Harikuyamaku: Okinawa dub version

Entrevue réalisée par Rupert Bottenberg

With not one but two very different releases this week, it’s a good time to check in with Harikuyamaku, a musician and producer rooted in the sun-soaked soil of Okinawa – the culturally distinct, southernmost punctuation point of the Japanese archipelago. Harikuyamaku’s music is a mash-up of Okinawan folk and dub reggae, with excursions into the wider field of electronic dance music and experimentation. PAN M 360 flagged him down to talk about that, ceramic speakers, butoh dance, and more.

Genres et styles : Dub Reggae / Minyo

renseignements supplémentaires

Above: Yukino Inamine and Harikuyamaku

PAN M 360: Your main intention as a musician is combining Okinawa minyo (folk songs) with dub reggae. This is a nice mix – the two music styles fit well together, even though their energies work at different levels. By the way, I think Okinawan minyo might be the happiest music in the world.

Harikuyamaku: Okinawa minyo is very unique music, different from other Japanese styles. It’s part of everyday life in Okinawa. In fact, until the reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1972, it had been the popular music of the Okinawan people. I’ve heard that so many new minyo songs were being recorded and released on seven-inches every day, like in the ’70s Jamaican reggae scene.

Okinawa minyo is on the offbeat. That’s also like reggae music. But it doesn’t have bass. When I rediscovered my country’s music after traveling abroad, I was also becoming affected by ’70s dub music from Jamaica. I was a bass player, I like low-end sound. Then I thought to match Okinawa minyo with dub. I added bass, drums and other things, collected analogue mixers, a Roland RE-201 Space Echo and ’70s effectors like digital delays and phasers. Then, I dubbed.

The melodies of Okinawa minyo are very beautiful. As for the lyrics, there are many varieties. Classical songs to be played in the royal court have beautiful words, but many minyo have sad, suffering lyrics. There are many songs about the war in Okinawa. In addition, there are songs about changes in society and life. And also, there are many with dirty lyrics. I like that.

PAN M 360: On your first album, Shima Dub (2013), you mostly used samples from old records. More recently, you’ve started working with musicians in the studio. In fact, you have a new single with the sanshin player Yukino Inamine. Tell me more about her, and about “Ohshima Yangoo Bushi”.

Harikuyamaku: Yukino Inamine is a new-generation singer of Okinawa minyo. I think minyo singers are mostly so typical that they just sing in a faithful manner. Yukino is free and alternative. She plays live sometimes with bass, drums, and other things, and also makes new minyo songs, with words for our time. I had hoped to record with real singer for a long time. I just discovered her this year, and we’ve played live together three times. “Ohshima Yangoo Bushi” is our first recording. It’s a very old Okinawan song about Amami Island, and love. We consulted an old SP record.

PAN M 360: Your new album, Subtropica, is very different from your other work. The track “Subtropica” is almost an hour long, and it’s a soundscape, a sonic environment. It was originally a group of separate sound channels, for an installation of ceramic speakers by the Okinawa potter Paul Lorimer. I didn’t know that one can make speakers out of clay!

Harikuyamaku: Recently, I’ve become very interested in synthesizers, for making some sound effects or noises in dub. Potter Paul Lorimer’s precious presence in Okinawa, working with his original climbing kiln, gave me nice chance to express my synthesizer works. He made many different speakers, with ceramic bodies and Audio Nirvana and Fostex speaker units. Each has its own unique sound. For his exhibition, there were eight of his speakers in the space. I selected and located them, and chose what kind of sound would be suitable for each. It was super-surround!

PAN M 360: Part of Subtropica is also used for the video of Aki Bandō’s butoh performance piece, “Ninth Sense Invocation pō 2”. This is yet another context for your work, avant-garde theatre and dance.

Harikuyamaku: Butoh dancer Aki Bandō is my friend. She was looking for a soundtrack for her performance, and asked me. I like extreme expressions, so I gave her some tracks, and she liked my “Subtropica 2mix” demo. I hear she’ll present the video at some film festivals. I hope it gets some good attention.

Above: Harikuyamaku live in Tokyo with Heavy Manners Ryukyu

PAN M 360: There is also a live track at the end of the album, from the show bar Love Ball in Naha City, Okinawa. It’s from a 2017 set… can you tell me more about it?

Harikuyamaku: I did improvisation live using a Korg MS2000 and ER-1, a Moog Mother32, minyo samples and effectors at Love Ball. Sometimes I do improv live, I’ve done up to seven hours before. Improv with machines is my musical challenge. Love Ball was very important club in Naha, Okinawa, that was managed by Akazuchi, the local hip hop crew. But now it’s closed. I caught a lot of good music there.

