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Osaka born koto musician Yukiko Matsuyama was featured during global superstar Shakira’s performance at the 12th Annual Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday, November 10, 2011.

It was a special night for Matsuyama, an international koto artist, who was honored to have the opportunity to perform with Shakira and to introduce and share the national instrument of Japan with a new worldwide audience. According to the Nielsen Company over eleven million viewers tuned in to all or part of the live three-hour broadcast on the Univision Network.

For the event, Matsuyama performed with Shakira on Antes De Las Seis, her latest single from the album, Sale El Sol, for which Shakira won the Latin Grammy for Best Female Pop Album.

Shakira has won two Grammy Awards and eight Latin Grammy Awards. She is the second most successful female Latin singer after Gloria Estefan, having sold over 60 million albums worldwide according to Sony Music Entertainment.

Antes De Las Seis, written by Shakira and Luis Fernando Ochoa, begins with a melody on the koto. Shakira has told many interviewers that she has grown fond of listening to oriental music, which influenced many of her earlier works.

For the performance, Matsuyama wore a gorgeous pale blue kimono designed by Sueko Oshimoto.

Matsuyama, who now calls Southern California home, recently returned from Tokyo & Osaka where she performed several concerts to celebrate the Japanese release of her fifth CD, Beyond the Space. The U.S. release date is scheduled for January 2012.

Although the show with Shakira marked the first time Matsuyama has performed with a Latin Pop Star, she’s no stranger to unique, non-traditional settings for her instrument. Matsuyama’s compositions span the realm of genres from pop to smooth jazz with elements of world beat and funk. Last year she recorded with the Paul Winter Consort on their Grammy Winning New Age album, Miho: Journey to the Mountain. She’s also recorded with jazz pianist Billy Mitchell, John York (Byrds) and is currently working on an R&B project.

Upcoming performances include an Alaskan tour with her international pop band, and shows in New Mexico, Atlanta, and New York. In between, Matsuyama stays busy with sessions and film work.

Click to see video… Latin Grammy Awards Performance and here for Photos with the Band.

I’m very excited to have been asked to play koto with Shakira at the Latin Grammy Awards this coming Thursday! It’s such an honor to play with this amazing artist and humanitarian. It’s also a great opportunity to share the koto with her fans from around the world. I’ll be joining her on Antes de las Seis, the new single from Shakira’s Sale El Sol album.

UPDATE:  It was an amazing experience!!! Here’s the video… Latin Grammy Awards Performance



‘Beyond the Space’ by Yukiko Matsuyama & Hirotaka Ogawa

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Beyond the Space, the new CD from Yukiko Matsuyama & Hirotaka Ogawa!

Hirotaka Ogawa & Yukiko Matsuyama

Cover art for our new CD designed by Atsuko Ogawa

We each wrote new compositions for the project and Hirotaka did a great job with the arrangements. Early reviews are calling it new,  fresh & exciting!

*****Listen by clicking this link*****


HIROTAKA OGAWA – Guitar, Pianos, Vocals, Background Vocals, Programming

IDEYA OKU – Drums & Percussion


DIANA DENTINO: Piano (track 5)

ETSUJIRO GOTO & YASUYO HIRAYAMA – Background Vocals (track 5)

Recorded in Tokyo & Los Angeles

More info about Hirotaka Ogawa at http://www.HirotakaOgawa.com

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Tokyo CD Release Concert 松山夕貴子

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Hirotaka Ogawa 織川ヒロタカ and I have collaborated on a new CD, Beyond the Space.

CD release concerts with our band in Osaka on October 12th and Tokyo on October 25th. The CD will be released in the USA August 10th, 2012.

Yukiko Matsuyama & Hirotaka Ogawa CD Release Concert

CD Release Concert - October 25, 2011 - Tokyo - Beyond the Space


Click for information about Tokyo show:

Read More→

I’ll be performing with my band as part of the “Full Moon Summer Nights at the Bowers Museum” series. Hope you can join us for this fun event which includes Happy Hour drinks & hors d’oeuvres, an elegant dinner, live music and admission to the museum.

