うめ吉 (Umekichi) made her debut at the pit (musician's box) at a Rakugo performance. With her shamisen in hand, she became an instant sensation in the Rakugo circuit. In 2001 she released her first CD, Umekichi Okuni Meguri. The CD was featured at various tourist hot spots in Japan and was a much talked about release. She holds deep admiration for the Geisha who would sing folk songs before and after World War II. She wants to revive the shamisen music of the Edo period (1603 - 1867) of Japan.
In 2006 she performed at the SXSW festival in Texas and quickly cut across 5 cities to play 8 shows in America. At each stop she received rave revues. She has also played at Fuji Rock Festival. She is often on TV and has appeared on shows like Utaban, Bokura no Ongaku and Mezamashi Terebi. She is certainly receiving her fair share of attention.
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