NAHA – Seventy-five-year-old Misako Oshiro is widely regarded as Okinawa’s greatest living singer of minyō (traditional folk song). In the 1970s her recordings with the late great Rinsho Kadekaru produced some of the finest moments of Okinawan music, and she continues to sing and record — and runs her own minyō bar, Shima Umui, in the island’s capital, Naha. Her latest project is the release of a duet album, “Uta Nu In,” with Kanako Horiuchi who is more than 40 years her junior.
Horiuchi’s background is very different from Oshiro’s. She’s from Hokkaido in the far north of Japan but for the past decade has been living in Okinawa and learning minyō from Oshiro while working as a singer and musician at Shima Umui — and that was where I recently met up with both women.