“Sanshin & Okinawa/Ryukyu folksongs

Follow Lieven Martens to the Ryukyu’s. Feast on the three strings of the Sanshin, Okinawan shima uta and Ryukyu minyō.

“Five years ago i visited Shima Umui, a bar in Naha owned by Osaka born artist Misako Oshiro. While drinking my favorite mix of Orion beers and shōchū shots. Okinawan Minyō and sanshin music was drumming trough the speakers. The smell of ripe papaya’s in the air. A few blocks away the ocean roaring.

In the subtropic dream – the idealized pastiche. There i was: the travelling composer, drunk for two weeks and jetlagged. High on the fact that i was able to, for the first time, share my music with Japanese audiences. The beautiful people i met in those few days.

The day after we took a ferry to the nearby Tokashiki island. Where i would swim between sea snakes, pearl shells, and turtles. Where there were more Orion beers and shōchū. But also Oshiro’s music singing from a tapedeck on the island’s bus. And habu snakes watching our every move. An afternoon nap interrupted by the digital steeldrum bell, announcing the end of the day at the village elementary school.

Misako Oshiro passed away january 2021. This mix is a tribute to her. And to fading memories. Let music be the container to keep them 72_1.png

The highest life expectancy on planet earth is recorded in the Ryukyu’s. Does the sound of the ‘snakeskin banjo’ has something to do with this?”

Pictured is Oshiro Misako, Sanshin star.


Lieven Martens (head of the Ediçoes CN label) joins us every month for an hour of new finds, city pop, some bits from upcoming Ediçoes CN records & more.


Including tracks by Oshiro Misako (picture), Seijin Noborikawa, Kiyoshi Takahara, Four Sisters, Masanori Yamauchi, Naeko Seragaki, Shoukishi Kina, Yoneo Miyaguni, Kuichaa Dancing Aya, et al. Intro and outro by Joji Yuasa