“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
AfuriKo – a Japanese portmanteau word combining “Afurika” (アフリカ) and the suffix “Ko” (子) which means “child” – is an African infused jazz duo comprised of percussionist Akiko Horii and pianist/keyboardist Jim Funnell.
Propelled into existence when Jim & Akiko’s paths crossed in Paris as a result of following a shared, irrepressible call to Africa, its culture, and its Diaspora, AfuriKo began experimenting in 2010. A playful blending of tones and rhythms came to life, and a unique dialogue between the ancestral stories of the djembe and the modern voice of digital pianos and synthesizers was quickly instigated. In 2017, the duo relocated to Queens, New York, to let the energy that emanates from the most ethnically diverse part of the world nourish their creative process on a daily basis.
They have released two albums (On the Far Side, 2014, and Style, 2016), both of which were chosen to receive full funding by SACEM (the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers), toured extensively in Japan (Kanazawa Jazz Street, Asahi Shimbun’s Asacom Hall), the UK (Cardiff University Concert Hall, Vortex Jazz Club), France (Sunset Sunside, Le Baiser Salé), Germany (JazzLab), Holland (Theater Vrijburcht), Nepal (Jazzmandu-Kathmandu Jazz Festival, Jazz Upstairs), the United States (Rockwood Music Hall, Beats in Bliss Plaza), and collaborated with artists such as Hiroshi Fukutomi (Japan), Jade Choi (South Korea), Eddie Parker (United Kingdom), Bill Sims, Jr. (United States), Bruno Wilhelm, Philippe Lopes de Sa, and Chris Hayward (France).
AfuriKo will be at the Green Note in Camden on Nov. 20 as part of the London Jazz Festival, kicking off a short UK tour (also including performances at the Flute and Tankard in Cardiff and Southampton Modern Jazz Club) for the first time since they made New York City their home. They are currently preparing the release of their third album. Look out for their Kickstarter campaign to be launched in October to make sure you’re kept in the loop!