When you think of Japanese musicians performing in the U.S., one might
think of genres such as alternative pop/rock, jazz, noise, and experimental
music. Tokyo-born, Seattle based guitarist/singer/songwriter Aiko
Shimada has her own unique approach. Victory Review in Seattle described
her music as "a spacious, multi-faceted hybrid of
jazz, progressive rock, folk and shades of many other influences."
In 2000, Aiko was offered a record project by the world-renowned
composer/saxophonist John Zorn. The CD, Blue Marble
was released under his label Tzadik, and distributed
worldwide in 2001 (produced by New York/Seattle composer/multi-instrumentalist
Eyvind Kang with the special guest appearance by Bill Frisell).
Aiko writes and sings songs in both Japanese (her native language)
and English. She performs solo or with her band (Dave Carter on
flugelhorn, Mark Collins on upright bass, and David Brogan on drums)
throughout the Northwest as well as on the East and West coasts.
She has collaborated with musicians like Robin Holcomb,
Eyvind Kang, Bill Frisell, Lonnie Plaxico, Tucker Martine, Danny
Barnes, and has opened for musicians such as Jane
Siberry, Wayne Horvitz, Mount Analog, Living Daylight's Jessica
Lurie, and Amy Denio.
Aiko has played at places like Bumbershoot and Folklife Festival
(Seattle music festivals), Seattle Art Museums and Seattle Asian
Art Museums, Sit and Spin, Tractor Tavern, and more. She has toured
both on the West and East Coasts as well as played in Japan, France,
and the Czech Republics. In 2002 she appeared at the Vancouver
International Jazz Festival (formally known as Vancouver
du Maurier Jazz Festival).
In 2001, Aiko became one of the four Artist Trust / Washington
State Arts Commission Fellowship Award recipients in the
music category. One the same year, the collaborative Japanese lullaby
CD, Oyasumi, received a Gold Medal by Parents Choice Award
and 2002 National Children's Publications Awards (NAPPA).