Mieko Miyazaki koto
NGuyen-Le guitars
Prabhu Edouard percussions

SAIYUKI is the Japanese name for the « Journey to the West », a renowned Chinese novel written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng'en. This text relates the expedition to India, during the 8th century, of bonze Xuanzang , in quest for sacred buddhist texts. His main escort in this epic fantasy is Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King. a very mischievous character, full of magic. He can fly on the clouds or change himself in a genie or a fabulous monster. The Chinese Monkey King has also an Indian brother : Hanouman, one of the most popular gods of Hinduism. In China & Japan, the « Journey to the West » has always been an inspiration for some very diverse adaptations: painting rolls, Peking Opera, a Pop Opera from Damon Albarn, Mangas, TV serials, video games like Dragon Ball Z… I would like to use this « Journey to the West » as the image of journeys, both real or imaginary, which bring the musicians here to create this music. Like a quest for a secret where one has to go through the adventures of Elsewhere, while keeping the most precious treasure : identity. From Viêt-Nam to India through Japan, we weave the threads of silk which draw an Asia with no borders. Every one has his own center point (the Western world aimed at by the Chinese novel was India), but here & now it is exploding : The Center is plural, Dialogue has started, connections are opening up !

Each Saiyuki musician is blessed with a double culture, coming from tradition & modernity altogether. Each one is a virtuoso of his very specific instrument. Prabhu & Mieko can be genuinely traditional. One has played with the living god of hindustani flute Hariprasad Chaurasia, whereas the other can perform a Japanese classical piece from 18th century for the Imperial couple. But they are also living ethnic musicians, connoisseurs of styles & techniques of today’s music, curious about new meetings & open to the potentialities our world can offer.

My language is Jazz, but I have chosen to open it; to feed it with other essential cultures that fascinate me & remind me of my origins. As a jazz musician I have as much fun improvising with them as with other great jazz musicians. The challenge is always there, as well as freedom & inspiration. Improvisation, this instantaneous understanding & creation process, pushes away the limits of our cultural encounter. Saiyuki is our playground where identities have so much to share & to learn from the other. Deep in the earth, the roots. Up from the skies, the leaves of the trees…
Prabhu Edouard