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A Sanshin Social May 2, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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Here’s Kinjo-san and one of his masters students at our last lesson with him. Let the minor imperfections in this song remind that most people in Okinawa learn and play music simply for the joy of it — spending time with friends, sipping tea between songs, and making beautiful sounds, not making money.

Notice the Little Mermaid sanshin up on the wall?


Cosmic Preservation April 30, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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Unfortunately I didn’t get to perform with the Okinawan gamelan ensemble as planned, but I did snag some recordings during our practice session.

This song begins quietly with the gendèr (bronze keys with bamboo resonators, played with two hands and dampened with the wrists) doing the introduction. Dig it:

Okinawa Party People April 30, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Other Arts, Photos.
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There is some sort of election happening in Okinawa right now. Jojo has the impression that most Okinawans dislike politicians of any party, so we did our part to clear the streets of propaganda posters.

I swear, that PQO video should be debuting any minute!

Even If the Engine Fails April 30, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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I guess there’s no point in trying to hide that we’re no longer in Okinawa. Jojo and I returned to California on Monday due to a family emergency, with many lessons, concerts and friends left unseen. Another trip is definitely in order, partly because I don’t feel I’m finished with the studies I wanted to do.

Please don’t stop reading — there’s still lots of catching up to do, some audio and video that never got posted, plus reflections and further research.

While there, I tried to think of all my favorite traveling songs. Here’s a homecoming song by Sacramento artist Justin Farren that became painfully relevant. I listened to it about a dozen times on the plane.

from Songs from Spare Rooms
© badservicebadger 2008

By the way, I had Justin in mind when I wrote about the anonymity of folk music. He’s been locally famous for years, and even though he could arguably make it big, he’s always opted to stick with a faithful Sacramento audience. I like that.

Chura Kagi April 25, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Language.
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Our faces are on the interweb! The sensei at JSL, the Japanese as a Second Language program we stayed with in Urasoe, filmed these for their website.

Sigrunn is on there too, speaking English and Norweigan.

(Anyone notice Jojo and I each rocked Griznar shirts in the last two posts?)

Sanshin Lesson #4 April 23, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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We had another lesson with Kinjo-sensei last night, and we finally nailed “Aha Bushi,” the beginner’s beginner song:

So serious!

Oki City’s Haunted Graffiti April 23, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Other Arts, Photos.
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The graffiti at the Kogen Hotel deserves a post all its own. Enjoy!


Tour of the Haunted Brothel April 23, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Photos.
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So that you don’t have to risk being haunted by Okinawan ghosts, we at oki yo! have put our spiritual well-being at stake to give you a virtual tour of the infamous, possibly former mega-brothel, Kogen Hotel.

It starts at Nakagusuku Castle, the ruins left of a 600-year-old fortress in Okinawa City. It’s a peaceful spot with a panoramic view of the island.

But the real ruins are just across a field, over there. (This photo is a little sneak peak of the upcoming Please Quiet Ourselves music video.)


Support World Music on the Radio! April 22, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music, Other Arts.
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There’s a little place back home with a big place in my heart. It’s been the hardest thing to be without. Sure, I miss eating cheese and sleeping on a mattress, but what I miss the most is KDVS.

As a timid UC Davis freshman, the campus radio station offered me a like-minded community and a home-away-from-dorm. As a rock/pop DJ, its extensive library encouraged me to dig deeper.

My musical discoveries at KDVS led me to studying ethnomusicology, wanting to learn about music as culture all over the world. I probably wouldn’t be in Okinawa if it weren’t for KDVS, even though ending my radio show was the most difficult part of leaving.

So, I would like to ask you to support KDVS’ annual fundraiser this week. We’re trying to raise $60,000 by Sunday to cover two-thirds of the yearly operating budget that UC Davis doesn’t pay for. The station provides a 24/7 signal of awesome freeform programming, and to keep that coming we need your help.

It’s a tax-deductible donation, and we’ll also send you thank-you packages of your choice — packs of three, four, five CDs, records, gift certificates, books, T-shirts, a dance party, a date, anything. Here are some premium packages I recommend, for a $25 donation as a student/low-income or $40 general.

Women of Africa / Soweto Gospel Choir
Youssour N’Dour / Seun Kuti
Global Drum Project

Hip-hop and electronic:
NASA / Julio Child / Lyrics Born
Felix Da Housecat / Unagi

Crossing those boundaries:
Chillis / Lushlife / KDVS Hip-hop Mixtape
Chillis / Exile / Daedelus

This T-shirt that I designed last year:
Mobile DJ Unit shirt

And — this is unsanctioned and we’re not really supposed to do this, but — if you tell me you pledged at least $10 to KDVS, I’ll send you a copy of the compilation I’m going to make with all our recordings from Okinawa, with professional recordings mixed in. It will be dope.

So please pledge! We all have to pitch in to keep international and underground music and voices on the air. Thank you!

Funny Things on Menus, Pt. 3 April 21, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Food and Drink, Language.
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  • Tunasandwish
  • Beef in boiling salad
  • Stick salad
  • Ocean spaghetti fish
  • Gin & Rime
  • a loaf of bread topped with ice cream