【CD album「ANOTHER WORLD OF OKINAWAN MUSIC」Reviews】
BBC Music Magazine
Album "Another World Of Okinawan Music" was selected as one of
"the best world music recordings released in 2021 so far".
No.165, March 2021 Songlines Magazine, Asia Reviews
"ANOTHER WORLD OF OKINAWAN MUSIC"
Deep electro-acoustic vibes
On her debut, Okinawan musician Mutsumi reimagines the soundscapes of her native island as an electro-acoustic experience. Having studied with some of the masters of Okinawan traditional music, Mutsumi has sought to combine her vocals and sanshin (lute) with electronic soundscapes and audio-visuals, creating a reflection of local culture that operates both internally and externally. Brief spoken passages (described as an ‘Entrance’ and ‘Exit’), serve as bookends that set a contemplative and immersive tone, the album leisurely shifts between scenes of musical and textural ambience.
Mutsumi achieves this with various samples and field recordings of Okinawan life, blending natural sounds with those of local musicians and festivities. While the album is at its most striking when Mutsumi's voice and sanshin are at the forefront, her beautifully melismatic vocals are a particular highlight; these moments of ambiguity serve to cut to the heart of the album's core themes of place and growth. Innovative and avant-garde, Mutsumi has succeeded in creating a work that upends conventional notions of Okinawan music, while being a cerebral work of art in its own right. The physical edition also comes with a DVD containing additional soundscapes, art and archive footage.
TRACK TO TRY Chijuyaa
First album from Aragaki Mutsumi, one of the most interesting musicians to have arrived on the Okinawan music scene in recent years. While being steeped in the tradition, she's also a fearless experimenter, creating something genuinely new. A seamless blend of the old and new; sanshin, natural sounds, loops, effects. Comes with superb DVD of visuals, of Okinawan scenes, nature, vintage footage, festivities and more. A truly significant album, that sets a new benchmark.
Paul Fisher, Far Side Music, UK
It should be essential listening for anyone interested in what is going on now in Okinawan music and in the exciting new directions in which Mutsumi Aragaki is taking it. She is indeed a trailblazer who can’t be compared to anyone else. The title of this album could hardly be more apt. Full article
John Potter, The Power of Okinawa
Sakamoto Ryuichi, Otomo Yoshihide, Basic Channel, Underground Resistance, King Tubby
If you like even one of these, you must listen!
Okinawa folk song meets Flying Lotus! ??
No other artist has such an innovative fusion of orthodox folk songs, sanshin and electronic worldview!
“Another World of Okinawa Music”
CD shop HMV
The article on her CD release
Aragaki Mutsumi released her first solo album:
She recorded 12 tracks by reconstructing traditional Okinawan music while keeping its “scent”. Currently, she is based in Okinawa, and widely active all around the world with the technique of "audio-visual" that fuses music and video. As the title suggests, she imagined "a trip to another world through sound and video" (Aragaki). Innovative sound arrangements such as electronics effects and groovy feeling are applied. She says, “I don’t want to destroy the uniqueness of Okinawan traditional music, so I don’t put the typical contemporary arrangements. Without destroying its uniqueness, I hope my music would transcend languages and cultures.”
The article on her CD release live
Innovative arrangement for classical and folk music :
Ryukyu classical music and folk songs are reconstructed with innovative arrangements and images by her, and she expressed a new world. Aragaki is pursuing the new possibilities of traditional Okinawan music based on "Uta Sanshin (vocal and sanshin)”. She is also working on her works that make use of the "audio-visual" technique that fuses sound and video, and released her first solo album in September 2020. At the beginning of the live, she performed Okinawan folk songs with her deep voice. With the special guest band ”KgK", it was an ambitious stage to try to fuse sanshin and jazz with a video of the scenery of Okinawa. On the second stage, they performed the tracks from her album. In "Kajadihuu" with the motif of "Kajadihuu-bushi", the classical scent was retained. Their “Naakunii Hantabaru" was a versatile sound that combined fast-playing sanshin and jazz, taking a step forward from existing classics and folk songs, and drawing us into a mystical world.
Okinawa Times, Ameku Hitoshi
The article on her CD release
Classics and folk songs, bold arrangements:
While boldly arranging Ryukyu classical music and Okinawan folk songs, her voice with the scent of the earth and the tone of her sanshin emphasize the Okinawan character. Aragaki creates mystical Okinawan music by using loop pedals and effects that record and play her vocal and sanshin at live performances. Various sounds and voices are layered to "Kajadihuu-bushi" and "Hama Chidori-bushi (Chijuyaa)" on CD. Aragaki says, "I wanted to express the sound that I hear deep inside of me while respecting and appreciating the uniqueness of Okinawa and its music”.
