Tenko is a Japanese musician who has been performing improvised music for the past thirty years.

She started music in 1979 as a member of the rock band Mizutama Shobodan which was formed by five women.

In 1981 she encountered New Music in New York, and started an improvising voice duo The Honeymoons in Japan.

After she appeared on the N.Y. music scene as a soloist in 1984, started to work with N.Y. improvisers such as Fred Frith, John Zorn, Christian Marclay, and David Moss.

Touring Europe, America and Japan, she has performed in many festivals since 1985 to now (Moers,New Music America, Mimi,Taktlos, Music Action, Angelica, FIMAV, Nickelsdolf, Tampere, Wels etc.)

        Tenko is best known in Japan as co-founder of Mizutama Shobodan (Polka-Dot Fire Brigade), a group describing itself as "five women who make their own songs and play guitars, keyboard, bass, and drums". They made two LP's "The Virgin's prayers - Da! Da! Da!"(1981) and "Sky Full of Red Petals"(1985), both on Tenko's own Kinniku Bijo label. Parallel to this work was The Honeymoons, an improvising voice duo. Their album "Laughing Myth" was released in 1982. Their two shows at the International Women's Music Festival in Montreal in 1988 were among the highlights of that event.

        In 1984 she appeared in the New York music scene as a soloist. She toured Victoriaville, Moers, Zuric, and Vienna with the David Moss's Dense Band, performed with NY vistors to Japan (John Zorn, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenburg, Christian Marclay and others), and is no stranger to clubs like CBGB, The Knitting Factory, Roulette and Kitchen. It was these ties that led to her first solo LP "Slope/Gradual Disappearance," which brought together musicians from all of her activities and linked her song-writing and improvising in unusual ways. "Slope," a unique and powerful statement, introduced Tenko to a much wider audience. Her 'Uzo Muzo' group was invited to Strasbourg's Musica Festival in 1987, and she toured as a duo with Fred Frith in 1988 and 1989, including performances at the "Taktlos" Festival in Switzerland. 1989 also saw shows at Moers, Glasgow Jazz Festival and London's Queen Elisabeth Hall (with Fred Frith's Keep the Dog), return visit to Montreal for a women's improvised music festival, and made appearances in various contexts at New Music America's tenth anniversary in New York. Also in 1990, she performed "Legend of Rain" at New Music America in Montreal, which collaborated with Zeena Parkins and three other musicians. The music was recorded in 1992, and released 1993.

       Her second solo CD "At the Top of Mt. Brocken" was recorded in Tokyo with ten other Japanese musicians she selected carefully. After that the duo CD with Ikue Mori "Death Praxis" was recorded in New York. The work of both "Mt.Brocken" and "Death Praxis" proved her abilities not only as a singer but also as a producer.

       Dragon Blue - Tenko's band - with four other Japanese musicians was formed in March 1992. The sound could be described as the dangerous symmetry of chaos [noise] and order [beat]. Dragon Blue was invited to Mimi festival (France) and Niceklsdolf festival (Austria) in 1994, and performed in Victoriaville (Canada) and Nancy festival (France) in May 1995. The second

Dragon Blue CD "Hades Park" was released in February 1998 from AVAN - John Zorn's Japanese label.

      She also gave many duo performances with Otomo Yoshihide and Ikue Mori in Europe. The duo CD with Otomo "Pilgrimage" was released by TZADIK (N.Y.) in 1998.

       She lived in E. Sussex, England from 1992 to 1999 and studied sculpture, movement, and speech at Emerson College, an institution of R. Steiner education.

       Since moving back to Japan, she has been performing many concerts and giving voice workshops all over Japan. In 2000, Tenko conducted three hundred people for the voice performance at the "Daichi Symphony Festival" in Tumari (Japan). She also gave a solo voice performance "Proclamation of Livery" in Tokyo in 2001. The collaboration work with Hisako Horikawa - dancer and voice performer - "Experimental Station" was continued from 2000 to 2001 including numerous concerts, and it included many new ideas of voice and movement performance. She also formed a voice group "The Voice-dan kuu" with twelve people, and produced concerts and a CD "Voice Ring" in 2001.  Tenko continues to influence the voice music and performance scene.

      Her past LP's and CD's were repressed and re-released in 2001 - "Mizutama Shobodan" "Slope" "At The Top of Mt.Brocken" by Tenko's label 'Shoh'.

       In 2003, she performed with Etage34 - a French avangarde rock group - at Festival DENSITES. And the collaboration CD "Etage34-Tenko" was released in France in 2004. She toured Wels (Unlimited), Frankfurt and Besancon in 2005.

Photo by Iwao Ohtake

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