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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Song of the Week! 19 November 2016

Pokemon Sun and Moon was released yesterday (except if you're European... *sigh*). Did you know for the longest time I kinda hoped that the new generation would have been based on the Okinawa islands?

Wait, why am I talking about Pokemon when I don't really play the games? Oh yeah: Okinawa-themed Fraud Rating Special!

 Shima Uta (島唄)
Allx2 (72)x4 (245)x2 (288)x4 (236/271/306)
 Taiko 4

Normal Route
Advanced Route

Before all, technically we are not actually dealing with Okinawan culture here: strictly speaking Shima-uta (島唄/シマ唄) as a genre actually refers to folk music from the Amami Islands (part of Kagoshima prefecture now), with themes of worship, work and life in general. Of course shima (島/シマ) literally means "island" in contemporary Japanese, but in Ryukyuan dialects and especially around the Amami Islands, the word doubles to mean "village" (especially one's home village). Shima-uta hence implies "(folk) songs from the home village".

Even though broadly speaking, one could argue the concept applies to the whole of Ryukyu Kingdom, where island-centric societies prevail, this smash-hit rendition by the Yamanashi prefecture-based rock band THE BOOM may be one of the reason the misconception spreads. Composer, lyricist and vocalist Kazufumi Miyazawa (宮沢和史) took inspiration from his impressions from a photo shoot trip to Okinawa. He decided to take an Okinawan incarnation of the genre (introduced to Okinawa circa. 1970s) and mix in modern pop and rock vibes for this song of the same name.

The song was first released in 1992 with their album Puberty (思春期 shishunki). Later in the same year Okinawa got a exclusive Uchinaaguchi Version (ウチナーグチ・ヴァージョン) single featuring greater portions of the traditional Okinawan tongue in the lyrics. The Original Version in full Japanese also came out as an individual single in 1993. Shima Uta has since sold over a million copies, won the Best Song award in the 35th Japan Record Awards (1993), and spawned multiple covers by many other artists.

The band has since disbanded in 2014, after 25 years of activity. By then, the only other song by them in Taiko no Tatsujin is the 1995 song Kaze ni Naritai (風になりたい) on AC13~14 publicly and limitedly on AC0 for the Kanjani Eight show.

Shima Uta may be slow, but the notechart is jam-packed with tricky patterns. Highly-mixed 7-hits like kkddkdk and kkddkdd are not a rare sight in Master Route. At the other end of the spectrum Normal Routes features many hanging off-beat notes (like dd d) that is hard to catch accurately, and Advanced Route lies in the middle. Considering less-complex modern slow additions like Umi no Koe (★6), Yakusoku (★6) and Himawari no Yakusoku (★7, with sofuran) exemplifies how underrating the ★4 rating is.

The technicality shows in the less than stellar reported results it has, many losing to the harsh first fork (allowing only 1000 lost points, equivalent to 2 Goods or 1 Miss) and documented Donderful Combo feats has not seen until late 2015 (although the rarity of AC4 cabinets might have contributed too).

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