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Local artists release hot new Cds for summer

Date Posted: 1999-07-24

This summer is a sizzler for music here on Okinawa. Some of the island's most popular artists have just released some fantastic new CDs, confirming Japanís southernmost prefecture as one the nationís best and most innovative providers of musical talent.

Kicking off this latest wave of music is a band long associated with warm weather and tropical breezes. The Latin sounds of Diamantes are back again in their newly released single "Go! Go Ahead." Hitting music shelves on July 16, this latest release from Diamantes has a very upbeat tempo that will get you up and moving on the dance floor during those hot Okinawan nights.

The very powerful vocals of lead singer Alberto Shiroma are pronounced throughout the song, backed by a "carnival" beat sure to make this tune a hit with both old and new Diamantes fans. The group has done a superb job at maintaining their hallmark Latin sound, while forging ahead with enticing Japanese lyrics, and also using the very festive Okinawan language in between some solid brass horn playing. "Tarbo" cranks out some great guitar solos to "Go! Go Ahead," adding a nice rock sound that keeps the song sounding strong throughout its entirety.

You can be sure that Diamantes will be filling Okinawa's blue sky this year with "Go! Go Ahead" as they ready themselves for a concert at Osaka's Banana Hall on July 23. You can catch the fabulous Latin-Okinawan pop stars here in Okinawa at the Sun Marina Resort Hotel on Sunday, August 1 for a free concert that is sure to have all of Okinawa's summer-time crowd revving to Go! Go Ahead!

The awesome creations of Rinken Band - another of Okinawa's premiere music groups known for their own original sound, join in on the summer festivities with the release of their 11th full album CD. Titled "Nifee," the CD holds 14 new songs offering very creative musical arrangements, including lyrics written by local artist Bokunen Naka.

"Kuinimuchira," the number one track on the CD, bangs out the kind of music that has made Rinken Band so popular over the past 10 years. The song is a great blend of Okinawan and pop music, utilizing the sounds of both western and Okinawan instruments, which carries the Okinawan lyrics very well. "Kuinimuchira" sets the tempo for most of the faster tunes, punctuated by the Okinawan "sanshin." "Teimujumuju" and "Kansha Sabira" will get all Rinken fans dancing and singing along with some spirited rhythms. "Kansha Sabira" is already receiving attention from its use in a commercial for Orion beer.

No Rinken Band CD is complete without the beautiful voice of Tomoko Uehara, and "Nifee" is no exception. "Yunna," "Sakuragai," "Kira Kira, and "Urakaji" are four amazing songs that hold a distinct Okinawan-Rinken character. The Rinken and Uehara combination is at its best on many of the ballads, and Rinken fans will definitely enjoy this new CD.

You can pick up the new CD at any music outlet on island. If you enjoy listening to the music of Rinken Band, they are scheduled to play on August 1 at the Tomigusuku Matsuri and at the Koza Beer Fest on August 9.

Maria Howell fans can also rejoice over the release of her first CD, "Peace of Mind," on July 30. This mini album CD shows the many musical talents of Howell with six original songs, all written by Howell. Listeners will find that this new CD creates a very soulful R&B sound that accentuates Howell's awesome voice. "Give Me the Chance," the first song on the album, adds a bit of rap to match its dance appeal, while the title track, "Peace of Mind," is a beautiful love song with a very infectious melody.

"Read my Mind" and "Let Me Love You" also bring out the best in Howell; her rich voice will take you away in thought as she pours out feeling on every note. There is no doubt that Howell's first CD is a sign for bigger things to come for this talented singer/songwriter.

Howell is also very well known for her very powerful performances on stage, and fans can celebrate with her during a special live performance at Club D Set in Naha to commemorate her first CD on Thursday, July 29. You can also catch her on the first and third Friday of every month at Club D Set during her regular shows. Howell's CD will be available at all on-island music stores.

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