Obokuri Eeumi

Obokuri Eeumi is a Japanese folk song by Ikue Asazaki, made famous when it was featured in an episode of anime series Samurai Champloo in 2005.  Blogger Frederick Cloyd writes a bit about Asazaki, the lyrics, and the song’s dialect:

Asazaki-san sings this in her traditional Kagoshima/Okinawan/Japanese style, accompanied by piano. Some say that Ikue Asazaki is Okinawan and from Okinawa. Some say she’s from Kyushu, the southernmost large island of Japan, where Kagoshima, her birthplace is. This is a testament to the complexity of history and who claims what. Some say she sings in Okinawan. Some say she sings in the Kyushu dialect. Both and none may be true. Most mainstream Japanese do not understand what she is singing. Dialect? Another language? Okinawan? Japanese? Kyushu language or dialect? In the end, we listen to the beautiful language and song, to reflect, enjoy, feel.

As in most nation-states, the dominant state language is demanded. When I was growing up in Japan, those who spoke the language that she speaks, were ridiculed and often called stupid and primitive and unsophistocated. Nowadays, the young Japanese are more fascinated with these languages. The stigma of it has changed. In destruction, while languages and cultures become museum pieces for us, are we then appreciative? Let us listen and appreciate.

This arrangement features trumpet and alto sax solos emulating the colors and embellishments found in Ikue Asazki’s singing.  This recording is from July 24, 2013  at the Jazz Showcase.

Saxes: Tim Koelling, Kelley Dorhauer (soloist), Casey Fitzpatrick, Vinny Starble, Brian Toms

Trombones: Bryant Scott, Luke Malewicz, Joshua Torrey, Antonio Portela

Trumpets: Tom Klein, Andrew Ecklund (soloist), Jen Marshall, Jenni Szczerbinski

Piano: Carl Kennedy (soloist) | Guitar: Chris Parsons | Bass: Dan Parker | Drums: Keith Brooks

Music Arranger & Director: John Dorhauer


Obokuri Eeumi – (Obtain our Bearings)

Arayashikiku no dei – (in search of a new land)
Harasaku baku no dei – (let’s build a new house)
Hare fushigyurasa nejyuku – (by neatly gathering hay)
Surajifushiro yondo – (to thatch the roof)
Hare fushigyurasa nejyuku – (by neatly gathering hay)
Fushigyurasa nejyuku – (neatly gathering hay)
Surajifusero yondo – (to thatch the roof)Kirishigaki ku no dei – (at the stone walls)
Kuganeya be tatei tei – (let’s celebrate the golden house)
Hare momo tobyuru wakya – (that was built)
Ya uriba yuwa o yondo – (by a hundred carpenters)
Hare momo to byuru wakya – (that was built)
Momo to byuru wakya – (was built)
Ya uriba yuwa o yondo – (by a hundred carpenters)Hateigachi ya naryuri – (august draws near)
Tobibani ya neranu – (but i have nothing to wear)
Hare utou katabani – (i want to dress up)
Ya karachitabore – (brothers, lend me a sleeve)
Hitotsu aru bani ya – (i want to dress the children and those i love)
Kanasha se ni kusuitei – (with the single kimono i own)
Hare wanu ya okuyama – (i will wear vines)

Nu kazuradasuki – (that i picked deep within the mountains)
Ojyuugoya no teiki ya – (the full moon shines)
Kami gyurasa teryuri – (far and wide like the gods)
Hare kana ga jyo ni tataba kumo tei taborei – (when my lover comes to visit, i wish the clouds would hide it a little)

Ikue Asazaki – Obokuri Eeumi Lyrics @ LyricsSpot.com




Written for Adam Dorhauer (artist of Emergency Postcards).