An Chang Project

An Chang ProjectOnly a few miles away from the chinese coast, close to Taiwan, a few miles north of the tropic of the cancer lies the little island of Yonaguni, belonging to the archipelago of Okinawa and to Japan. By the age of twenty a japanese girl from Kyoto, Jun Yasuba, visited in 1979 the island in search of the roots of Okinawa. She loved the music of the bands Shokichi Kina and Champloose, that played in the seventies a new crossover of western rock and okinawan songs, and she wanted to explore where this music came from.

Okinawa is different then the rest of Japan. Located far away (500 kilometers) from the main island of Honshu the food, culture, music and history of Okinawa reflect the central position between China, Japan and Southeast-Asia. The climate is tropical and Okinawa is one of the few regions, where music is part of the everyday life. Jun learnt the songs of the people from Yonaguni, wrote down their lyrics and returned to Kyoto full of enthusiasm to keep this music alife.

There she started to learn to play the sanshin, the streestringed, snakeskinned lute, which is the central instrument of okinawan music. She met Yoshie Uno and formed together with others the band "Shisars" in 1987. Their only record from 1996 was produced by Wataru Ohkuma, founder of the band Cicala Mvta (CD Nektar 68.801). A year later Jun Yasuba and Yoshie Uno started together with the former "Shisars"-guitarist Natsuki Hattori the An Chang Project. They recorded the CDs "Yarayoh-Uta no Sahanji" in 1997 and "Harararude" in 1999. The album "Monkey Harmonizing Songs" is combining songs from both CDs.