Shoukichi Kina, Peppermint Tea House Asia Classics 2

Brian Cullman

By Brian Cullman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The undisputed master of Okinawan proto-surf guitar.

Shoukichi Kina is the undisputed master of Okinawan proto-surf guitar. Admittedly, this is not exactly a crowded field, but he wears his crown lightly, mixing the casual twang of Dick Dale with the simple authority and ease of Bill Frisell. On much of the album (a collection of some of Kina's best-known tracks), Ry Cooder sits in, adding lovely slide guitar and folk picking, but mostly holding the rhythm together, playing straight man to Kina's wild card. Throughout the proceedings, a troupe of underage Asian cheerleaders chant what sound like alternate-side-of-the-street-parking regulations in squeaky little yelps. As strange as this all sounds, as the novelty wears off, you're left with more than just Oriental party favors; an odd but undeniable beauty kicks in, one that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else.