Keiichi Tanaka - KETA IICNA HIKA
Label Mental Groove
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"Although I did not think deeply about it, I felt that a certain time had come for me and I decided to produce my solo album. It was 20 years since I first started playing drums and since then, out of all the brilliant artists who live in Japan that I played with, I wanted to freely enlist players who I really wanted to create music with."
This is what Keiichi Tanaka said about his intention in making Keta Iicna Hika. In 2014, Japan's leading eight-piece Afrobeat band, Kingdom Afrocks, put a halt to their group activities. For eight years, they firmly maintained their steady and indispensable rhythmic core, developing an energetic live performance and music. Their drummer Keiichi Tanaka became the first member to produce a solo album after their split. He started working on Keta Iicna Hika in October of 2014 and finished it at the beginning of 2015. There are several collaborations on Keta Iicna Hika including Kingdom Afrocks ex-colleague Nao Ito, OKI of Oki Dub Ainu Band, legendary Japanese Jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi, and several other artists who Keiichi had performed with. Furthermore, Keiichi has enlisted many African musicians living in Japan. Along with conventional instruments, traditional African instruments, such as a banjo-sounding traditional string instrument popular in countries such as Mali and Guinea, the n'goni, traditional Karafuto/Ainu instruments, such as the tonkori, and a bamboo mouth harp, the mukkur, are featured. Not just confined to Afrobeat, Keiichi also includes various African music and traditions such as Benga from Kenya, a lullaby from Congo, and inspiration from Somaliland and Mali. Keiichi mixes it with dub from OKI, traditional Japanese music, such as the music of Tenjinbayashi, and traditional Ainu sounds. Keiichi also undertakes a jazz-flavored cover of Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti. With Keta Iicna Hika, Keiichi has created a deep and unparalleled melting pot of an album that only he was able to produce. Each song is recorded "live", and as such, performed with his collaborators mostly in one take. The record was ready in 2015 but tragedy struck, and Keiichi passed away. Keta Iicna Hika represents Keiichi's musical vision, a culmination of all he had learned in this twenty years as a musician.