Ainu Music from Northern Japan

December 1, 2010

Musical globetrotter Michael Ward-Bergeman sent me this bizarre music of the Ainu peoples of northern Japan/southeastern Russia.
This is spooky stuff. Not for the faint of heart or those seeking a quick fix of catchy pop. The haunting tonkori, a plucked, zither-like instrument, when married with the-voice-inside-your-head feel of the half-spoken, half-sung, call-and-response vocalizing by the women, the Tuvan/Mongolian style throat singing from the men, and the ancient pounding drums, conjures up timeless spiritual rites (such as the bear sacrifice pictured above) performed fireside under the moonlight in some remote, cold, northern space. Brrrrh! Shivers down my spine.
This is pretty much unlike anything I’ve heard before, though I’d venture to say that if you like Tuvan/Mongolian music à la Huun Huur Tu, you might dig this stuff.

I found it on amazon.co.jp, not sure if you can find it elsewhere…


イウタ ウポポ – 安東ウメ子


サランペ – 安東ウメ子


チョーラックン – 安東ウメ子

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2 Responses to “Ainu Music from Northern Japan”

  1. David Bruce Says:

    Great stuff. Amazing how much the first track sounds like something of a Groanbox record!

  2. cocoringo Says:

    haha, michael and i were saying that if we could make a record that sounded even more like this we’d die content 🙂


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