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Akiko Horii

Originally classically trained on piano in Kobe (Japan) and New York, jazz percussionist Akiko Horii attended the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles on a scholarship and obtained her bachelor’s degree in West African Music and Dance in 2004. At CalArts, she studied with a family of Ghanaian masters: Alfred, Kobla, and Beatrice Ladzekpo. She then attended California State University’s postgraduate Afro-Cuban music course, studying with pianist/composer Paul De Castro and percussionist Robert Fernandez. During the same period, she also studied and worked with master djembefola Mamady Keïta in Los Angeles and in Guinea (and began to learn the art of the balafon with Bala Camara), as well as spending some time in Ivory Coast and Mali. During her stays in Africa, Akiko actively took part in local traditional ceremonies, playing for weddings, circumcisions, harvest festivals, and accompanying mask dances and rituals.

Following advice given to her by Mark Levine (jazz pianist and famed author of the Jazz Piano Book), Akiko moved to Paris in 2005. Truly versatile, she toured for many years, working with critically and popularly acclaimed British jazz big band Loose Tubes (led by pianist Django Bates), steel drummer Andy Narell, all-female Brazilian batucada Zalindê, rappers Oxmo Puccino and Kery James, slam poet Grand Corps Malade, jazz-rock fusion trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, Senegalese percussionist Mamadou Gtcho Traore, tango trio Tres Fieras, Caribbean neo-soul artist Sébastien Drumeaux, opera singer Adèle Belmont… She also led her own West African percussion group, Les Elles du Tambour, in which she played, composed, and arranged. They released an album (Les Elles du Tambour, 2012) and performed throughout France, notably opening for Ethio-jazz unit Akalé Wubé.

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“… boredom not once arises in the improvised piece [ Woandering ] that features Akiko Horii’s delicate abstractions…”
- Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine (August 2017)

Autumn Leaves [...] began with a solo performance of Funnell on keyboard who was joined by Horii on cajon and the magic of their music slowly took over the venue. The duo [...] seemed to be in tune with each other while playing and it was evident in their music. Their synchronization, captivating dedication [...] and the whole repertoire as a result, hooked the audience to them.”
- HNS, The Himalayan Times (October 2016)

”Music that breathes, pulsates, bifurcates, trifles

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Primary Instrument

Percussion

Location

New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Feb22Fri
Jim Funnell Quartet
Areté Venue And Gallery
Brooklyn, NY

Discography

Woandering

Woandering

Philippe Lopes de Sa Duo / Freedom Jazz Zone
2017

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Style

Style

AfuriKo / Funnelljazz
2016

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On the Far Side

On the Far Side

AfuriKo / F-IRE
2014

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Les Elles du Tambour

Les Elles du Tambour

Les Elles du Tambour
2012

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Videos