Ainu musician Oki in Latvia and Lithuania

Ainu musician Oki concerts in Latvia and Lithuania

4 November 8 pm Oki concert in Valmiermuiža

5 November 8 pm public rehearsal at MĀ telpa with IDEAGNŌSIS movement group

7 November 7 pm Kaunas, Lithuania – Lithuanian Education History Museum, Vytauto pr.52 – Songs of the Ancient Land – Ainu and Lithuanian traditional music – OKI and Laurita Peleniūtė – “Promočių giesmės”

8 November 7 pm, Vilnius, Lithuania, Miesto Laboratorija, Songs of the Ancient Land – Ainu and Lithuanian traditional music – OKI and Laurita Peleniūtė – “Promočių giesmės”

10 November 7 pm World Music Festival PORTA Von Stricka villa – Oki concert and jam session with SHONO from Buryatia

11 November 4 pm Drabeši Crafts House, Latvia – Oki concert and workshop

Oki Kano

OKI was born to a Japanese mother and an Ainu father. After graduating in crafts at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts , he moved to New York in 1987, where he worked as special effects artist on film productions.

Oki returned to Japan in 1992, he received his first Tonkori—a traditional stringed instrument developed by the native Ainu people of Sakhalin. Although the instrument was regularly displayed behind glass in museums, there were virtually no traditional players. Oki devoted himself to studying Tonkori and soon began making his own. In 1996 he released his first album ‘Kamuy kor nupurpe.’ Shortly after he established Chikar Studio to in order to encourage other Ainu artists and promote the music of Ainu artists to the world. Chikar studio has presently released a total of 20 albums, including titles by the traditional singer Umeko Ando and the all-female ensemble Marewrew, who sing traditional dance songs called “Upopo” with a modern sensibility. Oki Dub Ainu Band features Tonkori in a band setting with drums, bass,  keyboard and heavy dub sound. They perform at Festivals in Japan and overseas.

Discography: Kamuy Kor Nurpurpe (1996) / Hankapuy  (1999) / No One’s Land (2002) / Dub Ainu (2004) / Tonkori (2005) / Dub Ainu Deluxe (2006) / OKI Dub Ainu Band (2007) / Sakhalin Rock (2010)  / Utarhythm (2016)

Producer works: Umeko Ando,Ihunke (2001) / Umeko Ando, Upopo Sanke (2003) / Marewrew, Mottoite Hissorine (2012) / Kita to Minami (2012) / Marewrew, Marewrew (2016)


Developed on the northern island of Karafuto (Sakhalin), the tonkuri is the only stringed instrument in the Ainu musical tradition. It is a long, flat instrument, which produces mysterious overtones. These tones are the result of its thin body allowing for sound to reverberate strongly within. The instrument’s soundboard is unfretted, and traditionally only the open pitches of the 3-5 strings are sounded, so it cannot be adapted for choral harmony. The limited pitches require the player to rely on rhythmic variations to sustain interest. The resulting sound is clearly distinct from Western and traditional Japanese music.


Oki Solo

Oki Dub Ainu Band

Ainu Music


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