|A.K.A.||Akiko Suzuki, 矢野顕子, Akiko Sakamoto|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter Jazz musician Musician Composer Pianist|
|Birth||13 February 1955 (Aomori)|
|Residence||New York, Aomori Prefecture|
|Education||Aoyama Gakuin Senior High School|
Akiko Yano (矢野 顕子, Yano Akiko, born Akiko Suzuki (鈴木 顕子 Suzuki Akiko); February 13, 1955) is a Japanese pop and jazz musician and singer born Tokyo and raised in Aomori and later began her singing career in the mid-1970s. Her vocals and singing style have been compared to British singer Kate Bush.
She has recorded with Yellow Magic Orchestra and its members Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, as well as with Swing Out Sister, Pat Metheny, The Chieftains, Lyle Mays, members of Little Feat, David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Kenji Omura, Gil Goldstein, Toninho Horta, Mino Cinelu, Jeff Bova, Charlie Haden, Peter Erskine, Anthony Jackson, David Rhodes, Bill Frisell, Thomas Dolby, the band Quruli, Rei Harakami as yanokami and her daughter Miu Sakamoto.
Akiko Yano was born in Tokyo and raised in Aomori, Japan. She began playing piano at the age of three and demonstrated promising talent. When she was fifteen, Yano moved to Tokyo on her own and entered Aoyama Gakuin High School where she pursued her musical career. She later began performing in jazz clubs where her skill at the piano brought her popularity among other musicians. Yano joined a band with roots in Tin Pan Alley.
Her maternal great-grandfather was of Russian descent who was engaged in the medical activities during the 1896 Sanriku earthquake and the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake
Yano recorded her debut album, Japanese Girl, primarily in Los Angeles with Lowell George and Little Feat. She began collaborating with Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). They continued to play on her next recording projects and invited Yano to join them on two of their worldwide tours. Yano expanded her musical collaborations with YMO on her subsequent CD releases. One of these collaborations, her fourth studio album Gohan Ga Dekitayo (1980), was one of the earliest CDs ever released in 1982. Yano continued to release CDs joined by JAPAN and Pat Metheny and has performed on albums by Thomas Dolby and other artists. In 1990 Yano relocated to New York where she collaborated and toured with some of the world's most renowned musicians including The Chieftains, Toninho Horta and Jeff Bova on his project THE HAMMONDS.
Yano's credits extend beyond her album projects. She was showcased by Japanese animation film company Studio Ghibli, which is known for works such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. Yano composed the music for the film My Neighbors the Yamadas and created and performed the sound effects using only her voice for two short films Yadosagashi and Mizugumo Monmon by animation director Hayao Miyazaki. Both films were shown at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. More recently in 2008, Yano performed as a voiceover actress on Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea as Ponyo's sisters. In addition, Yano composed music for Toei's animated feature, Atashin'chi and piano-based soundtrack for the film Tagatameni.
As an international artist, Yano has toured Europe extensively, performing at The Montreux Jazz Festival, Café de la Danse, and Cité de la Musique in Paris. In 2002, she also performed a week of special concerts at Pizza Express in London. In the United States, Yano has performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York City where she periodically plays concerts throughout the year at Joe's Pub at the New York Public Theater. In July 2009, she performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival along with fellow pianist Hiromi Uehara. In recent years she has appeared at the Blue Note in New York as a guest performer for Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer, and as part of a trio with Anthony Jackson on bass and Cliff Almond on drums in concerts at the Blue Note Tokyo since 2003. In 2008, New York guitarist, Marc Ribot joined Yano for sold-out shows at the Blue Note Tokyo.
August 2007 marked her second debut as member of yanokami, a pop unit with Rei Harakami, an electronic musician and producer. In March 2008, they released yanokamick an English version of their debut album, and appeared at Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore.
To date, Yano has released 27 original albums, of which 3 albums were released by Nonesuch Records: AKIKO YANO, a compilation album selected by Robert Hurwitz and John Zorn (1990), LOVE LIFE (1993) and PIANO NIGHTLY (1996). In October 2008, her 27th original album akiko was released. The album was produced by Grammy-Award-winning producer, T Bone Burnett and recorded in Los Angeles. She was joined by guitarist Marc Ribot and percussionist Jay Bellerose.
- Solo studio albums
- Japanese Girl (1976)
- Iroha ni Konpeitō (1977)
- To Ki Me Ki (1978)
- Gohan ga Dekitayo (1980)
- Tadaima. (1981)
- Ai ga Nakuchane. (1982)
- Oh hisse, oh hisse (1984)
- Tōge No Wagaya (1986)
- Brooch (1986)
- Granola (1987)
- Welcome Back (1989)
- Love Life (1991)
- Super Folk Song (1992)
- Love Is Here (1993)
- Elephant Hotel (1994)
- Piano Nightly (1996)
- Oui Oui (1997)
- Go Girl (1999)
- Home Girl Journey (2000)
- Reverb (2002)
- Honto No Kimochi (2004)
- Akiko (2008)
- Ongakudo (2010)
- Yano Akiko, Imawano Kiyoshirō o Utau (2013)
- Tobashite Ikuyo (2014)
- Welcome to Jupiter (2015)
- Soft Landing (2017)
Yano married and soon after divorced Makoto Yano, the producer of her first recording. She later married fellow musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, with whom she had a daughter, Miu Sakamoto. Yano separated from him in 1992, and they divorced in August 2006. Yano is Christian.