AfuriKo – a Japanese portmanteau word combining “Afurika” (アフリカ) and the suffix “Ko” (子) which means “child” – is an African infused jazz duo comprised of percussionist Akiko Horii and pianist/keyboardist Jim Funnell. Like a modern-day griot, they celebrate traditional heritage from around the world through the prism of spellbinding grooves and eccentric harmonies.
Their first two albums – On the Far Side (2014) and Style (2016) – were produced with the support of SACEM (the French Society of Authors, Composers, and Music Publishers). Their new opus Tao (2019), successfully funded on Kickstarter, is a jazz journey from ancestral Africa to NYC, steeped in deep grooves with shades of Funk, Pop, Reggae, Bulgarian, and Enka music.
Propelled into existence when Jim & Akiko’s paths crossed in Paris as a result of following a shared, irrepressible call to Africa, its culture, and its Diaspora, AfuriKo began experimenting in 2010. A playful blending of tones and rhythms came to life, and a unique dialogue between the ancestral stories of the djembe and the modern voice of digital pianos and synthesizers was quickly initiated.
Since 2017, Akiko and Jim have been living in Queens, New York, letting the energy that emanates from the most ethnically diverse part of the world nourish their creative process on a daily basis.