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Co-curated by Serious for EFG London Jazz Festival and Kings Place for Luminate, we welcome Japanese folk singer-songwriter Ichiko Aoba for a very special gig in Hall Two.
Aoba has nestled beneath the radar in the West, but six albums in, she has connected with audiences for her often English-language and dream-inspired Windswept Adan. Her songs are directly informed by her dreams, and 2018’s qp was recorded in near darkness.
A rising star in Japan, her music soundtracks Zelda for Nintendo Switch as well as multiple popular theatrical productions.
Aoba says: ‘I started writing the plot for Windswept Adan before the music. … set in the remote reaches of the ocean south of Japan, on a pair of fictional islands inhabited by a tribe of inbred families. . . . A young girl from the tribe is sent to Adan by her grandmother in the hope of preserving their bloodline while escaping the cycle of intermarriage. . . . The island has no words, but instead, the inhabitants exchanged shells. The story plot began from, “there were no words on that island.”’
There’s a lot to the minimal ambient acoustic explorations; varied instrumentation all played, produced, and released on the artist’s own label, Hermine, mentoring and collaboration with Cornelius among others who once told Red Bull Music Academy that she was ‘really at the forefront of her generation’
Aoba has developed an intentionality and purposefulness which belies her output; a universality hinting at impressionism and jazz because she plays and sings different moods, a surreal yet simple sound – storytelling informed by time spent outside of her body, as well as Studio Ghibli & Disney.
Hear Ichiko Aoba’s latest release, ‘Asleep Among Endives’ (2021)
Watch an excerpt from Ichiko Aoba’s post-lockdown live performance at Ginza Sony Park (Sep 2020), lauded by Bandcamp’s Brenda Mattox as ‘one of the most mesmerizing virtual performances that came out of lockdown last summer’ during which she delivered ‘ethereally psychedelic folk dressed in moss-like wings, surrounded by plants in a dimly lit studio’.