Start your evening at 5 PM with a leisurely stroll through the museum’s 8 exhibitions including the  Japanese Masterpieces from the Price Collection (closing July 17th).

Happy Hour begins at 6 PM in the John M. Lee Court with drinks and delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared for the theme of the event.

At 7 PM we’ll perform. Joining me will be Diana Dentino (keyboards), Vincent van Trigt (bass), Avi Sills (drum/percussion), and special guest Greg Vail (sax/flute).

Dinner follows with elegant seasonal cuisine prepared by Joachim Spichal’s Patina Restaurant Group/Tangata. I’ll play solo koto during the dinner hour.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Ms. Matsuyama is an international recording artist who bridges eras and cultures. Her compositions for koto and western instruments delve into joyous & celebrative blend of world and pop music. Koto is Japan’s national instrument; a 13-string zither or harp. She is featured on Paul Winter’s latest CD, “Miho – Journey to the Mountain” which won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album.

Fee (includes concert, dinner, happy hour, exhibits): Member $60 / Non-member $65 / Advance reservations required no later than July 12th.
For more information, please contact or 714.567.3677.

Saturday, July 16, 2011, 5:00 – 10:00 PM

Bowers Museum, 2002 North Main Street Santa Ana, CA 92706


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The Summer Solstice gig with The Paul Winter Consort was magical! The performance began in the dark with the musicians approaching the stage from various locations throughout the cathedral while playing. As the concert progressed, the sunrise illuminated the stained glass windows. It was a humbling experience to play with these amazing musicians, an event to cherish. Paul Winter’s spirit is amazing.

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New York City with Paul Winter

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Today, a wonderful day in Yonkers, including a lovely filet of sole stuffed with crab & scallops in an Italian restaurant near the Hudson river. Now enjoying coffee with a chocolate covered cream puff from a Hungarian pastry shop across from St. John Cathedral while taking a break from rehearsal. It’s going to be an amazing concert tomorrow! More info about the show below. Read More→

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Yukiko will join the Paul Winter Consort for the 16th Annual Summer Solstice Concert at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday, June 18, 2011.

Yukiko Matsuyama joins the Paul Winter Consort for Sunrise Solstice Concert

There’s Magic in the Early Morning Time

When I’m awake in the darkness before dawn — as the birds begin to sing and the Earth prepares for the Sun — it feels like the world is beginning again. There’s something precious about that virginal early morning time, when we’re free of our habitual patterns and obligations. It was my dream of evoking this ambience in music that was the original inspiration for Summer Solstice.

At 4:30 a.m., in total darkness, we embark on a continuous two-hour musical journey, with players stationed in distant corners or moving among the audience. At some point we hear the first birds of the morning chorus, who always seems to blend with the music. Before long we sense that the Cathedral’s great stained-glass windows are slowly beginning to illuminate with the first light of the sun. The growing light sparks the music, and rhythmic energy begins to emerge.

This is the perfect space, and event, for the music from our new album Miho: Journey to the Mountain. The unfolding journey in the album, from contemplative to celebrative is an analog to this gradual evolution from the darkness to the dawn.    – Paul Winter

More info and tickets at:


This morning at 7:20 am Yukiko was interviewed and performed at the Zip! studios in Tokyo. One of the most popular morning shows in Japan, it provided a wonderful opportunity for Yukiko to share her music with a very large audience in Japan. After a solo original composition, Yukiko was joined by Hirotaka Ogawa for a lovely duet. The two are collaborating on new material which is expected to be released later this year.


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What is a Koto?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Considered the national musical instrument of Japan, a standard koto is comprised of 13 movable bridges with 13 strings. Made from the finest kiri wood, it is played by using three different fingers, namely the middle finger, the index finger and the thumb. It is often adorned with various types of materials like metal figures, tortoise shell as well as inlays of ebony and ivory.

Japanese Koto played by Yukiko Matsuyama

Yukiko Matsuyama with Koto (photo by Dan Redd)

A standard Japanese koto is usually inches wide and 72 inches long. There is also the Chinese koto or yo-kin, which is a small music instrument Read More→

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