AfuriKo is a Paris-born, New York-based African infused jazz duo, and the musical child of percussionist Akiko Horii and pianist/keyboardist Jim Funnell. Together, they have 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, the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Nepal, the United States, and collaborated with artists such as Bill Sims, Jr., Eddie Parker, Bruno Wilhelm, Hiroshi Fukutomi, and Chris Hayward.
Their music manifests within the boundaries of an imaginary triangle, with vertices representing (1) the joy and freedom of jazz improvisation, (2) spellbinding down-to-earth grooves drawn from ancestral West African traditions, and (3) the ethereal harmonies that have emerged from centuries of Western classical music.
Jim’s harmonies are like a myriad of vivid colours wrapped around the earthy grooves that resonate out of Akiko’s full percussion orchestra. The way she literally dances behind her drums, like fireworks orbiting around the music, translates into the visual realm the intricacy and depth of Jim’s musical ideas, while his magical left hand independence enables a deep bass sound to support the whole architecture.
To see the duo perform in a live setting is a truly multi dimensional experience that enables AfuriKo’s unique voice to wholeheartedly blossom.
- Cardiff University Concert Hall (2017), as part of the university’s concert series, featuring Eddie Parker (jazz flautist, composer, and founding member of legendary UK 1980’s big band Loose Tubes).
- JazzLab (2017): performance at Volt, a hip electro / techno dance club in Hamburg (Germany), organized by a dynamic collective of musicians dedicated to bringing cutting edge jazz music to young audiences in the city.
- Jazzmandu (2016, also known as Kathmandu Jazz Festival): the “Biggest Jazz Party in the Himalayas” brings artists from the four corners of the world to Nepal. Concerts at various locations including the Alliance Française de Katmandou, Jazz Upstairs, Summit Hotel, Kantipur Temple House…
- Style CD release tour (2016): performances throughout France, the United Kingdom, and Japan including venues such as Les Disquaires (Paris), Southampton Modern Jazz Club, PARRJAZZ (Liverpool), Vortex Jazz Club (London), University of Hertfordshire (Hatfield), Valentine Drive (Nagoya), Heaven Aoyama (Tokyo)…
- World Music Festival (2016): a journey through richly brocaded and culturally mixed universes organized by the Conservatoire and the town of Chilly-Mazarin (France)
- Le Cap / Villes des Musiques du Monde (2016): concert in Aulnay-sous-Bois (France) with saxophonist Bruno Wilhelm and Grammy Nominee Bill Sims, Jr., as opening act for leading acoustic blues singer and songwriter Eric Bibb and French harmonica player Jean-Jacques Milteau
- Congahead video recordings (2016, 2015): founder of famous brand Latin Percussion and photographer Martin Cohen features leading players in Latin, Jazz, Salsa, African and World Music on his popular YouTube channel
- Kanazawa Jazz Street (2016, 2014, 2013): festival that gathers world class musicians from around Japan and abroad. Notable performances at the Ana Crowne Plaza and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
- Festival “Sons Mêlés” (2015): classical music, lyrical song and world jazz in unusual locations that are features of French new town Sénart’s heritage
- L’UMJ Jazze les Voûtes and “portes ouvertes aux Frigos” (2015, 2014, 2013): concerts organized by the French jazz musicians’ union (Union des Musiciens de Jazz) and held within Les Frigos, a Parisian site and association for artistic production and creation. 200 artists work on the site daily.
- Jazz sur Seine (2014): festival held in the many jazz clubs of Paris and the Parisian Region. Concert at renowned venue Sunset-Sunside
- On the Far Side CD release tour (2014): performances throughout the United Kingdom, France, and Japan including venues such as Jazz at Dempsey’s (Cardiff), Jazz at the Lescar (Sheffield), L’Entrepôt (Paris), Improphile (Chartres), Nardis (Kashiwa), le club Jazz (Kyoto)…
- JazzCanDance (2014, 2013): “summer sound sessions” festival in Eholfing (Germany)
- Asahi Shimbun Osaka Head Office – ASA-COM Hall (2012), as part of their long-running monthly concert series, which was launched on the Japanese national newspaper’s 110th anniversary in 1989
- Cardiff University – School of Music (United Kingdom, 2017): West African drumming and dance workshop
- Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (United Kingdom, 2017): West African drumming and dance workshop
- Jazzmandu (Nepal, 2016): Vocal and Rhythm Workshop
- Middlesex University – School of Media and Performing Arts (United Kingdom, 2016)
- Union des Musiciens de Jazz (French jazz musicians’ union) (Paris, 2013-2016): regular “Ghanaian Grooves” weekly classes and monthly workshops
- Munich International Ballet School (Germany, 2013): Pilates & West African dance workshop
- Cardiff University – School of Music (United Kingdom, 2013): West African drumming and dance workshop
- Full funding (“aide à l’autoproduction“) from French performing rights organization SACEM for the production of AfuriKo’s second album Style (2016)
- Full funding (“aide à l’autoproduction“) from French performing rights organization SACEM for the production of AfuriKo’s debut album On the Far Side (2014)