album reviews

Peace For Okinawa Benefit Ep by Rob Kajiwara

The multi-talented artist, singer, and songwriter Rob Kajiwara is not only a profound musician but also an outstanding environmental and human rights activist. The Okinawan-Hawaiian artist is a director of the Peace For Okinawa Coalition. Kajiwara has received numerous accolades and honors for his work, including coverage in trusted news resources like Associated Press, BBC World, the Washington Post, People’s Daily, Japan Times, to name a few. Kajiwara’s latest endeavor encompasses his work both as an artist and activist and is so eloquently captured in the release of a new benefit EP entitled Peace For Okinawa.

Rob Kajiwara grooms a handsome collection of four songs that pay homage to Okinawa’s rich culture and serve as a melodic outcry against the injustices suffered by the people living in this region of Japan. Recorded by Kajiwara, Peace For Okinawa has a charming Beatles’ influenced pop sound that maintains a sense of integrity to its own originality in theme and message. Kajiwara’s organic approach to songwriting makes Peace For Okinawa an eclectic journey.

Peace For Okinawa Track-by-Track Review

Peace For Okinawa: This upbeat tune has an endearing energy that is contagious. It is refreshing to hear music with a positive message. The track begins with an attractive beat and a crafty piano measure. The vocals are equally good and incorporate a Beatles’ style call and response vocal performance, which is symbolic of the blatant disregard that both the U.S. and Japan governments have shown towards the people of Okinawa. Interestingly, we find the last chorus pays homage to the late Takeshi Onaga, Governor of Okinawa, who gave his life to try to protect the rights of Okinawa, and tragically died of cancer last year.

Take Me Home Country Road (Okinawa): Kajiwara sends home a deep message in this cover of the John Denver classic. The track features a traditional Okinawan instrument called the sanshin. Kajiwara offers an epic display of his singing ability and gives new meaning to the track’s title.

Nubui Kuduchi: Kajiwara keeps the theme of Okinawan tranquility alive with this rendition of one of its favorite cultural songs. The track’s crisp presentation with the addition of a modern timpani makes this tune all the more enchanting.

Give Peace A Chance: Kajiwara sums up this epic collection of music with this remake of the John Lennon classic. Kajiwara creates and restructures the verses of the original song in order to complement the situation in Okinawa. Kajiwara’s version of Give Peace A Chance proves to be the perfect ending to this inspiring project.

The Peace For Okinawa Benefit EP by Rob Kajiwara is more than just a message in a bottle. Kajiwara puts together an atmosphere through melody that reminds of the human struggle for justice and freedom that much of the present-day generation must embrace. This catalyst of hope against oppression in Okinawa is a lesson for all mankind and for that we give a standing ovation. For more information about the EP and the work of Rob Kajiwara, please visit his website at www.RobKajiwara.com.

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