"Umeko Ando was born in Fushiko Ainu village. She is 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 has become 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. －July 15, 2004 Umeko Ando died from cancer at her hometown Makubetsu-cho, Hokkaido. She was 71." (Source : Oki official website)
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