CMU Approved

Approved: Nami Sato

By | Published on Tuesday 9 July 2019

Nami Sato

Eight years ago, Nami Sato’s home town near the city of Sendai in northeast Japan was entirely washed away by the 2011 tsunami. Her latest EP, ‘Our Map Here’, comprises five instrumental tracks reflecting on the area’s recovery by using field recordings. The idea, she says, “was to create a map of memories around the coastline of Sendai City”.

Originally created for a memorial installation next to a subway station nearest to the town where she grew up, each track layers different recordings of life in the area among her music. Far from what you might expect, the release is filled with joy and hope.

“These are soundscapes of the area that was heavily affected by [the] Great East Japan Earthquake, where the tsunami washed my whole town away on the 11 Mar 2011”, she says. “Some people may say that those places are completely gone since the tsunami. But we know it’s not true. There are beautiful new things born every day in the place where it has lost everything in the past, and I want you to know it”.

Explaining further how she went about creating the field recordings, she says: “Instead of directly interviewing the locals, I focused on capturing the sound of local festivals of affected areas and disaster relief events. I created collages of sound by extracting and using the most personally memorable part of the recording”.

This is not Sato’s first release related to the tsunami. In 2011, she independently released an album titled ‘In Spring At The North Wasteland’ to raise funds for children orphaned in the natural disaster. Words like ‘wasteland’ no longer appear in her work with ‘Our Map Here’ instead feeling celebratory.

Listen to the EP’s opening track, ‘Arahama’, here:

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