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'Begin' to again lead Song Day Carnival

Date Posted: 2010-06-24

Nothing beats music to make people happy, and that’s enough to motivate Begin and other top Okinawan entertainers to volunteer their talents for the annual Song Day Festival at Nishihara Marine Park.

The Uta-no-hi Concert, Song Day Concert 2010, takes place Saturday at the Marine Park multipurpose space, with Begin the headline act. Joining Begin on stage will be Minami Kossetsu, Perfume, Nayuta, 2side1Brain, an Okinawa orchestra and Kyan, Hitomi, Izumi and Yayoi.

Created some years ago by the popular Begin, a three-man pop group from Ishigaki Island, the Song Day Carnival has grown in stature. Every one of the artists and groups says “we love music and believe it is the support of life.” The concert begins at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The groups put their feelings to music beginning at 2 p.m. Begin leader, Masaru Shimabukuro, says he’s excited to perform at the Uta-no-hi Concert. Together with Eisho Higa and Hitoshi Uechi, the three native Okinawans –who have been friends since elementary school, and all attended the same high school—are among the island’s most sought-after musical acts. Ironically, Begin started after the trio had gone separate ways after school, but Higa called his buddies together to play Okinawan folk music, including tunes on the sanshin, Okinawa’s three-string banjo. The collaborations led to their singing at a friend’s wedding in 1988, the first performance calling themselves Begin. In Begin’s two decades, the group has recorded more than two dozen albums and nearly a dozen DVD’s.

The concert venue is divided into A, B and C blocks, with tickets for adults and youngsters 12 and older costing Ą1,000. Children under six are free, but only when accompanied by parents. Tickets are on sale at Family Marts, as well as E-plus at http:/./eplus.jp/ticket pia: cord 1200-977. Once at Marine Park, tickets will be exchanged for wrist bands to permit re-entry.

Organizers ask carnival-goers to keep the park clean, taking garbage away when leaving. Personal coolers and outside alcoholic drinks are not allowed to the event. Smoking is prohibited at the venue. The bands and organizers say they’ll play if there’s light rain, but in case of inclement weather, the event will be canceled. In case of light rain the use of raincoats is allowed, but not umbrellas. Organizers stress that patrons are responsible for their valuables and personal items. Caution against theft is advised. No photography of the stage or recording of performances allowed, and that includes the use of cell phones. Those in violation will be asked to leave.

Gates open at 2 p.m. and the music starts at 4 p.m. Organizers recommend people wear hats or caps, and bring water since the weather forecast is for temperatures reaching 31C and a 20% chance of rain.. With parking in high demand, car pooling is also recommended. To reach the Song Day Carnival at Nishihara Marine Park from Kadena Air Base and points south take the Expressway to Nishihara Interchange, then after exit drive towards Yonabaru, where you turn left onto Route 329. There large signs point to Nishihara Marine Park on the right.

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