Born in Hakodate (Hokkaido, JAPAN) in 1962, Ayako Ogawa started playing the piano from 1968. She has been involved in theater since 1970. Experiences in piano and drama are the basis for her improvised music. Originally, she is an expert in early childhood education. Her talent in improvisation has been developed through encounters with musicians or artists.
Graduated from Hakodate childcare academy in 1982, Ayako started her career as a nursery teacher. In 2002, after working at a nursery school for 20 years, she established and run a small day-care center for children, called „Kobito no Mori,” to realize her ideal education for infants. In the day-care center, children and she had been interacted with nature (flowers, grass, insects, frogs, fishes and so on), played with water, played in sand or snow, did cooking, painted pictures, made original picture books, took part in dramas, did improvising with folk instrument, and ate slow food lunch together.
In 2008, she got a chance to work as a teacher for students with special needs in an elementary school. Since 2012, she has been working at children’s center of Hakodate city as an adviser for children from babies to teenagers and their mothers.
Meeting with Deku in 1998 became her starting point as a musician. He was a jazz bassist, who studied contrabass with Masahiko Togashi. He is not only a musician but also an artist. Influenced by him, Ayako wrote songs, organized poetry readings, and published original picture books while working as a teacher.
In 2013, Deku connected her to Sabu Toyozumi. Next year, Ayako organized Sabu-led improvisation workshop in Hakodate. Sabu found her talent and advised to express herself more in music, look outside Hakodate and to go all over the world.
In April 2015, she invited Sabu and Peter Broetzsmann to Hakodate. She was so excited about an opportunity to play music with them, and with their music. In October, she played with a dancer Hal Tanaka and Chaihana Dai who is a zitherist living self-sufficient for his food. Their performance and the ways their live provide a spark for her to express herself more in music or in a piece of work.
Now, she is looking forward to performing and recording with improvised music band called „Shepherds of cats”. Also, she is making a picture-story on the subject of nature, to show it at „self-sufficient festival” organized by Chaihana Dai, in front of Lake Toya Hokkaido next August.
Shepherds of Cats
Shepherds of Cats is a quartet formed in early 2014. Having instant and strong understanding, they explore the outer limits of good taste and push the limits of what should be considered as acceptable. Their attention to detail is impeccable and have created a deep trust to support each other in the most obscure and ridiculous tangents. Using improvisation as their working method, they create sonic stories and worlds, drenched in incredulity at their own existence. Their compositions are created in real time and may suspend time as well as good taste and other senses. They are sound hunters, gathering and re-appropriating sounds in sometimes inappropriate manners. They are well mannered, have shame but no ego. Shepherds of Cats colaborate closely with Vj Pietrushka.
Maciej Piątek is a Polish video artist based in the UK. Over the years he has been involved in many projects, working mainly on his own experimental video works but also collaborating with various local and international musicians, exploring closely improvised and electronic scene. He has recently received significant recognition of its work with the international video poetry network.