Saturday, 22 December 2012

Patchwerk for Christmas from Willkommen Records

Willkommen Records has just sewn together musical squares, each 30seconds in duration, from 28 Willkommen artists and friends. Merry partakers include Rozi Plain, This is The Kit, Gravenhurst, Mary Hampton, Francois Marry and a load more, including me and ICHI... and here it is for your ears

and nip here for more info and links to all involved

Sunday, 2 December 2012

ROZI`S BBC6 Session with Lauren Lavern

Last week we joined pal Rozi Plain on the radio. ICHI played steel pan and I played clarinet and sung and Shuki came too and got quite a few mentions by Lauren Lavern, who is a lovely woman and just the same in real life as she is presenting her radio show. Also in Rozi`s band was Sam from band Being There and Jamie Harrison who`s album is a gem - warm, funny and musically brilliant with lines like `your bedroom smells like a sausage`.

Listen back to the session here

visit Rozi`s site and get her album it`s brilliant

Rozi with our baby Shuki Jim in the BBC6 music studio

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Hauschka`s prepared piano demonstration

Bristol Jam festival has been going on recently with an exciting line-up of improvised acts and workshops curated by QuJunktions working with Bristol Old Vic theatre. The one event that I managed to get to was Hauschka`s prepared piano talk. He was so nice and said some really great things...something about how we musicians tend to roam old habits, the things that we know work for us and are safe. We do this especially during live performances when we don`t want to mess up in front of lots of people. He found putting bits in the piano threw him off his old tracks and he totally welcomed this. And he said that in his experience audiences really enjoy it when you step away from what`s safe and you take risks in front of them.  

He had all sorts in the piano. The aluminum candle holders and piano tuning rods are things I want to try in my upright at home. The components from vibrators made some amazing drones. He told us how he was held up at USA customs and quizzed on his suitcase of vibrators! Luckily they believed him when he explained "but I`m a musician".

Good old Hauschka. What a lovely and inspiring fellow he is. Here`s a short snippet of his impromptu performance that he did after a talk much longer than scheduled, and below is a photo of the pile of tools he`s excavated from the piano during the performance.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Films of Friends - Rozi Plain, Spider Belly, Woodpecker Wooliams, Two White Cranes

R   O   Z   I       P   L   A   I   N

This is Rozi - you may already know her and her music. She has been my buddy for years and we sometimes play music together. She has just released her 2nd album J O I N E D   S O M E T I M E S   U N J O I N E D and it is something very special, especially the vinyl edition that I have which I have had on heavy rotation oh yes. Here she is
and here is a marvelous new video made by James Haskins of Olo Worm
(note steel pan by Ichi)


S   P   I   D   E   R        B   E   L   L   Y

This is Andy Skellam aka Spider Belly. Another music buddy of many years. A craftsman of many incredible songs and a procrastinator who sits on them. But I am patiently waiting for his album as I know it will be something very special. He will play at the Grain Barge in Bristol with Woodpecker Wooliams tomorrow - 25th October


W   O   O   D   P   E   C   K   E   R        W   O   O   L   I   A   M   S

This is Gemma Woodpecker aka Woodpecker Wooliams, a musical acquaintance who i`m yet to meet in person but who ICHI has played alongside, and who I know snippets of well from her glitchy new album THE BIRD SCHOOL OF BEING HUMAN. Playing with Spider Belly tomorrow (25th Oct) Grain Barge, Bristol


T   W   O        W   H   I   T   E        C   R   A   N   E   S

This is Roxy, a bristol musician who has morphed and evolved in many shapes and waves: Roxanne The Early Years, The World is Not Flat, Mountain Parade and the latest solo project Two White Cranes. She will tour in Japan this November with maverick guitarist Naoto Kawate. Here she is fronting Mountain Parade.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Front room recording project

It was a whirlwind 5 days spent at home in Bristol, rarely stepping foot beyond the house and back yard. I was in the company of some very brilliant and inspiring people who came to stay here to record 13 new songs with me - some pretty pared down and some with pretty complex arrangements exploring some new musical roads. I had demos that I`d worked on with clarinet arrangements and all sorts to be translated into the final recordings. But this is my year for collaboration, so I`ve allowed myself to be very much open to the ideas of others. I feel very lucky to have shared this musical adventure with people who are both a joy to hang out with for such a heads-down, focussed time, and a total reassurance to have around - totally lovely dependable and talented individuals. Many heartfelt thank yous everyone!

front room transformed

with Ben in the storage room/control room

Ben Hampson brought all his giant black boxes of technological tools, a spaghetti of leads, microphones from post world war 2 Germany etc. and we set up for recording in the front room, with a sort of control room next to it. 

