Singer UA sings for the Takae helipad campaign

Singer UA sings for the Takae helipad campaign

At a farmer training facility of Higashi Village, UA sings songs that include prayers for a world without military bases.

July 19, 2011 Naoki Isa

Japanese singer-songwriter UA gave a small concert at the debriefing session held at a farmer training facility in Higashi Village on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the commencement of the sit-in protest by the “Residents Association Against the Helipad Construction.”
Familiar with the area because a friend of hers used to live in Takae, Higashi Village, UA sides with those protesting against the construction of new helipads in the Yambaru forest, the mountainous region in the northern part of Okinawa which surrounds Higashi Village. The region is known for its distinctive and highly valuable biodiversity.
The U.S. government intends to build six helipads in this natural forest area.
Despite being pregnant, UA sang songs including prayers for harmony with nature and a world without military bases.

UA adores and feels a sense of familiarity towards Okinawa since her mother is from Amami Islands, which were originally part of the Ryukyu Islands, but currently belong to Kagoshima Prefecture.
Concerned about radiation fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, UA moved from Kanagawa Prefecture to the Yambaru with her family in April.

UA started the concert by singing Teada Nu Uchiti Maguri Bushi (The last minute when the sun goes down), a folk song from the Amami Islands.
The song, reminiscent of ancient prayers, took the audience back to the era when humans, nature and gods were all intimately connected.
She sang an original song titled “Moor” which tells the story of “6500 million ants living on Spaceship Earth.” In the song, ants do not realize that the spaceship is about to fall into a water pocket.
Tonchi, a steel pan player from Tokyo who participated in the concert, supported the musical performance with some magical sounds.

UA said, “There may not be any nuclear power plants in Okinawa, but U.S. military bases cause all sorts of problems here. I will have a new baby soon. What am I going to say to my child when the Osprey aircraft fly overhead? It’s really painful for me to have to explain to my children that people distrust each other, and are training and preparing to fight wars.”

On that same night at the exchange gathering held in front of the helipad construction site, UA sang “My baby,” the cover song of singer-songwriter Nanao Tabito.

The lyrics of the song say, “Full of happiness. Give us the world’s blessing here. All gather together tonight. My baby has arrived.”

UA’s baby is due this August. Her gentle voice with its lullaby tone, the sounds of the steel pan and the singing of insects all blended in, melting into the forest.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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