songs on Asazaki's mini-album get re-released onto a full album with six new recordings, and two interludes of voice and soundscape. Asazaki's vocals are accompanied by Akira Takahashi's piano on a kind of Okinawa meets new age piano CD. But don't let that put you off too much. It's actually a pleasant enough listen, designed to soothe the senses rather than stir them. Wonderful Japanese vocalist UA guests on one track adding street cred.



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Majimun

VARIOUS

Majimun

Ref: FSD3151


Price: 26.99

Amami island in the deep south of Japan is home to a vibrant, living, traditional music scene. This compilation provides the evidence with mostly young singers, mostly in the 20s, performing traditional Amami island songs. Some are modern arrangments with ukulele, guitar and percussion as well as the sanshin and the distinctive falsetto style of singing. Artists include Maricamizki (Mizuki Nakamura & Marica Yoshihara), Nami Makioka, Shingo Maeyama (up and coming singer with a great voice), Fumitomo Yagi (singer songwriter from Okinawa based in Kyoto), Banana Maffin (most popular reggae DJ on Amami). 22 tracks.



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Michi

KAZUMA TEI

Michi

Ref: FSD3336


Price: 15.99

Kazuma Tei is a male singer from Tokuno Shima, an island in Kagoshima prefecture in the south of Japan. He plays sanshin, takes inspiration from his own local shima uta (island songs) which he incorporates into his own songs. 5 track mini album.



Miss You Amami

RIKKI

Miss You Amami

Ref: RAS101


Price: 13.99

Rikki is from a place just about as far south in Japan proper as you can get. Amami island is the last drop of Kagoshima, the southernmost prefecture of Kyushu, the southern of the four main islands that comprise Japan. Lying almost exactly half way between Japan and the southern islands of Okinawa, the music of Amami is a unique hybrid of its two neighbours. The music sounds stylistically essentially Japanese, but is played on a sanshin,(snake skinned banjo) more similar to Okinawa. The distinctive falsetto singing style is just about unique, there being little similar in either Japan or Okinawa. Amami shima uta (island songs) are often considered to be the Japanese blues, and the southernmost of the country’s folk styles.

Rikki (full name Ritsuki Nakano) was born to sing Amami shima uta. She started when she was four years old, making her ‘public’ debut at a minyo (local folk songs) award show in Kagoshima City the following year. The next year, still only six, she won that award and for the following six years until 1988. At the age of fifteen she won the National Folk Award title, the youngest winner in history.

On ‘Miss You Amami’ Rikki sings traditional songs and others rooted in the island tradition, with other influences and elements to create a new Amami island music. Still only young, (she was born in 1975) Rikki is somewhat a veteran of a new Amami island movement in modern roots music. Back in 1995, Japanese producer Makoto Kubota, revered for his productions of Asian music, was one of the first to recognize that Rikki had the talent to help him create a new Amami island music on the album ‘Rikki.

‘Miss You Amami’ was produced by Katsunori Tanaka, who worked with Kubota on some of his Asian projects and produced a succession of albums while living in Brazil. It was this experience that gave Tanaka the impetus for including the feeling of ‘saudade’, a Portuguese word, relating to a feeling of yearning, and at the heart of much Brazilian music. At the time she made this album, Rikki had lived away from Amami for about five years, and was experiencing saudade, and is behind the title of this album, ‘Miss You Amami’.

The album also features Yuki ‘Alani’ Yamauchi, a Japanese master of the Hawaiian slack key guitar, Brazilian percussionist Beto Cazes, Malaysian accordion player S.Atan, and Japanese accordionist Aki Tamura. On sanshin, the traditional banjo like instrument, is the great Shunzo Tsukiji, one of Amami island’s finest traditional musicians, and mentor of Rikki. Taking center stage however is Rikki and her beguiling voice, drawing from her rich heritage, dripping with emotion, and taking her tradition into new territories.

1. Kana Yo Nenneko Yo 2. Nobotan nu Hana 3. Imujin Gawa 4. Mihachigatsu nu Yoru 5. Ikyunnya Kana - Yoisura 6. Syumichinagahama 7. Matsuri Medley- Waido Bushi, Amakusa, Inesuri, Kuduki, Rokucho 8. Erabu Yuri no Hana 9. Agarisachi 10. Amami no Komori Uta




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Far Side Music |  AMAMI modern

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