"I am sending an Okinawan song called Tinsagunu-Hana (Flowers of the Garden Balsam). It's a traditional song within the Okinawa dialects. They believe that dying one's nails with the flowers of garden balsam wards off evil."
Garden Balsams are a species of Impatiens found in southern Asia.
Note: You can find the pronunciation of this song in the notes.
Flowers of the Garden Balsam
Dye your nails with the flowers
Of the Garden Balsam,
Dye your mind with the words
Of your parents' advice.
Countable are the stars in the sky
Twinkling at midnight,
Uncountable are the teachings
Of your parents.
The guide is the North Star
For ships sailing on dark nights,
And the only guide for me
Is my beloved parents.
Polish your jewelry
So it doesn't get rusty,
Polish your mind
Not to become a dropout.
Accomplishments bring prosperity
For a long time in your precious life,
For your descendants to live long.
Everything can be realized
If you have wishes and drive,
Nothing can be realized
If you are dull or idle.
(Folk Song in Okinawa Prefecture)
Makudo suru hitoya
Meaning in standard Japanese:
Author and composer unknown.
Okinawa prefecture is located in the most west and the most south of Japan with about 360 islands surrounded by beautiful coral reefs in the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean. It is close to Taiwan with the distance of about 100 km.
Until the 19th century, Okinawa was a kingdom with the name of 'Ryukyu'. In 1872, it became a part of Japan. During WWII, the US occupied Okinawa and ruled it until 1972, when they returned it to Japan. There are still many US military bases residing on 10% of the Okinawa land. The military bases now occupy an important position for the strategy of the Far East.
About Okinawan Music and People:
In the Okinawan musical scale, they neglect the 're' and 'la' of the standard European scale (do [re] mi fa sol [la] ti). It is the same in Indonesia and some other south-east countries.
Many people like music and dancing while using some musical instruments, such as 'sanshin' - an instrument that has three strings - and other instruments. Okinawa is one of the most long-lived prefectures in Japan, even though they had a harsh experience in World War II.
Many thanks to Sadao Mazuka for contributing this song, for translating it into English, for the 2 recordings and the commentary.
The 2nd mp3 is the music only.
Thanks and Acknowledgements