Island Dreams-Songs & Lullabies Carried on the Win
Recipient of a 2004 NAPPA GOLD Award, iParenting Media Award, and Parents' Choice Approved Award! Through a series of far-fetched coincidences (you can read about them in the liner notes!) these three unique Pacific Northwest artists have met and released their first recording together, Island Dreams. True to Koto World style, it is uniquely inspired acoustic music, this time with hues of island sound brought to life by sanshin, guitar, koto, and ukulele. It combines musical traditions from Okinawa, Japan, Hawai'i and beyond with the individual approaches and creative arrangements of these talented multicultural musicians. Sung in English, Okinawan, and Japanese (and a little Hawaiian and Tahitian!) the music is as uplifting and nurturing as an ocean breeze. Works range from poignant Okinawan songs such as Tinsagu nu Hana (Balsam Flowers) and Warabi Gami (Blessings from Heaven) to Japanese traditional melodies such as Kojo no Tsuki (Moonlit Castle Reflections) and Tanabata no Uta (Song of the Star Festival) as well as Hawaiian, Tahitian, and original songs inspired by the islands. This recording introduces the incredible voice and instrumental talent of Mako, who was born in Okinawa and moved to Hawai'i at the age of eleven, and currently resides in Seattle. She performs the sanshin, a 3-stringed lute covered with python skin that is native to Okinawa, and sings in English, Okinawan, and Hawaiian, flowing easily from one style to the next. She is joined by the warm vocals and guitars of the individualist Aiko Shimada, a native Japanese who has made a career in the states as a folk/jazz singer and songwriter, both in English and Japanese. With them is Elizabeth Falconer on koto, a classical Japanese instrument she studied in Japan for over a decade, an instrument she has composed and arranged for, told stories with, and collaborated with various artists on, for nearly twenty-five years. Together, their sounds combine in refreshing, distinctive arrangements of songs that - no matter what language you speak - tug at your heartstrings. In the short time since Elizabeth founded the Koto World label in 2000, Koto World recordings have received eight national awards, including Parents' Choice and NAPPA GOLD awards for her previous collaboration with Aiko Shimada, 'Oyasumi- Goodnight.' This release is the 9th on the Koto World label. Performed by Dragonfly: Aiko Shimada, vocals and guitars; Elizabeth Falconer, koto; and introducing Mako, Okinawan sanshin, vocals, and ukulele.