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Of all the varieties of folk-music in Japan, Okinawa’s is arguably the most vibrant and self-evolving. Astute listeners soon realize that each island group in the region has its own distinct microculture and musical traditions.

One measure of the success of “world music” genres is the degree to which they engender interest among overseas musicians. The branching styles, instrument combinations and sheer creativity of Okinawan music have inspired collaborations with such respected musicians as the jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer, fiddle player Nollaig Casey, guitarist Bob Brozman and, most recently, the Senegalese kora master Falaye Sakho.

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