“I’ve always felt that my role in life is to heal people through my music,” says Yuriko Ganeko, a 54-year-old Okinawan singer and sanshin player. Ganeko, who favors purple eye shadow, heavy perfume and hoop earrings, was recently in Tokyo to promote her newest album, “Uta Asobi (Song Play).”

The album was recorded in an afternoon while Ganeko’s kids were at school and it features the spare acoustic guitar, banjo and whistling of Chuei Yoshikawa, one of Japan’s most subtle acoustic players.

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