Rock band HY and RYUKYUKOKU MATSURI DAIKO take part in the Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival
August 19, 2011 Ryota Shimabukuro of Ryukyu Shimpo
Japanese rock band HY, whose members are all from Okinawa, and RYUKYUKOKU MATSURI DAIKO (Ryukyu Kingdom Festival Drums), an international dance and drum performance troupe, will perform together at the 56th Okinawa Zento Eisa Festival in Okinawa City on August 21.
Both groups will perform HY’s Tokiwokoe (Beyond Time), a song written based on stories told by their grandparents who survived horrific experiences in the Battle of Okinawa and went on to boldly live their lives in Okinawa after the war.
HY’s vocalist Izumi Nakasone, who wrote and composed the song, said, “I hope that the live performance stimulates the audience not only to feel the preciousness of peace and life but also to look for a beacon of hope in their own lives.”
Two hundred and sixty members of the RYUKYUKOKU MATSURI DAIKO will participate in the festival and beat their drums to the tune of the song.
Takeo Medoruma, who directs the dance and drum performance, is excited about the festival, saying, “We will give our all to convey the message that even though people may lose everything, they must go on to overcome hardships and move forward.”
Head of the Miyagi chapter, 33 year-old Takayo Amatake said, “The great hardship that we endured because of the Great East Japan Earthquake has not dented our passion for the drums. We know that everyone is concerned about us – that’s why we need to practice really hard and prepare for the performance with exactly the same passion as before the disaster.”
Although HY and RYUKYUKOKU MATSURI DAIKO have collaborated before in music events such as the Peaceful Love Rock Festival and on HY’s national tour, it is the first time for them to perform together in an Okinawan music event involving a range of generations, from children to the elderly.
The members of HY are from Higashi Yakena, Uruma City, where Eisa is very popular.
HY’s drummer, Shun Naka said, “We are familiar with the sound of drums and sanshin in Eisa. I really think that the shouts and songs in Eisa resemble the pulse of the life.”
The band’s vocalist, Hideyuki Shinzato, said, “I am glad to participate in this traditional music event that has been going for such a long time in Okinawa. Traditional Eisa, creative Eisa and rock band music are mixed together in this festival. I would like the performers and the audience to be united in their feelings of peace and life and become a source of power to those people in the afflicted areas.”
(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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