Setup Email Reminder
When you think of the island of Okinawa, where does your mind go? For many, the reference point may be a memory of a battle during World War II, one that devastated the island and required a long journey to rebuild. But before it was annexed and systematically subsumed by Japan in 1879, Okinawa had a distinct culture, with its own language, religion, and practices. In fact, Okinawan music and arts are more closely related to the music and arts of Chinese culture.
Mako and Munjuru join us—as part of the Global Rhythms “Island Music” series—to share a livestreamed presentation of traditional Okinawan music, dance, and storytelling that helps complexify our understanding of the community and culture. The primary instrument is called sanshin, a 3-stringed lute, which features a body covered with python skin and plucked with a pick made from a water buffalo horn. Wearing Okinawan kimono, they create striking traditional folk music, singing in the endangered Okinawan language stories of love, family, and playing on the beaches of Okinawa. With their music, they create a connection to their roots, part of a rich history of tradition and preservation.
Mako and Munjuru are traditional Okinawan music performers who reside and perform in the Northwest area, primarily in Seattle. Mako was born in Okinawa and grew up in Hawaii from age 11. She discovered that singing and playing sanshin offered a connection or “portal” back to her roots. Led by Mako, the group goes to public and private functions to share the traditional music, dance, and storytelling—a rarity in the NW area. A few members of the group are also involved with a musical troupe called Ukwanshin Kabudan, based in Honolulu to help perpetuate the tradition of music and art of Okinawa throughout Hawaii.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle