It is a truth universally acknowledged that no matter where you go you will find a group of people playing Irish traditional music. Okinawa ? A Japanese island somewhat lost in the East China Sea. I had resigned myself to the occasional playing with myself in the apartment rather than the healthy interaction with others when a stray conversation guided me to The Smugglers in Naha city.
The strains of “The Wild Rover” greet me as I approach the door. My nostrils flare with elitism. Inside there is a 5 piece band who appear to have taken a lot of ecstasy. They are fronted by the best Irish band mouthpiece I have ever met – Maho Nakajima. The consistent problem with Irish bands is that they look very unhappy. They hunch over their instruments and concentrate on their haemmorhoids. “Thank you that was a set of jigs and now we will play a set of reels that we got from old Spike O’Luggage from Quilty.”
Maho howls and wails between tunes. She speaks perfect English and is a very fine fiddler. However it is her stagewomanship that transforms the normally doctor’s waiting room atmosphere of the Irish session into frenzied Ibizan rave. She and the other very talented fiddler even do dance routines while playing. The crowd goes wild.
I love the Okinawans. They really want to have a good time and you would have to explain the concept of condescension to them.
We play – The Rakes of Mallow – The Irish Washerwoman – The Kesh Jig and loads of polkas. Not usually cool but with rampant Okinawan colleens and Maho howling exhortations we have the best evening.
I think this is going to be fun – think I will buy a zoot suit.