Sappho in Wonderland

2008 SF Bay Area, or 1939 Berlin?

Shima Uta [Island Song]

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I just expanded the Wikipedia article on this beautiful song. It is a combination of shima uta, traditional Okinawan folk music, and Japanese music. The guitarist imitates the Okinawan sanshin, a precursor to the shamisen. If the piece sounds sad to you, it’s because the songwriter was writing about the atrocities committed by the Japanese army during the US invasion of Okinawa at the end of WWII. Of course, the song doesn’t state this directly. The lyrics are about spring flowers, the wind, beautiful sugarcane fields, and lost love. In the best Japanese poetic tradition, everything is implied. The songwriter stated the true meaning of the words several times in interviews. Btw he isn’t Okinawan, but this is the most popular song in Okinawa, after 15 yrs. It was also a hit in South America. Music is indeed the international language. Enjoy:

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Written by berkeleysappho

February 8, 2008 at 11:59 pm

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