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. Lisa has released four solo albums of original music on her independent label (Yume Records) and one EP with the band Cloudsang. She has toured multiple conventions
and folk events around the world.
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 translate 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” in 2001. A trio was
formed (composed of Lisa on vocals and piano, John Metcalf on percussion,
and Deborah Shields on cello) to perform and record “Pearl Diver” in 2005, Lisa’s
second album of original songs inspired by Japanese history, folk myths, and
ocean themes. In 2006, 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.”
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.
Lisa recorded the EP Write as Rain in the band Cloudsang with guitarist and husband Leon Monroe and drummer Phil Mauck in 2013 and released it on Yume Records in 2014. Inspired by eclectic tastes that range from indie bluegrass to classically influenced contemporary pop, this special EP is currently available from Lisa's website.