Jablonski, Marek (Michael)

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(b) Work songs.

Many songs with titles indicating links with communal physical labour are extant, although few are still performed in their original contexts. Among the tasks accompanied by such songs were rice-hulling, millet-grinding, earth-pounding and rowing. The largest number come from Yaeyama, where they belong to the genres known as yunta and jiraba.

(c) Music of festivals and the popular performing arts.

The two major events in the Ryukyuan calendar are the Bon Festival of the Dead, in the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and the harvest festival (hōnen-sai), which occurs during the week before the night of the harvest moon (15th day of the eighth month).

A feature of the Bon festival in Okinawa is the performance style known as eisā, which is traditionally presented on the night of the 15th day of the seventh month, after the spirits of departed ancestors have returned to their places of rest. Following a round dance at the village shrine, a group of young people visits each house in the village singing and dancing, often to the accompaniment of sanshin and drums, in a style based on the esa omoro genre of indigenous group dance and incorporating elements from the nenbutsu odori style of Japanese popular Buddhist dance.

Harvest festival entertainments consist largely of musical, dance and theatrical items incorporated from the classical art repertory. Other festivities in which folk music plays an intrinsic part include the unjami festival of the sea gods, the shinugu post-harvest celebration and the women's round dance ushidēku. These forms flourish especially in the northern part of Okinawa Island, although regional variants exist throughout Ryūkyū.

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