Wilkommen Collective main man Marcus Hamblet, multi-instrumentalist and Ben`s recording collaborator, came with bass, guitar, tenor horn and lots of interesting ideas along the way (for example sticking a headphone sponge under the banjo strings to double with my prepared piano - a satisfying marriage). 

Marcus finding the hidden notes

Emma`s lowest note on bass clarinet made the whole house 
resonate and found a very welcome home on 
a prepared piano song 

Emma Gatrill came loaded with her clarinet, bass clarinet, harp and tap shoes (which are still to make it onto the recording - I wait in anticipation), and she added some inspired vocal harmonies. 

ICHI was ready to add his trademark touch with steel pan, typewriter and his handmade xylophone from wood that he salvaged from a skip. He also provided many delicious Japanese meals for everyone. 

ICHI adding steel pan

typewriter and handmade xylophone

Prior to the musical happenings of these 5 days I had spent two focused days at Brighton Acoustic studio recording live takes of about half of the songs with Marcus on double bass and Thomas Heather of Broken Sound`s Eyes and No Eyes adding his characterful drumming. 

Eyes and No Eye`s  drummer Thomas Heather

Chris of Broken Sound

Chris of Broken Sound captured the 5 days of of our musical adventure in the front room on his new super dooper HD camera. The black and white photos were taken by him and here`s a snippet of film he made while I was preparing the piano.

There is still a lot of work to be done to this recording project. I can just about see an album on the horizon, and more collaborative glowing will take place on the road to there. I plan to invite others to join in on some songs, and I have been speaking to sister Betsy about doing the artwork. This is something I have never handed the reigns over on before - but Betsy is the lady for the job no doubt about it. 

In the meantime ICHI and I will be preoccupied with our greatest ever collaboration - our baby will come in to the world next month! Making an album whilst being heavily pregnant has had the advantage that pregnancy has been a very calm, happy and creative time for me (plus a swollen belly creates a rather good ukulele rest). Luckily there have only been a few factors causing disadvantages, mainly an inhibited diaphragm and at times the need for more oxygen, meaning I will have to redo some of the vocal takes at a later stage. It`s been lovely having such close company all the while. I wonder if the baby has enjoyed the songs?  The banjo has never failed to get those little legs kicking - dancing joyfully along?...Or little arms pushing - "leave me in peace!"? I guess time will tell whether or not our baby is a fan of our music!

ticking things off the mammoth list

break time in the sun

Saturday, 30 June 2012

More collaborative glowing - Join in !

Recently i`ve been continuing to reap the rewards of some more collaborative fun. Doing it yourself is rewarding in it`s own way and I still enjoy and often feel the need for some solitary creativity. But being open to shared experiences and getting good things done with other people is certainly something that gets me glowing. I`ve been getting a good amount of this type of glow this year both in Japan (Stitch together exhibition and live collaborations) and now back in the UK. Here are some more collaborative things I`ve been up to with others in recent weeks. And at the bottom are two ongoing projects that you can join in with if you fancy.

Kings Place - June 22nd
with a band and projections by sister Betsy Dadd 
and live drawing from Betsy and Sophie

Emma Gatrill (Sons of Noel and Adrian), harp, clarinet and new addition - bass clarinet
Tom Heather (Eyes and No Eyes) drums
ICHI - steel pan and percussion

 Betsy and Sophie sat at a table at the side of the stage recorded the event in drawings and paintings that were snapped up for donations at the end

`D.I.Y. is all you need`
group exhibition at UTROPHIA, Deptford
1st - 14th JUNE

This was a collaboration between like minded friends who make both music and art and who hold a DIY ethos at the heart of all they do. And there was lots to interact with for the visitors of the exhibition too - coloring in, adding stitches, playing ICHI`s xylophone and swinging in Rozi`s swing boat

