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Keiko Matsui

Piano

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Internationally acclaimed and celebrated pianist, composer and, humanitarian, Keiko Matsui marks the thirtieth anniversary of her recording debut, Journey to the Heart.

“My melodies are my living testimony,” declares Matsui. A world citizen, Matsui uses music to speak to the hearts and souls of fans around the world, transcending borders and building bridges among people who share a common appreciation of honest artistry and cultural exchange. “Music creates a oneness,” says the striking, petite powerhouse who has worked alongside artists from Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder to Hugh Masekela and Bob James. “Journey to the Heart is my gift to my fans. I want to deliver the most beautiful and emotional experience.” Matsui, who has lent her voice to raise awareness for such causes as the Daniel Pearl and the Susan G. Komen Foundations, says, “I feel the world is getting crazier and we need to collectively go back and recall what connects us all . . . our spirits, hearts and our souls.” In Journey to the Heart, Matsui more than delivers what she has come to be loved for: breathtakingly beautiful transcendent melodies that transport the listener. A master storyteller, she crafts passionate and emotive songs with lush harmonies and global rhythms to create timeless musical anthems.

Journey to the Heart, Matsui’s twenty-seventh recording as a leader, marks the thirtieth anniversary since her recording debut and is her boldest statement yet. Helping her to reinvigorate her sound and new acoustic direction are bassist Carlitos del Puerto and drummer Jimmy Branly, both Cubans. Del Puerto, son of famed bassist Carlos del Puerto, one of the founding members of Irakere, has collaborated with everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder. Conservatory-trained Branly has worked with such notables as Flora Purim, Celia Cruz, Sheila E., Natalie Cole, and Airto Moreira. “Carlitos and Jimmy are amazing musicians. I admire their artistry, musicianship and spirituality. They are my new family on the road and they bring such a sensitivity and passion to every situation,” shares Matsui. Peruvian guitarist Ramón Stagnero and Venezuelan percussionist Luis “Luisito” Quintero also join her, along with special guest harmonica player Grégoire Maret and a sublime string section that augments several of the album’s tracks. Stagnero has worked with such diverse artists as Al Jarreau, Andrea Bocelli, Dianne Reeves, and Herb Alpert, while Quintero has been the first-call player for such musicians as Louie Vega, Natalie Cole, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and George Benson. Maret hails from Switzerland and has worked and toured with Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny, among others.

“Melodies are an important part of my music and the melodies on Journey to the Heart seemed to come from another dimension,” Matsui says. “There is a different energy. I was even amazed myself at just how bright and happy the music is. It does reflect where I am right now.” She conceived over one hundred different melodies and motifs for Journey to the Heart and eventually settled on the ten themes featured on the album. During the initial stages of writing, she collected melodies and wrote charts and began recording on her iPhone and a small recorder everywhere she went.

Keiko Matsui took her first piano lesson at five and she made her U.S. recording debut in 1987 with the recording A Drop of Water.

Keiko Matsui is appreciated not just as an artist but as a humanitarian. She dedicates every song she writes to causes that move her.

—NPR

One of the most creative and humanitarian artists around. Inspiration comes to her as easily as breathing.

—Examiner.com

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