Wednesday, October 19, 2005
The Power of the Music Power
Most of you who don't harbor an aversion to all things David Byrne (you know who you are) may remember Japanese pop star Shoukichi Kina from the Luaka Bop compilation Asia Classics 2: Peppermint Tea House released in 1994. Or you might already know the song Haisai Ojisan from the one-off strange bedfellows collaboration of the French/Frith/Kaiser/Thompson CD Live, Love, Laff & Loaf which came out in 1996 (whoever borrowed my copy and never returned it, please give it back, no questions asked). Either way, you need to hear more of this music. Musicians in Okinawa spawned a unique rock/folk hybrid as a reaction to the US occupation of their islands during the Vietnam war, creating a raw, forceful fusing which sounded like nothing else before or since. Recorded live in 1977 (save for an extra studio track at the end), the performances on The Music Power From Okinawa range from measured urgency to full-out frantic freak-out, Japanese style (proof:
Tokyo Sanbika). I'm no musical ethnologist, so I'm not sure if the sanshin being played is electric or fitted with pickups, but the sound overall is great. I bought my copy of this CD used at Amazon, so you should, too.