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Quicktime Movie: Kojonotsuki

Quicktime Movie: Jessica Williams and special guest Aiko Shimada playing Kojonotsuki, a traditional Japanese folk song played frequently by Thelonious Monk. Kojonotsuki translates as a moon shining over the ruins of a dark castle.

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Aiko was born in Tokyo and moved to Oregon when she was 18. First she joined a folk-rock band, then became a DJ, and then formed her own trio. She moved to Seattle in 93 and started performing her original music at Bumbershoot, the Seattle Art Museum, the NorthWest Folklife Festival, and On the Boards.

She's been on NPR , TCI -TV, KAOS, KBCS, KPLU, and KCMU. She's all over iTunes and Amazon. COOLEST OF ALL; In 96, Aiko formed her own label, Bera Records. So far, she's released 4 CDs on BERA. They are all wonderful. I know. I've listened to all of them. You can go to aikoshimada.com and get some. You won't regret it.

A few years back, a large Japanese label, East Works, released her CD - SOUND - and soon after that Aiko landed a deal with John Zorn's label Tzadik. Her CD Blue Marble was released and distributed worldwide - it showcased Aiko's playing and singing and composing, and it was a HIT.

With KOTO MASTER Elizabeth Falconer, she made a CD of Japanese lullabies. It's received TWO Gold Medals from Parents Choice Awards and the National Children's Publications Awards. AND, she's a recipient of the Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship Award.

When I met Aiko it was like seeing an old friend again. We know each other and understand the language of the soul. She has brought me many gifts, and she is very very beautiful in her art, her beliefs, her caring and her pure self. Her music is just as pure and completely without artifice or guile. It is not corporate music. It is not wallpaper music or elevator music. It is not something that's easy to define. It is not categorizable and it is TOTALLY UNIQUE AND REFRESHING, filled with emotion and love and pain and sorrow and hope. It is a living thing, and it speaks softly to our hearts. It teaches us, it calls to us, and it heals us. I don't know about you, but I NEED this kind of healing. - Jessica Williams, Feb, 2008

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