Nacomi Tanaka Performs At Blues Festivals in the US
In May and June 2014, Japanese blues singer/guitarist Nacomi Tanaka will achieve one of her biggest ambitions: to perform at a major blues festival in the United States. And she will be playing at not one, but TWO FESTIVALS: as a headliner at The Little Walter Music Festival in Louisiana and as a “sideliner” at the Chicago Blues Festival in the Little Walter/Muddy Waters Tent.
Of course, Blues Asia Network wanted to know more. And Nacomi graciously consented to participate in our interview. [Originally published May 5, 2014]
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: Among Asian blues artists, you have always been one of the pioneers, performing outside of your home country at the Taiwan Blues Bash. Now you seem to be expanding your vision even outside of the region. What are your dreams and ambitions now?
NACOMI: Well my dreams are playing at Blues Festivals in the U.S, Australia, Europe, and other countries in Asia.
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: Now we see that you will be performing at the Little Walter Tribute Concert in Louisiana, USA, in late May. Is there any connection between your Japan tribute and the Louisiana tribute? Did it help you get in touch with the Louisiana organizers?
NACOMI: I am a singer and guitarist and also a big fan of 10-hole diatonic players, especially Little Walter. One day, I found the web site of The Little Walter Foundation and cool Tshirts they were selling. I emailed the web master, asking if they would ship abroad or not and how much the postage would be.
He was so kind, and finally he found that I was a professional blues musician in Japan. He told Little Walter’s daughter Marion about me, and they asked me to send videos of my band playing Little Walter tunes. So we filmed it and send it. They really liked it and invited us to The Little Walter Festival in Louisiana. They recommended us to the Music Festival Committee in Alexandria, Louisiana.
We also did a Little Walter Tribute gig in Japan last year, and it went great. In Japan there are many Little Walter fans among blues music fans, but they do not know about the either the Foundation or the Festival. I am letting them know about those great opportunities.
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: What are the details of your upcoming performances in the US?
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: I understand that you have also taken an interest in the fund-raising effort to save the home of Muddy Waters as a historical landmark. How did you get involved with that, and what are you doing?
NACOMI: A person from the Little Walter Foundation started the Morganfield Foundation to save Muddy’s house. He told me about the problem, and I decided to do what I can do. Spreading and sharing about the website of the Morganfield Foundation on Twitter, Facebook..and so on. I asked a blues venue to set a donation box, and we also are going to have a gig to gather donations.
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: Do you have any other big plans for this year?
NACOMI: Japan Blues Festival , Taiwan Blues Bash , recording a new album.
BLUES ASIA NETWORK: As a blues artist who is spreading her wings and expanding her horizons, what advice can you give to other blues musicians around Asia?
NACOMI: mmmmmmm…….. be interested in “old skool.” If you like Eric Clapton, listen to Robert Johnson. If you like Rolling Stones, listen to Muddy Waters. And then make your own style.
When you listen to blues music, just check the sound of the instruments you don’t play. If you are a guitarist, listen carefully to the sound of harmonica. Then you can feel whole things. Be proud of being blues musicians in Asia! Cheers!
VIDEO FROM NACOMI’S LITTLE WALTER TRIBUTE IN JAPAN IN JULY 2013
Sweet Harp kimura(harp)