DIY - Do It Yourself
DIT - Do It Together

This looks set to be a traveling and blossoming show/idea to stay tuned

Alessi Laurent-Marke (Alessi's Ark – Bella Union)
Rachael Dadd (Broken Sound)
François Marry (François & The Atlas Mountains – Domino Records)
Kate Stables (This Is The Kit – Dreamboat / Brasslands)
Rozi Plain (Fence Records)
ICHI (Coup Records)
Thomas Heather (Eyes & No Eyes – Broken Sound)
Jeffrey Lewis (Rough Trade)
Benjamin Meschko
Louise Phillips
Will Newsome
Jonathan Farr
Carrie Hitchcock

Rozi adding the final touches to the swing boat

smoothies at the openning night

a visitor adding color to Francois` Colour Me In project that will become an animation soon

 patiently adding stitches to my Stitch Together project - 
this little girl stood on a stool sewing for about an hour

 ICHI`S xylophone came home with thousands of little dents from 
everyone`s enthusiastic playing

Alessi with her work 

 Rozi, Francois and Kate performing in the much loved Swing Boat

playing with Thomas Heather - drums and all aboard

 Louise Phillips doing some live drawing 
while Will Newsome performed kora in the boat (swung very high by a volunteer)


Spreading the onigiri word that onigiri is better than a sandwich!
 I have been selling onigiri (Japanese rice ball) recipes at shows and asking people to send in pictures. Send an e-mail to if you want me to post one to you (in exchange for about £1.50 including postage)  or come and get one from a show


Anyone who has bought or will buy the Balloon single or the Claw and Tooth single (which is a download code on the back of a badge containing a little piece of a big mountain map I made from all sorts of old bits of paper) can join in by sending a photo of their badge in a location of personal significance. The big mountain is like a map of my travels and this is like tracking the pieces on the next stage of the journey. They are all grid referenced. You may be confused - there`s more in an earlier blog post which you can read here 

If I get enough submissions I`d like to do an exhibition or something so please send in a picture if you have a badge.

Here are a few submissions so far

27T from Charley Sharp

 24L from Matt Howard

 14L from Noco Nico Cafe, Japan

you can nip over and get your single from the broken sound shop

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Preparing the piano

Recently I have spent a few days with the piano prepared, enjoying the satisfying sounds of blobs of masking tape, bits of ballon, paper clips and a pot of rice inside the pianos workings. I plan to perform a few of my discoveries this Friday 22nd at my headlining show at King`s Place. I will play two sets, songs old and new, one set solo and one with a band including Tom Heather of Eyes and No Eyes on drums, Emma Gatrill on clarinet and ICHI on steel pan. My sister Betsy Dadd who is studying at the royal college of art will project her animations as part of the show.

For more about the King`s Place show go to the links below

here are some things you might get to see some of on Friday...

prepared piano

Tom playing drums with a wooden knife during my set at 
No Direction Home festival

and here`s a video from No Direction Home

Betsy`s artwork

Saturday, 16 June 2012


For those of you who don`t know ICHI is my husband, a musician from Japan. He accompanies me on steel pan at shows and he is a very celebrated solo musician taking the notion of a one-man band to new limits, combining his handmade instrument inventions with steel-drum, ping-pong balls, tape-loops, xylophone, double bass and trumpet, all in the space of one short set, and as described by venue magazine "It`s the kind of idiosyncrasy that cult fan-bases are built on, and you can`t help but feel it could`t have come from anywhere but the land of the rising sun".

drawing by Betsy Dadd
King`s Place (where ICHI will accompany me this friday the 22nd June)

ICHI now resides with me in Bristol once more, armed with his visa, his suitcase of musical inventions and his english study books. He has already been back playing a few memorable shows since arriving and will continue to entertain in his totally unique ways. Here are a few photos of his show from No Direction Home Festival last weekend. READ REVIEW HERE

ICHI at No Direction Home Festival

You can catch him playing at Bristol`s Cube Microplex on the 13th July with Emperor X or at the Louisiana with OLO Worms on the 10th August. If you`d like to book him for any shows please contact

I have been busy making him exist to his full potential on the world wide web, so you can go and say hello, watch films, and listen to his musical archive (he is very involved in the Nagoya underground scene and has other side projects - Flyhoop (ambient improvisation) and his newwave band Noshintoh) 

