E-Press Kit

About WaFoo

History and Mission Statement

When the two different cultures meet, a new form of art is born. Jazz was created when the African rhythm met the European instruments. The French impressionists such as Manet, Monet, Degas, Bonnard, Lautrec, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Debussy, Proust were all fascinated by the Japanese paintings and the influence was later called "Japonism." When jazz met the Japanese music, the environment was prepared for WaFoo to create a new form of art.

The prototype of the ensemble was formed in 2001 by four Japanese Jazz musicians under the concept of "Beauty of the music across the East and the West." After years of labs and experimental performances, the ensemble won the first grant, Performing Arts Awards, from COAHSI (Council of Arts and Humanities for Staten Island) in 2004 and performed for JuneFest 2004, which is officially a birth of WaFoo. At the same time, the original concept of the ensemble was evolved into WaFoo's mission statement.

"Providing a powerful weapon to promote the mutual understanding between the East and the West, by showing how beautiful and peaceful the music can be when the two different elements are blended each other."

Traditional Japanese arts have been introduced in the United States and its popularity is increasing. Kabuki is played occasionally, Origami is becoming very common, and so is sushi and flower arrangement. The modern Japanese arts, however, have not gained much attention yet because there are not many artists who are committed to perform them. So, there is a call for WaFoo's artistic mission, "Neo-Japonism."

Composers of Contemporary Music

WaFoo is not only a music performance group but also a group of active living composers to create contemporary music. Each musician has profound understanding of arts, culture, and humanities of our time. This helps the ensemble create "contemporary Japanese music" in lie of traditional Japanese music. All the repertoires are originals or new interpretations of Japanese traditional folk music made by the musicians of WaFoo.

Audience and Artistic Accomplishments

The music of WaFoo is for everyone. It has been well-accepted and highly acclaimed by both critiques and ordinary music fans. The following quotes suggest how people loved WaFoo.

"WaFoo's amalgam of jazz and Japanese traditional elements is very, very easy to love."
- Michael Fressola, Arts Editor for Staten Island Advance

"People were in tears; emails and phone messages have been pouring in....
Many, many people spoke about how deeply your performance affected them."
- Beth Gorrie, Producer of Staten Island OutLOUD's Hiroshima Nagasaki Reflections

2005 was the year of breakthrough for WaFoo both in production and box-office. Some noteworthy performances among the regular concerts and educational programs in local schools are; "WaFoo Suite" a full concerto WaFoo composed and performed with a symphony orchestra, "D and Dangerman" an off-Broadway show that WaFoo produced as a composer and performer and the collaboration of music and Japanese calligraphy.

WaFoo is very confident that today's people - whether they are in the East or the West - would love our music, or even need it, because what WaFoo is trying to present is not just the sounds, but it's also the spirit of "Wa" which translates peace and harmony.

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