Going Okinawan @ Snafkin
My last visit to Snafkin I was told that my co-worker from Aoki Yachts was going to be playing there on 10/10. I made a mental note to attend. I spoke with her a couple of times at the office and told her I was going.
I arrived at the club just after the show started and greeted everyone. It felt kind of like the show “cheers” going to a place were everybody knows your name. There were only my co-worker and another woman playing. I ended up handling the sound board because they kept getting too much feedback. Things were too loud for that small space and had been set with too much reverb. The other woman with my co-worker played piano, guitar, and Okinawan Shamisen. It is not called shamisen, but I can never recall the name. Something like Shami. No matter. They played a few songs then took a break.
Another co-worker showed up we all chatted a bit, before the next set of songs. I liked the tunes, simple but catchy with The “Shami”. The differences between an Okinawan Shami and a Japanese Shamisen are Japanese version is longer and made from Cat skin, and played with a type of paddle that looks like a rice spoon. The Okinawan version is made from Snake and is more decorative and played with a small horn/ pick sort of thing. The Japanese version also gets some percussive sounds from the paddle as well. Maybe I will get some lessons later down the road. Right now Shakuhachi is the challenge.
So the last song can up, I had been asked if I could play bass on that, I looked over over the sheet music and agreed. The type was too small for me to read from the spot I was in next to the other player, so i just followed her chord changes she was doing whilst playing. I already know what the basic cord were so it was pretty simple to follow. They were quite pleased with the results and asked me to do another. I agreed, it was fun and the results were nice. We joked about how we sounded like a Okinawan Blues Band.
They were done for the evening. The owner cleared the stage area and sat up his guitar and music stand. He said the stage is now open for anyone, and gave me a look, which i kind of ignored. My sempai motioned for me to play piano, i declined. The owner started to play a song, a Japanese song, which one of my Kyudo sempai knew, he sang along. I played on the box-drum type thing, “Cajon” to give them a beat. Afterward the owner said something and I responded I did have my harps with me. He and I did a couple of songs together.
Afterward he motioned for me to take his chair and guitar and stood up. Hmm. I changed seats and picked up his guitar. I felt it out a bit and figured I would do one song. Something I had not done before but it would be interesting to give it a go. As no one knew what I was playing whatever I did was ok, that gave me a large amount of freedom, to just play as felt and relax. I started off easy just getting my groove. Slowly my old solo Cafe background kicked in and I just went with it. It went well and folks liked it. The one other “Gaijin” in the room came over afterwards and introduced himself. He was from England. He lives locally with his wife, Japanese, who plays Cello. We chatted a bit. He seems like a nice enough chap. He told me of a few local places I maybe interested in.
By now it was getting on in the evening and I did not want to make a mad dash for the train. Therefore I started gathering my stuff. Seemed like others took their cue from me and also started making ready to leave. One of my sempai offered me a ride to the station near my home. It was a good thing as it started raining once we went outside…hard at times.
It was a good evening. I will return there again end of the month to hear the woman sax player I was impressed with a while back, the famous one. She will have a keyboard and bass player with her. So I will just bring my harps, and a couple of music charts.