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Kanako Horiuchi

Hokkaido-born Kanako Horiuchi has been resident in Okinawa for twenty years and in that time has become a regular live wire on the music scene. She became a pupil of the highly-regarded veteran singer Misako Oshiro and learned traditional singing and sanshin but her openness to all kinds of musical styles and genres has also led her to travel widely overseas and she has performed and recorded in many different ways.

There have been excursions into Jamaican ska, Senegalese music, a duet album with mentor Misako Oshiro, and late 2018 an album of electronica with Churashima Navigator. She seems to have a finger on the pulse of everything in Okinawa .

Featured releases

Okinawa-based artist Kanako Horiuchi centres her practice around her voice and the sanshin - an Okinawan musical instrument and precursor of the mainland Japanese shamisen – but opens the aesthetic possibilities of the instrument wide open, including excursions into electronic music, Senagelese music, minimalism and more. On 'Hope' she explores both the opaque nature of our current times and the glimmer of hope we can find in different places. ‘Darkness’ dives into the present with industrial synth washes and electronic drum cycles, before setting new co-ordinates on with the help of a drifting Okinawan Taiko on ‘Break Away’. On ‘Hope’ she shares vocal refrains with her 2 year old daughter, telling the tale of a buddha's arrival, world peace, mothers and the sea appearing. On final track ‘thanks’, recorded in Senegal before lock-down, she returns her instrument to folkloric traditions of the country, embracing the hope that can be gained through travel, exploration and generational love between mothers and children. “I never thought the covid-19 pandemic would affect my personal life, but it did. Somehow I wanted to formalise my thoughts and feelings I have had over this period into music. Okinawa, the county of Japan once used to be an independent country /kingdom, totally independent from Japan and any other country, has gone through and still has been going through the many layers of dark long history. I believe there are many places like Okinawa in the rest of the world. I wanted to make the music of Hope.” - Kanako Horiuchi Mastered and artwork by Oliver Barrett

Kanako Horiuchi – Hope