20 November 1932
15 July 2004 (aged 71)
Umeko Ando (Japanese: 安東ウメ子; 1933 - 2004) was born in Fushiko Ainu village. She was a renowned expert of the mukkuri (a bamboo jew's harp) and upopo (the traditional chanting of the Ainu). Immersed throughout her life with the culture, language and traditions of the Ainu, she became an important successor for the Ainu culture of the Obihiro district.
Her participation on Oki's second album, Hankapuy, helped to gain her recognition. Her solo debut album, Ihunke, produced by OKI in 2001, was extolled by many critics and artists, and declared the best world music album of the year by many music publications in Japan. This was followed by further critical success with her second album from Chikar Studio, Upopo Sanke (2003), gaining worldwide attention.
On July 15, 2004 Umeko Ando died from cancer at her hometown Makubetsu-cho, Hokkaido. She was 71.
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