Japanese Koto & Shamisen Player, Singer Songwriter Sumie (Sumi-é) Kaneko has been recognized as a pioneer by her uniquely chromatic use of the instruments. Her project that is blending Japanese traditional elements into jazz improvisation is well received over the world.
She started playing Koto when she was at five, next year she was broadcasted by NHK. In 1995, Sumie won in Takasaki International Competition in Koto performance. She studied Japanese traditional music at Tokyo University of The Arts then studied Jazz vocal at Berklee College of Music in 2006. Performance highlights includes: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, TED talk, Getty Center, Boston Ballet, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, etc.. She has also gave workshops at academic scenes such as Harvard Univ., Princeton Univ., Wellesley College, Berklee College of Music and many more. In 2014, her group was invited to the Washington DC Jazz Festival that is co-sponsored by the Embassy of Japan, soon after they made sold-out debut at Blue Note NY that is the most well known jazz club in the world. In addition, she was the first Shamisen player of a winner of Pulitzer Prize Paula Vogel’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home”, and has collaborated with many of world instrumentalists such as Kenny Endo, Kaoru Watanabe, On Ensemble, Yumiko Tanaka etc., and also painters, dancers and calligraphers. Her international tours had been covered: Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Jamaica (by Japan Foundation NY), Bangladesh, Pakistan and many of domestic tours including Puerto Rico. In August 2016, she is again invited to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahor by the Embassy of Japan in Pakistan. The second album “Dead of the Night” has been released in June 2016.