PAN M 360: So what’s next? What are you working on now?

Harikuyamaku: Right now, I’m making another song with Yukino. Recording is done. It will be released on the Chill Mountain label, managed by my friend DJ Ground. To match the label’s colour, I’m making a slow house track for the dancefloor. I’m inspired by some slow house scenes, using traditional sounds from South America. I hope to join them, using traditional Okinawan music.

I’m in some bands – Angama is a dub techno session unit with KOR-ONE, we just released our first cassette-tape album view in April. Churashima Navigator is a four-person electronic Okinawan band produced by Sinkichi – he’s also great DJ – and we’ve just released an album, and a remix album. Isatooment is techno/house production unit with Sinkichi, we released a three-track EP on Chill Mountain last year. We also use Okinawan samples. And Gintendan is five-person experimental dub band that has released two albums. I have my own DIY studio, I always work with them.

Tout le contenu 360

FIMAV 2024 | Sélébéyone, or cultural intersections according to Steve Lehman

FIMAV 2024 | Sélébéyone, or cultural intersections according to Steve Lehman

Kaia Kater Talks About Her New Album Strange Medicine

Kaia Kater Talks About Her New Album Strange Medicine

FIMAV | Natural Information Society informs you of its great sounds !

FIMAV | Natural Information Society informs you of its great sounds !

CMIM – Piano 2024: The finalists’ penultimate stretch (Part 2)

CMIM – Piano 2024: The finalists’ penultimate stretch (Part 2)

CMIM – Piano 2024: The penultimate round of finalists (Part 1)

CMIM – Piano 2024: The penultimate round of finalists (Part 1)

Musical Chairs, a chamber music festival at the Schulich School of Music

Musical Chairs, a chamber music festival at the Schulich School of Music

Swing the Mass at Cinquième salle : Will Todd’s Mass in Blue for a rare occasion in Quebec

Swing the Mass at Cinquième salle : Will Todd’s Mass in Blue for a rare occasion in Quebec

Meet Uuriintuya Khalivan: the woman who brings Mongolia to Canada

Meet Uuriintuya Khalivan: the woman who brings Mongolia to Canada

Women’s Silk Roads at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde Festival 2024

Women’s Silk Roads at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde Festival 2024

Tribute to John Williams: the darling of musicians and audiences alike

Tribute to John Williams: the darling of musicians and audiences alike

Corridor: From Analog Legacy to Electronic Exploration

Corridor: From Analog Legacy to Electronic Exploration

FIMAV 2024 | Scott Thomson, new artistic director, explains and reveals his favorites

FIMAV 2024 | Scott Thomson, new artistic director, explains and reveals his favorites

Nastasia Y, her ukrainian culture infused with Canada

Nastasia Y, her ukrainian culture infused with Canada

CMIM: Shira Gilbert and Zarin Mehta talk about Piano 2024 edition

CMIM: Shira Gilbert and Zarin Mehta talk about Piano 2024 edition

Before the CMIM kicks off, Chantal Poulin talks to us about the Piano 2024 edition.

Before the CMIM kicks off, Chantal Poulin talks to us about the Piano 2024 edition.

Wake Island at the Phi Center: multidimensional!

Wake Island at the Phi Center: multidimensional!

Alex Henry Foster Talks About Overcoming Death and his new album, Kimiyo

Alex Henry Foster Talks About Overcoming Death and his new album, Kimiyo

Information: Montreal Oct. 1970 by Tim Brady: a first opera about the October ’70 Crisis

Information: Montreal Oct. 1970 by Tim Brady: a first opera about the October ’70 Crisis

P’tit Belliveau Talks About His New Album, Frogs, and Income Tax

P’tit Belliveau Talks About His New Album, Frogs, and Income Tax

At Annie-Claude Deschênes’ table: between utensils & sound experimentation

At Annie-Claude Deschênes’ table: between utensils & sound experimentation

OSL | Naomi Woo | Musique du Nouveau Monde

OSL | Naomi Woo | Musique du Nouveau Monde

Anderson & Roe, piano duo great innovators

Anderson & Roe, piano duo great innovators

Hawa B or not Hawa B ? “sadder but better” EP answers the question !

Hawa B or not Hawa B ? “sadder but better” EP answers the question !

Shades of Bowie, composed for the man behind Blackstar

Shades of Bowie, composed for the man behind Blackstar

Inscrivez-vous à l'infolettre