And here`s a better taster of what you might see live. Hopefully see you at a show soon x

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

D.I.Y is all you need - London Group Exhibition opening 1st June

D.I.Y is all you need exhibition is opening this Friday at Utrophia in Deptford.
The collaborative show with lots of artistic musical pals will run until the 14th June.
There will be opportunities to get involved yourselves in the show by adding stitches, making sound, see-sawing and coloring in.
You can have a look at Francois` video for his public collaborative piece he`s putting in the show here... It`s a song we`ve made together - it`s black and white at the moment and so he calls for people to add colour

STITCH TOGETHER, my recent exhibition in Japan, featured a public sewing project which I am now bringing to London. So please come and add your blue stitches...(in Japan it was orange/pink spectrum)

There will also be music on the 1st but it will be a surprise as to just what that will be...
Come and see...come and join in...D.I.Y is all you need

And while I`m talking about exhibition stuff - here is a film of a sewing & music collaboration event that I did with ICHI and Eri Kitayama for the closing event of STITCH TOGETHER

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

UK shows and exhibition around the corner

I have waved a farewell yet again to Japan, a country I love, and hello yet again to England, another country I love - it`s a fair exchange - I`m bound to miss the sour plums, but a bit of tasty cheese should make up for that (I have missed cheese very much)

Tommorrow I will play my first homecoming show
23rd May - Chapel Gallery Series, London - unplugged night with The Magic Lantern

Next month I will play at London`s King`s Place on the 22nd June with two headlining sets making the most of the grand piano, songs old and new, solo and with other musicians joining in the shape of ICHI, Thomas Heather (Eyes and No Eyes) and Emma Gatrill (Sons of Noel and Adrian, and Laish), and my sister Betsy Dadd projecting her animations and doing a spot of live drawing. 
and here`s a podcast - me and Ben Eshemade of Arctic Circle chatting about music and Japan and things if you fancy a listen

From the 1st to the 14th June I will be participating in a group exhibition called DIY is All You Needat Utrophia, Deptford high street along with many like minded musical and artistic comrades such as Rozi Plain, ICHI, sister Betsy Dadd, Kate Stables of This is The Kit, Francois of Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Alessi`s Ark, and recent addition to the running of things, a bit of a DIY hero of mine from over the water - Jeffrey Lewis. FREE Opening live event will take place on the 1st June
more about it over at Broken Sound:

Here`s a few pieces by others that will be in the exhibition

 by Louise Kelly Phillips

 by Kate Stables

by Francois Marry

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


4/27 Gunjo, Mitaumoto, NAGANO with ICHI, Asuna & Rima Kato 

4/28 Temple Ryoudenji, Machida, TOKYO with ICHI, Yumbo (see video below) & Gofish

4/29Cafe Couwa, Saitama, JAPAN with ICHI, うつくしきひかり & 4 Bonjour`s Parties


Excited about playing with Gofish and Yumbo again and Yamagisan (Yumbo`s drummer) will play percussion on my songs Tanoshimi!

Tsubomi performed at The Guggenheim, Kobe with Yamagisa, Inadasan, Nahoko Kamei & ICHI

Saturday, 14 April 2012


We have been spending the last two happy weeks touring with Will Newsome from Bristol, solo kora musician/songsmith and the other half of The Hand. It has flown by. Now only a few dates left of our Tapping for Spring Tour with ICHI

Here`s a video of me and Will playing together as The Hand

see Will`s beautiful blog of our travels in Japan together here

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Stitch Together - Exhibition open now

My exhibition has been stitched and hung up at Galerie P+EN in Endoji, Nagoya, Japan. As well as solo work there are 4 collaborative projects with various designers and makers and one with the general public. It has been such a good experience working with such brilliant people.

3rd May from 6.30pm


come and add stitches yuroshiku-onegaishimasu!

Clothes by Nagai San (Galerie P+EN Owner)

left: Nagai San of Penelope Plus
right: Aki of Consent Furniture


postal stitch collaboration - both of us added machine embroidery like letter correspondence

my stitches before Eri added hers ...
...and then made her beautiful bags

bags made from recycled materials and baby clothes from fair-trade fabric

Clothes and textile objects made from recycled materials

3rd May from 6.30pm


And you can also see ICHI`S exhibition now in Nagoya


open @ Hankachi