We hang out with Shoko Nagai and Satoshi Takeshi and hear tracks from her amazing TOKALA project...
Shoko Nagai is a versatile musical artist who improvises and performs with world-renowned musicians on piano and accordion and composes original scores for films and live performances. As a teenager in her native Japan, Nagai was trained on Yamaha's electronic organ, the "Electone," to perform popular music. Since moving to the U.S. from Japan and studying classical and jazz music at Berklee, she has adapted her mastery of the keyboard to prepared piano, accordions, the melodica and other instruments, often inspired by the minimalist approach of composer Takemitsu Toru. Whether she is performing Klezmer, Balkan or experimental music, Nagai is a charismatic presence onstage, who hypnotizes audiences with her intense focus and virtuoso sound.
Since moving to New York in 1999 she has been dubbed an "MVP" of the downtown jazz scene, performing with John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Frank London, Matana Roberts, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Satoshi Takeishi, Butch Morris, Elliot Sharp, Jeremiah Lockwood and many eclectic performers. Nagai frequently tours internationally, performing in Sweden (2009 Nobel Prize ceremony for German writer, Herta Muller), Italy (Napoli Teatro Festival 2015), Austria (Saalffelden Jazz Festival 2014), France (Banlieues Bleues 2012), Switzerland (Rote Fabrik 2012), Holland (Bimhuis 2012), Japan (Fuji Rock Festival 2012), Israel (Romanian Institute 2011), Canada (Suoni Popolo Festival 2008), Germany (Moers Jazz festival 2007), and Brazil (resfest 2007) and in the U.S. (Newport Jazz Festival 2015, Saratoga Jazz Festival 2008). She has received grants from JazzJants (Painted Bride Arts Center) in 2008 and the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2010.
Nagai's compositions for films include, L'amour Cache (2007), directed by Alessandro Capone and conducted by Butch Morris, as well as a trio of films directed by Linda Hoaglund: ANPO: Art X War (2010 Toronto, DOC NYC, Vancouver, and Hong Kong film festivals), Things Left Behind, (2012) produced by Japan's national broadcaster, NHK, and The Wound and The Gift, narrated by Vanessa Redgrave (Vancouver, DOC NYC, Tokyo FilmX 2014).
CARE (2016 DOC NYC, AFI DOCS, Sheffield Doc Fest, Reelworld Impact Award) directed by Diredre Fishel
“Connection beyond genre and contrasting elements, in quest for the essence” is what Japanese-born musician/improviser Satoshi Takeishi strives for in his performances, whether behind a drum set, a hybrid percussion set or computer-based electronics.
With over 30 years’ experience in live performances and recording sessions around the world, executing in styles of Jazz, Rock, Contemporary Classical, Avant Garde, Experimental Electronic, Latin, South American, Arabic and African music, Takeishi moves among diverse musical environments. Rather than a specialist of any one style, Takeishi constantly strives for an integration of his diverse musical experience and knowledge.