Ryukyu Shimpo, Kinjo Sanenori
The article on her CD release live
Inventive sounds fascinated the audience :
Aragaki arranged Ryukyu classical music and Okinawan folk songs, fused with natural sounds and electronic sounds, and drew the audience into her unique world of Okinawan music with her profound and tasteful vocal and sanshin. In “Kajadihuu-bushi” and "Hama Chidori-bushi", she performed in a divine and atmospheric worldview. In an improvisational session with KgK, she performed "Naakunii Hantabaru” and "Nankuru Nankuru" from her CD. The tracks have been changing and growing for each live performance, musicians’ organic sounds fused with Aragaki's vocal and sanshin, and overwhelmed the space. Finally, they performed "Too Much Love For You". In contrast to the delicate sounds of KgK, Aragaki’s sophisticated vocal that springed up from the bottom of her soul wrapped the venue. Aragaki commented, “I feel that the sounds in everyday life sound like ambient music, and music is deeply embedded in my life. In this album, I carefully listened, scooped up, and recorded the sounds deep inside of me.”
Ryukyu Shimpo, Tanaka Kaori
Aragaki Mutsumi is a trailblazer in Okinawan music. With the utmost respect for the past and for the rich history of her islands’ traditional music, she is nevertheless unafraid to challenge herself with many experiments and global collaborations. Her distinctive vocal style and virtuosity on the sanshin is becoming better known and she uses both to create adventurous ways in which to move Okinawan music in new directions. On this album she singlehandedly creates another world embracing both natural sounds and effects in order to conjure up an immersive aural and visual experience.
John Potter, Music Journalist, Author of “The Power of Okinawa”
Following the musical journey of Mutsumi has been a wonderful experience. When I first heard her, she was combining jazz with Okinawan music. Since then she seems to have absorbed so many other styles of music. The strange thing is I feel like I’m listening to the voice of someone with a deep soul, transmitting an ancient tradition. At the same time, I feel like I’m listening to something totally new, innovative, like nothing I’ve heard before. Old and new. Her music always stops me in my tracks. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this album for a long time! It was well worth the wait.
Paul Fisher, Music Journalist, Far Side Music, Far Side Radio DJ
Jamaica, Bali, Madagascar, Cuba. Islands are often musical paradises, melting pots of sounds, instruments and folk traditions. Okinawa is the musical heart of Japan, as unique and different to the rest of the country as Puerto Rico is to mainland USA. In Okinawa, traditional music combines with modern sounds in clubs around the islands, the music a living, transforming entity, not consigned to museums or library compilations.
Vocalist and Sanshin player Mutsumi Aragaki epitomizes the vibrant, varied sounds of Okinawa. Having performed with artists from afar as West Africa and the Basque country as well as numerous local folk and jazz musicians, her sound is one at once both universal, and purely Okinawan. On this album, she presents her modern arrangements of classical Okinawan folk songs, singing in the Okinawan language of "Uchinaa-guchi", with both the Sanshin and electronic sounds surrounding her voice, the music simultaneously ambient and earthy. Aragaki-san is both the future and the past of Okinawan music.
James Catchpole, Music Writer / Broadcaster, Host of the OK Jazz Podcast
It’s wonderful. I am not well acquainted with roots music, but I think that her worldview transcends Okinawa (Ryukyu). Even if you listen to it in the African savanna, it will stir up the cries and passions of life. The recording is of a high quality and is surely even more impressive if experienced live. I thought this even more because of the current corona disaster.
SHICHIRI Kei, Film Director
Aragaki Mutsumi is an Okinawan folk singer and Sanshin player with the maturity and dynamism of a veteran. Her rare style uses loops and effects like a guitarist. But unlike guitarists who use backtracks for accompaniment, she daringly employs this technique to fill spaces alongside her vocal and Sanshin. She spent a few years making this album and in awe I listened to her mature experiments, now combined with video overflowing in deep waves. Those who are touched by this work will enter the blue sky and sea, as well as another dreamy and languid world of Okinawa.
HAGINO Kazumasa, Chief Editor & Publisher of Piratsuka-koyomi・Okinawa event information network
Aragaki Mutsumi’s music is one of the newest in a continuous flow of Okinawan music that stretches from pre-Ryukyu classical times to the present. Some consider it ambient music, while others describe it as avant-garde. I feel that she updates and expresses authentic Okinawan music in a more modern way. Music is remixed and released with nature, history and the social background of Okinawa. Her unique interpretations and expressions persuasively transcend all language barriers and cultural backgrounds. It will not be long before the world discovers the music of Aragaki Mutsumi.
NODA Ryuji, Music from Okinawa / Trans Asia Music Meeting Producer・Director