Not your usual sex­tet

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

FLUTE ninja.

That’s the nick­name Ja­panese-born Miho Wada has carved out for her­self on the New Zealand mu­sic scene.

And the Re­muera woman is ready to take her pock­et­sized orches­tra to new heights.

The 35-year-old has been at the helm of six-player band Miho’s Jazz Orches­tra since 2011.

They are re­leas­ing a 13-track al­bum on Novem­ber 30, Live at The Lab, which was recorded in a sin­gle take.

Wada started mak­ing mu­sic almost as soon as she could talk.

The af­fec­tion­ate nick­name came about be­cause of her speed, Wada says.

‘‘I started at 2 or 3 years old. It used to be ter­ri­ble, my fam­ily would be re­ally em­bar­rassed. I would be singing in the su­per­mar­ket, in the shops, any­where.

‘‘Peo­ple called me the ninja be­cause I played re­ally fast. It’s just tricks I learnt in Cuba. Flute tricks, not magic tricks.’’

Wada’s feel-good mu­sic is a heady com­bi­na­tion of AfroCuban and J-pop, in­flu­enced by con­tem­po­rary jazz.

The orches­tra com­pli­ments the mix with a va­ri­ety of in­flu­ences in­clud­ing a clas­si­cally-trained cel­list, a folk singer-song­writer gui­tarist, a Brazil­ian reg­gae bass player, a funk elec­tric vi­o­lin­ist and a South African drum­mer.

They came to­gether to raise money for the Christchurch earth­quake re­cov­ery and have not been able to part ways since.

Mu­sic has taken her so much fur­ther than she ever imag­ined, Wada says.

The orches­tra has toured Aus­tralia and Ja­pan twice and Wada has per­formed in­ter­na­tion­ally with artists in­clud­ing Iggy Pop, Nigel Kennedy and Ska Cubano.

This year she got to record four tracks with Johnny Cash’s bass player, Dave Roe, at the leg­endary Sun Stu­dio in Mem­phis.

In her spare time, Wada can be found teach­ing mu­sic at King’s School.

‘‘When I was about 5 there was a con­cert in the lo­cal park, I thought to my­self: ‘One day, when I’m big, I want to do that’.

‘‘That was the height the ca­reer I imag­ined.’’

Bass player Leo Corso, of Mt Roskill, says the band’s strength lies in its dif­fer­ence.

The 29-year-old play­ing gui­tar in when he was 11.

His mother said she would buy him the in­stru­ment if he stopped break­ing the

of started

Brazil win­dows with his foot­ball.

Play­ing mu­sic around the world is a dream come true, he says.

‘‘I’m not a rock star or any­thing, and I don’t pre­tend to be, I just want to play my mu­sic and be happy.’’

Miho’s Jazz Orches­tra will em­bark on a na­tional tour this month with their new al­bum and play un­til De­cem­ber 30.

The tour kicks off in Auck­land at the Pt Che­va­lier RSA on Novem­ber 30.

Go to mi­howada.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz to see a sneak peek of the orches­tra’s live al­bum. Rock­ing out: Miho Wada with orches­tra mem­bers An­drew Ru­dolph (gui­tar), Leo Corso (bass), James Donaldson (cello), Pas­cal Roggen (vi­o­lin) and Jared Des­vaux de Marigny (drums).

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