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Upopo Sanke

by Umeko Ando

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lnkxg01 thumbnail
lnkxg01 A great recording, Umeko Ando captured singing in a farm village surrounded by other singers,musicians,villagers, captured and mastered onto disc beautifully.These songs sound like they have always been there,come from the Earth itself and vocalised by this marvellous woman. The notes help understand their importance and beauty. Magnificent, you need this.
Paintingmantis thumbnail
Paintingmantis Beautiful. An utterly immersive meditation for the soul. Favorite track: Iuta Upopo (イウタ ウポポ).
Family Feet
Family Feet thumbnail
Family Feet September 2023 - This was the greatness I needed today. Understated brilliance. Favorite track: Iuta Upopo (イウタ ウポポ).
thejansenbandcamp thumbnail
thejansenbandcamp Great artwork. I do not know anything comparable. So much fun.
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Compact Disc in 4-panel Digipak with 12 pages booklet.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Upopo Sanke via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 9 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      €14.90 EUR or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      €10 EUR  or more


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    2LP, remastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin by Kassian Troyer. Plays at 45rpm.
    Includes a four-pages inlay with linernotes by Oki Kano and Umeko Ando. Designed by TEOTH. Pingipung 081

    Includes unlimited streaming of Upopo Sanke via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 9 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      €28.90 EUR or more 




“Upopo Sanke“ means “Let's sing a song" in the Ainu language. Umeko Ando (1932-2004) was one of the best-known artists of the Ainu, an indigenous, long-suppressed community in northern Japan. She sings their traditional songs together with Oki Kano on the Tonkori harp, who also recorded the album. The two are supported by members of the female vocal group Marewrew as well as Ainu percussionists, a string player and a male singer who provides rhythmic shouts and also throat singing. The call-and-response structure of many of the songs is performed with a mantric, hypnotic quality in a vocal style that is perhaps best described as elastic, relaxed and breathing. The lyrics praise the lush nature of the islands. They mention the deity Kamuy, who can appear in the form of animals such as bears or swordfish, and the singers repeatedly ask the audience to dance. Listening to this music can be a meditative experience. There seems to be a gentle smile in every note and syllable. This music softly hits the heart.
“Upopo Sanke“ was recorded on a farm in Tokachi in the summer of 2003. We hear dogs barking, a distant thunderstorm and voices imitating animals. The liner notes that accompany the 2LP release gather the anecdotal memories of Umeko Ando and Oki Kano about the stories of the 14 songs.
Oki Kano is a musical ambassador of the Ainu culture who tours worldwide with his Oki Dub Ainu Band and also gives solo concerts, always playing the Tonkori, the five-stringed Ainu harp.
The Ainu have suffered from the oppression of their culture and language by Japan, especially since the 18th and 19th centuries. Only recently, in 2008, were the Ainu officially recognized again as an indigenous people culturally independent of Japan. As a result of the marginalization, there are now only a few hundred native speakers of the Ainu language left, making it a particularly worthy object of preservation. This music would not exist if the Ainu had not maintained their culture in remote and secret communities against Japanese hegemony. Thanks to Oki Kano, Umeko Ando's interpretation of Ainu music has been recorded in great detail from within the community. "Upopo Sanke" is a treasure of the Ainu heritage.
"Upopo Sanke" was mixed again in part by Oki Kano before being mastered and cut to vinyl by Kassian Troyer. The 2LP plays on 45rpm and it sounds fantastic.

This album was the second album by Umeko Ando, the follow-up to "Ihunke", originally recorded in 2000 and also re-released in 2018 by Pingipung together with Oki Kano. The vinyl editions of "Ihunke" and also the 7’' single "Iuta Upopo" including an M.RUX remix have long been sold out. They will be made available again in the course of the release of "Upopo Sanke".


released September 1, 2023

Umeko Ando: Vocal, Mukkuri
Rikanreasi Ozeki: Voice
Oki Kano: Tonkori
Rekpo: Vocal
Kapiw: Vocal
Masato Kimura: Percussion
Norihiko Yamakita: Percussion
Masahiko Todoriki: Khoomei, Doshpuluur, Igil

Recorded at a farm somewhere else in Tokachi, Hokkaido in August 2003

Produced by Oki Kano
Recorded by Takuji Takahashi
Mixed by Oki Kano and Takuji Takahashi
Photo by Noriko Tanaka
Oki Kano would like to thank: Harue Ando, Asako Yonekura
Linernotes by Oki Kano and Umeko Ando, translation by Kenichi Morishita

Pingipung 081
c&p 2023 Pingipung
Licensed from Chikarstudio
Design by TEOTH

Mastercut by Kassian Troyer at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
45 RPM

Press says:

"It would be a hard heart indeed that doesn't find it self moved by the sincere innocence and welcoming charm of this record" (Chris Wheatley, Songlines UK)

"Andos bisweilen mantraartiger Gesang schwingt im Einklang mit ihren musikalischen Traditionen. […] Upopo Sanke hat die Anmutung einer ausgelassenen und zugleich tiefenentspannten Jamsession […] und hat eine flirrend sommerliche, bukolische Anmutung." (Stephanie Grimm, TAZ, Oct 2023)


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Umeko Ando Japan

Umeko Ando (1932-2004) was a folk singer from Japan. She was a representative of the Ainu culture on the Hokkaido Island in the north of Japan.

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