“Music that breathes, pulsates, bifurcates, trifles. That is unclassifiable and played with exquisite delicacy, in the course of sly improvisations. Elaborate yet sincere and spontaneous all the while. AfuriKo is an absolutely atypical duo.” – Afrique Asie
When Akiko was a young small town Kansai girl running around barefoot and unicycling in Nishinomiya’s rice fields, she had the firm intention of marrying an African man. Meanwhile, growing up in a peaceful Parisian suburb on the other side of the planet, Jim was mentally rocking out to CDs by his favorite rhythm and blues heroes!
So AfuriKo was bound to be propelled into existence some twenty years down the line, when Jim & Akiko’s paths crossed as a result of following a shared, irrepressible call to Africa, its culture, and its Diaspora. In 2016, they decided to move to New York City together to perfect their unique blend of African infused jazz and find a true voice for their modern-day cross cultural “Child of Africa.”
AfuriKo has released two albums since 2014, both of which were chosen to receive full funding by SACEM, the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers. They have toured extensively in Japan (Kanazawa Jazz Street), the UK (Cardiff University Concert Hall), France (Le Baiser Salé), Germany (JazzLab), Holland, Nepal (Jazzmandu), the United States, and collaborated with artists such as Bill Sims, Jr., Eddie Parker, Bruno Wilhelm, Hiroshi Fukutomi, and Chris Hayward.
They are currently working on a third release, which will crystallize their recent journey (since Style). Experiences that highly transformed both the tandem’s life and music, such as being on the road for a full year (from Kobe to Amsterdam via Kathmandu) and finally settling down in Queens (the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world) have been nourishing the creative process for this album. Currently performing in and around their new hometown, AfuriKo is also gearing up for an upcoming European tour.