Swannanoa composer teams with skilled fiddler


Akira Satake, composer and master banjo player, joins forces with multi-genre violinist Duncan Wickel on Jan. 23 at White Horse Black Mountain for an evening of original music combining jazz, Celtic, Appalachian and world music.

A native of Osaka, Japan, Akira Satake of Swannanoa discovered the banjo through Flatt and Scruggs recordings. Relocating to New York City in his 20s, he honed an innovative banjo style over two decades in venues from Greenwich Village to Carnegie Hall. He also went on to master the shamisen, a Japanese relative of the banjo, which he’s integrated into his musical vision.

Satake’s original compositions blend myriad influences. His talents have been displayed on the concert stage and on recordings by artists such as Shawn Colvin, Nancy Griffith, Jim Lauderdale, Hazel Dickens, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka, and he’s occupied the producer’s chair for work by Tim O’Brien, Mamadou Diabate, Johnny Cunningham and flamenco guitarist Gerardo Nunez.

Violinist and composer Duncan Wickel started playing as a child growing up in a prodigiously musical Asheville clan. His early mastery of classical technique and Irish fiddling has expanded to a command of creative renditions of jazz, rock, old-time, and bluegrass tunes. His virtuosity and improvisational skills in any genre have made him an in-demand soloist, accompanist and collaborator for artists across the musical spectrum.

Wickel is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. He violinist currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Hardly worlds apart

Who: Akira Satake and Duncan Wickel

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 23

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15 advance, $18 door