Kizuki Minami

I thought Kizuki Minami was going to explode. Dachambo was well into the 2nd set of their first 2010 show, Rovo’s electric violinist Katsui Yuji had joined them for a searing improv jam, and the sound in Ebisu’s Liquid Room was enormous—what you’d expect from some of Japan’s best. Standing off the side of the stage, too blown away to even remember to shoot my camera, I noticed Minami jumping up and down with excitement, about to go on. She looked so… fragile. And with that shamisen, how could she possibly hang? Well, she did, asserting her otherwise petite presence on that veteran stage with gorgeous island melodies from her home of Amami-Oshima.

Most casual listeners of Japanese pop are familiar with island music. There has been a revival in Okinawan and Kagoshima island music in the last decade or so with artists like Chitose Hajime becoming a huge mainstream hit. The use of unusual tremolo and sudden falsetto notes are typical of Amami folk singing, and Minami looks poised to follow in the success of her senpai with the same techniques.

Although she trained as a pianist at an early age, through her brother’s influence she began singing Amami folk. In 2006, while still a teenager, she was doing a street performance in Kagoshima and was scouted by Pony Canon Music. Since then her talents and fame have grown. She has had multiple TV appearances—including a 55-minute documentary on Kagoshima TV—and sang last year in several music festivals, including Fukuoka’s Sunset Live. She released her first album in August. When I asked her about playing with Dachambo, she said, “I’ve had several opportunities to perform with them and feel like we have a sort of connection. I was thrilled when they invited me to their first 2010 show. Since I dream of reshaping the world through Amami folk and the various music I encounter, I couldn’t have asked for more. At their live shows, Dachambo’s sound is powerful and their performance like no other—you feel it with your whole body. The crowd goes wild and it’s so much fun to sing then. I definitely hope to make great music with them again!” Other artists she’d like to collaborate with include the Chieftains, Enya, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and m-flo. So young, so talented and hardly as fragile as she looks, Minami has taken her sound beyond her home island, and may just carry it beyond Japan as well.



小さい頃はピアノを習っていたというが、兄の影響で奄美民謡を歌い始めた。まだ10代だった2006年、鹿児島で島唄をストリートパフォーマンス中にポニーキャニオンミュージックスタッフによりスカウトされる。以来、実力も人気も少しずつ上がってきて、KTS(鹿児島テレビ)で55分のドキュメンタリー特番が組まれたり、昨年の皆既日食の最中にリアルタイムで同画面内で歌うという画期的なミュージックビデオを撮影したり、サンセットライブ2009などに出演し大きな話題を集める。昨年8月には1stアルバムを発表。ダチャンボのステージに飛び込む直前の彼女に心境を尋ねると「DACHAMBOさんとは、ライブでご一緒させていただく機会が多く、何かとご縁があったので、今回は新年会のライブゲストでお招きいただいてとても嬉しかったです!私は、奄美の唄と色々な音楽の出会いで新しい世界を生み出したいと思っているので、今回のお話は願ってもない機会でした。ライブではDACHAMBOさんのパワフルで最高にかっこいい演奏を体全体で感じ、お客さんのノリも凄く、とても楽しみながら歌わせていただきました。これからもぜひまた一緒に、素敵な音楽を作れたらなと思います」と答えてくれた。他に共演したいアーティストは「チーフタンズ、エンヤ、東京スカパラダイスオーケストラ、m-flo」だという。若く才能に溢れ、見た目はか細いが中身はとてもしっかりしている。 故郷・奄美を飛び出して全国レベルで活動を始めた彼女、いつかは日本を飛び出して活躍してくれる日が来るかもしれない。

Share and Enjoy:     These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • Propeller
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis

1 comment to Kizuki Minami