Tomoko Sugawara

10th Annual World Traditional Album Nominee

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Record Label: Motema Music

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Home Base: New York City

Genre: World Music

Category Entered: World Music Traditional Album

Work Submitted: Along the Silk Road

Artists Featured: Robert Dick, Ozan Aksoy

Label: Motema Music


Influences: Jordi Savall

What’s the meaning of your band name? My band’s name is Silk Road Rider because our repertoire contains much ancient music from the Silk Road – from a time it functioned as a transport road. Other musicians play pieces recently composed by composers who happen to live near places once connected by the road. Today the road has lost its ancient function and is largely a tourist destination.

Describe your nominated work: It has two types of music: (1) it revives music older than what is played by other artists, and (2) it has recently commissioned works by composers in the US, Japan, and Iran.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? It is unique, intimate, beautiful, and pioneering.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? The main instrument, the kugo, is absolutely unusual in itself. It was enormously popular 1900 B.C. to 1700 A.D. in Asia but died out. This is the first major CD of its revival

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? Everything went as planned

Did fans help you fund this project? Only to a small extent.

Who is sitting in your audience? Sophisticated people seeking the thrill of the very old and the avant garde.

What makes your fans unique? they are musically adventurous and independent

Are there any songs you wish you wrote? “Imagine,” and “Folías de España”

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? John Lennon, Jordi Savall, Andrew Lawrence-King, and Mick Jagger.

What is your dream show lineup? Hesperion XX, The Song Company

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Daydreaming

Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? No

Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? None

Should music be free? No. Please pay performers, composers and lyricists

How has digital affected your career? It helps with distribution and PR

Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? Full albums and DVDs

Finish this sentence: The music industry is… an absolute necessity. Without it, we can only hear our own music. It connects the world.