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Okinawa 70's country icon to perform on dinner cruise

Date Posted: 2010-01-21

Charlie Nagatani, one of Okinawa’s most popular country-western rock singers of the 1970’s is returning to Okinawa this month, bringing a suitcase full of musical nostalgia.

He’ll be performing one-night-only dinner cruise aboard the Moby Dick of West Marine tour cruises. Nagatani, who spent many years on Okinawa doing concerts, as well as free shows for base festivals and the USO, will perform with his Cannonball Band Saturday, January 30th. Tickets for SOFA-status personnel are $100 including dinner, and may be purchased at Naha Port the evening of the concert. Boarding time for the reception, dinner and show is 6:30 p.m. The cruise ship returns to Naha Port at 10:15 p.m. Additional information is available at 090-5499-4262.

Charlie Nagatani, who turns 70 next month, performed for nearly two decades on Okinawa, even making a trip to the White House with the governor of Okinawa to perform for President Bill Clinton. He’s always been comfortable, though, with American troops. At age 20 he joined the band ‘Speedy Kiddo & Hillbilly Jamboree’, then five years later formed his own band, Charlie and the Cannonballs. His forte was touring U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Guam, starting during the Vietnam war era.

A performer for five decades, he says he’s first and foremost, a country singer. “When I first listened to country and western music on my 20th birthday, I made up my mind to be a country music singer,” he says. “I quit college, put together Charlie and the Cannonballs in 1956, and for 50 years now I am living with this great music from morning til night. I can’t live without it.”

He’s been named an Honorary Citizen from Tennessee, as well as in 32 other stages, was presented the distinguished Jim Reeves Memorial Award in 2005, and performed on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry 15 times since 1985. A resident of Kumamoto City in Kumamoto Prefecture, Charlie travels the country but spends a lot of time with his annual Country Gold outdoor festival he started in 1989.

He’ll be 70 on February 20th, but retirement isn’t among his immediate plans. He’s written a book, ‘My Name is Good Time Charlie,’ which was released last November. Despite the majority of his career performances being for the international and GI communities, he wrote the book only in Japanese. What’s next? “My band and I will go everywhere we have the chance,” he says.

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