Born in Tokyo, Tomoko Sugawara began to play the Irish harp at age twelve and the grand harp at sixteen. A graduate of Tokyo University with a degree in Fine Arts, Sugawara first took up the kugo in 1994. She has performed on both the concert harp and kugo in many major international venues, including the World Harp Congresses in Prague and Amsterdam; Meiji University, The New York Qin Society, the Fifth Symposium for Music Archaeology, and at Berlin, Columbia, Princeton and Harvard Universities. She was awarded a fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council during 2007 – 2008, and a grant from the Rohm Music Foundation in 2007. Along the Silk Road is Sugawara’s third recording. Her first, Spring, features her work as a soloist on the concert harp and her second, East Meets West (1998,) was an improvisational duo collaboration with saxophonist Sanshiro Fujimoto. A musician with a taste for adventures in all styles, Ms. Sugawara recently performed in the ensemble of jazz bass legend Charnett Moffett for his upcoming Motema release, Treasure.
Ms. Sugawara will support the release of Along The Silk Road with solo performances as well as in duo and trio configurations with the musicians on the record, the world famous flautist, Robert Dick and Turkish hand drum master and ethno musicologist, Ozan Aksoy. Alone or in ensemble, Ms. Sugawara and her Kugo provide an enchanting, meditative excursion through many cultures, moods and ages. Her partner and manager, music archeologist Bo Lawergren augments her performances with amusing anecdotes and painted illustrations of the Kugo from various historical contexts.
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