An “East-West” fundraising concert showcasing international recording artist Yukiko Matsuyama & Friends and an acoustic performance by Wildwood Highway, a stylish classic rock-influenced unit, will be presented on the Carnegie Stage of the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room, 1115 El Centro St. in South Pasadena, on Friday, April 14, at 8 p.m.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Seating will be first-come, first-served. Tickets are $25 each and are available at www.southpasadenaeclecticfriendslibraryconcert.eventbrite.com.
Matsuyama, a widely acknowledged koto master, blends Japanese melodies with contemporary jazz, pop, and world music elements. For this performance, her all-star band includes special guest Mona Tavakoli on drums and percussion. Tavakoli’s infectious energy brought crowds to their feet nightly during an 18-month world tour with Jason Mraz.
Pianist Diana Dentino similarly has multiple world tours under her belt with Grammy Award winning artists Kitaro and Peabo Bryson. Bassist Becky Gebhardt, also a member of the Jason Mraz band, doubles on the Indian sitar. Rounding out the group on violin and vocals is the accomplished Andrea Hammond.
Matsuyama bridges eras and cultures. Her compositions for koto and Western instruments delve into a joyous and celebrative blend. She delivers the sounds of the ancient 7th-century instrument with authority and grace. Born in Osaka, she was classically trained at the Ikuta School of Koto from age 9. She received her professional certification and teaching credential in 1986. In 1993, Matsuyama came to Los Angeles and began composing original music.
She has recorded with the Paul Winter Consort in Japan and is featured on Paul Winter’s CD “Miho — Journey to the Mountain” (Grammy winner for Best New Age Album). Other notable musicians with whom Matsuyama has performed include Alphonso Johnson, Munyungo Jackson, John York, Rei Aoo Dance Planet, Billy Mitchell, Tadashi Namba, James Gadson, Koji Nakamura, Austin Peralta, and Hiroyuki Hayashida. Venues she has played include the Japan America (Aratani) Theatre, John Anson Ford Theatre, Grand Canyon National Park, LACMA, Huntington Library, and many music festivals and cultural events around the country.
Wildwood Highway, an accomplished group that mixes original songs with recognizable covers, will showcase their impressive three-part harmonies along with their expert musicianship. The group features Brad Stanfield on lead guitar and vocals, Periel Stanfield on vocals and harmonica, Deanna Hurst, guitar and vocals, Colin Mitchell, bass guitar, and Ron Pak, drums and percussion.
All proceeds will benefit the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library and The Eclectic Friends of the Arts of South Pasadena, both 501(c)3 nonprofits. In addition, the organizations will be two of the major co-sponsors of the 2017 Eclectic Music Festival on May 6 in South Pasadena, which will bring a wealth of free concerts to a wide variety of venues, all within walking distance of each other.