Singer / Pianist / Composer
A fusion of folk, alternative chamber pop, and electronica, Lisa Furukawa's music combines soulful piano and vocal ballads that range in breadth from elegant love songs to complex Celtic jigs full of mythical and historical themes. After four album releases on her independent label (Yume Records), touring multiple conventions and folk events around the world, and a move to the Pacific Northwest, the piano playing songstress often compared by fans to Kate Bush or Tori Amos, is coming into a genre uniquely her own.
Lisa Furukawa is currently recording new original material in the Seattle based duo "Cloudsang" with guitarist Leon Monroe. Inspired by eclectic tastes that range from indie bluegrass to classically influenced contemporary pop, the soon to come EP is sure to turn some heads.
Since 2005 Lisa has been touring Japanese animation and media conventions around the world. She began performing at events such as MTAC (the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention), Realmscon, Mechacon, Otakon, Anime Central, SAC-Anime. In the following years, she performed at almost 50 conventions around the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia (Armageddon Expo). Lisa was the first anime guest at Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA, and has been invited to return year after year to many events. Her performances often surprise audiences with intricate original arrangements of music from series such as Ghost in the Shell, Cowboy Bebop, and Wolf's Rain-to name a few. She has performed music composed by Yoko Kanno and Akira Yamaoka with vocalists such as Ilaria Graziano and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. In addition to creating new arrangements of anime and video game theme songs, Lisa has translated everything from state songs to children's songs into Japanese. She has also helped to translat e anime trailers and documentaries for Studio Ghibli.
Asian and Celtic folk themes blend in Lisa's pop music to compliment her Japanese and Scottish heritage. Lisa has performed at Japan Fest, Japanese consulate functions, the Whose Who in Asian Americans Gala, Ceilidhs in the Highlands of Scotland, and the National Association of Asian American Professionals national conference. Charity work being close to her heart- Lisa has directed multiple charity events and concerts to benefit the Asia Foundation, RAINN, and the American and Japanese Red Cross.
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Lisa grew up in Japan and America with a musical family and studied classical music from the young age of 2. She grew up with grandparents playing the piano (her grandmother was a published lyricist and composer), and her father and uncle playing bluegrass, folk, country, and Hawaiian blues. Her mother was an avid classical, folk, and Scottish music fan, and Lisa began writing songs from an early age.
After receiving her degrees in Music and Asian studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, she recorded her first album of solo piano and vocal work, "This Moment is the Show." A trio was formed in 2001 (composed of Lisa on vocals and piano, John Metcalf on percussion, and Deborah Shields on cello) to perform and record "Pearl Diver," Lisa's second album of original songs inspired by Japanese history, folk myths, and ocean themes. In 2005, Lisa composed and self-produced her third album, "Reaching the Dragon" which was musically inspired by her experience arranging electronic music for anime theme songs. In 2009, while living and teaching in a small village in North Carolina, she released a simple version of what was intended to become an electronic album ("Signal").
Signal deals with ephemeral and spiritual themes. Lisa says, "each song is a different type of ceremonial goodbye song. I lost my Japanese grandmother while I was working on this album, and went through some enormous life transitions with relationships and work and travel. Like the snow falling gracefully to make everything perfect for a day, many things in our lives are transitory. I guess this album was really coming to grips with that and trying to find the beauty and meaning in it."
Lisa has also composed a bilingual children's album, "The Adventures of Chibi Neko Chan." A limited release of some of the songs have been used for charity programs. It will officially be released through her website in the future.
Sci-fi Convention Guest Appearances
- Armageddon Expo Auckland 2009 - October 24-26, 2009 in Greenlane, New Zealand
- Armageddon Expo Melbourne 2009 - October 17-18, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia 2008
- Armageddon Expo Christchurch 2008 - April 26-27, 2008 in Christchurch, New Zealand
- Armageddon Expo Wellington 2008 - April 19-20, 2008 in Wellington, New Zealand 2006
- Dragon*Con 2006 - September 1-4, 2006 in Atlanta, GA
View Lisa Furukawa on FanCons.com for 48 additional guest appearances