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‘A Colorful Blend of Music’

It’s taken her a while, and her journey has been a fascinating one, but Alicia Saldenha is finally doing what fate intended, right here in the Kansai region. Hailing from the Caribbean, Alicia is an eclectic singer with a sunshine soul. As the cold winter draws in, why not drop by one of her shows and shine a little rocksteady light on your November nights. 

Where are you from and how long have you been living in Japan?

I’m originally from the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, a tiny island in the Caribbean. I moved to Japan 8 years ago as a research student studying foreign languages. I decided to pursue a graduate degree in ethnomusicology and graduated last year. Now my focus is on performing, songwriting and doing some recording next year.

What kind of music do you write and perform?

It’s a mix of jazz, soul, and of course some Caribbean influence is in there as well. I like to call it, "a colorful blend of music."

Do you have anything in particular that influences your songwriting?

Well the music I write has many different influences: classical, jazz, soul, reggae. I have many jazzy songs, but I also have soulful ones, and every now and then I’ll put in a reggae or Caribbean song. My writing takes me on a kind of musical journey, so I want people to join on that journey when they come to see me perform. I also have one song, "Oooh Boy", that has some Japanese lyrics.

OK. So what does a performance with Alicia Saldenha look like?

Well my band is mainly composed of bass, guitar and drums, and I sometimes have a steel pan and saxophone. But recently I’ve also been doing acoustic shows with just guitar and sometimes percussion.

Wow, you have a steel pan. It’s rare to find someone in Japan who plays steel pan, isn’t it? 

Yes. My steel pan player is Susumu Muraji, a really talented guy. He’s been to Trinidad many times and now teaches about the instrument and how to play it.

Where can people go and check out your live show?

Right now most of my shows are in the Kansai area but I’m looking to start playing more in other regions. Sometimes I also do private functions in hotels or with other musicians.

Do you have any music for sale?

Right now, nothing, but hopefully I’ll be recording some songs in the near future.

When is your next live show?

My next show is on Sunday, November 23rd, at Great Blue in Kobe. The charge is ¥3300 and the opening act, Hanibal Luis, will be on at 7:00. I’ll be on at 8:00.  

OK, great! Thanks, and break a leg!

Thank you. 

More information on Alicia Saldenha can be found at the following sites: