The Miho & Diego Duo has been boldly blending Latin and Japanese musical traditions since 2006. Both accomplished musicians in their own right, Miho Takekawa and Diego Coy came together after years of admiring each other’s work and discovering that their sounds could be combined to make something genuinely new and unique. Fittingly, the title of their debut CD, “Quenarimba I,” combines the names of their primary instruments, the quena, a traditional Andean flute, and the marimba. “Quenarimba I” showcases their distinctive combination of warm, natural wood sounds and takes the listener on a musical journey from Japan to South America. Playing a brand of music that is truly their own and not easily categorized, the Duo’s repertoire covers an amazingly wide range of styles with an innovative approach. In the Duo’s three other CDs entitled “Blue Tree,” “Quenarimba II” and “Summer Concert In Live 2008,” they played from an extensive catalog of Andean, traditional South American folk, Brazilian, Japanese, and Latin jazz compositions, as well as original compositions. The Duo has been invited to perform at festivals, universities, and venues all over Washington, Oregon and California. The Duo received their first invitation to Japan Tour in October 2007, where they performed in Tokyo, Kobe, Himi, Izumo and Kumamoto. Since then, they have returned to Japan eight times to hold their educational program and concert series. They have also performed in Chile and Bolivia in 2013.
The Miho & Diego Duo makes it a primary goal to encourage cultural understanding through music. To achieve this goal they have developed a program that has been presented in Japan, the King County Library System, the Seattle Public Library System, Tacoma Public Library System, and various K-12 pubic schools and private schools that introduces youth to Japanese and South American folk music through participation and interactive activities. They also hold lecture recitals that combine both the educational and musical aspects of South American and Japanese music, as well as the history of marimba. They have visited more than 20 different King County Public Libraries for “Once Voice – One Land,” “Holiday Songs Around the World,” and “Ready, Set and Read” programs. For more information on this award-winning educational program, please visit www.mihodiego.com/musicaltrip to find more information.
The Miho & Diego Duo’s music has been heard at Benaroya Hall, Seattle Center, University of Washington Ethnic Cultural Theatre, University of Washington Brechmin Auditorium, Japanese Garden Seattle, Seattle City Hall, Everett Community College, Green River Community College, John Stanford International School, University of Washington Tacoma, Microsoft, Pacific Lutheran University, Bellevue Art Museum, Tacoma Ethnic Fest, Bethany United Christ of Church and other venues in Washington, Oregon and California. They have been supported/sponsored by the King County Public Library System, the Seattle Public Library Immigrant & Refugee Programs, Northwest Immigrant rights Project, Washington State Refugee and Immigrant Conference, Kansai Band Association (Japan), and Seattle International Children’s Festival, City of Renton, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission to name a few. The Duo has also featured on various radio stations, including, KUOW 94.9FM and KBCS 91.3FM. Their recording project with a poet entitled Tu Ángel Francisco has been played on Radio Maria for the Pope Francis’ visit to New York in 2015.
The Miho & Diego Duo has been a recipient of the King County 4Culture Special Program Grant 2007, 2008 and 2009, 2013, 2014 and received an artist residency through the Washington State Artist Trust’s Centrum program Port Townsend, WA. The Duo also received a grant from Awesome Foundation in 2014, and “Artists in Residence” award in 2015, 2016 and 2017 from the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival that was granted by the Washington State Arts Commission and National Endowments for the Arts.
Dr. Miho Takekawa was raised in Tokyo and currently resides in Seattle. She teaches at Pacific Lutheran University, where she heads the percussion studio and directs the school’s percussion and steel drum ensembles. During the 2010-2011 school year, she was an interim professor of percussion at the University of Washington School of Music, where she currently serves as the Japan Tour Coordinator and Activities Liaison.
She is currently serving a board of trustee of an after-school steel pan orchestra, “Steel Magic Northwest”. She is also an organizer of an annual fundraising event for the Tohoku people affected by the 2011’s earthquakes/tsunamis. More information can be found Smile for Japan.
Miho began piano at age three and took up percussion at thirteen, ultimately graduating from Tokyo’s prestigious Kunitachi School of Music. She earned both Master’s and Doctoral degrees in percussion performance from the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where she was awarded the coveted Boeing Scholarship, among other honors.
She is a sought-after performer in many styles of music, working with groups ranging from classical music (such as the Seattle Modern Orchestra) to Mexican banda music to steel band and African drumming. She performs with Diego Coy Musica Colombiana, Pan Duo, Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project and many other groups and is a founding member of the Miho & Diego Duo. Significant awards include a Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship and grants from King County 4Culture. In addition to her own performance career, Miho directed the North Rainbow Steel Drum Group (Sapporo, Japan) and served as an arranger for the Hirosaki University Steel Pan Group.
Inspired to share her passion for music with others, and especially younger musicians, Miho is a board member of Steel Magic Orchestra Northwest, a consultant for the Northwest Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, an annual guest speaker for the University of Washington Percussion Lab, and a co-founder of Smile for Japan, a Seattle-based fundraising event for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. She was also a contributing performer to a fundraising CD to aid victims of the Oso (Washington) Mud Slide.
She has worked to foster cultural exchange between Japanese and American youth groups, leading or coordinating tours by the University of Washington Husky Marching Band and the University of Washington Wind Ensemble (Seattle), Musica Grato Himi (Toyama, Japan), the Tamana Girls High School Band (Japan), the Graham-Kapowsin High School Band (Washington State), the Left Coast Brass Quintet (Seattle), and Seattle percussionist Tom Collier. Many of Miho’s past activities can be found at www.tymusicexchange.com.
Diego Coy is from Santiago de Cali, Colombia. He is the former musical director of Fundacion Viva La Musica and Fundacion Funmusica in Cali, Colombia where he taught Colombian folk music. He began his musical career in 1986 at the Instituto Popular de Cultura de Armenia in Quindio, Colombia. In 1990 he furthered his musical studies at Colombia’s Universidad del Valle in Cali. After that, Diego began his years of journey, traveling to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru to learn the musical traditions and various wind instruments and South American percussion of native Andean cultures. It was during this time that he mastered the quena and the zampoña, and learned to handmake his own instruments.
In 1994 he also contributed his craft skills of hand-made quenas and zampoña for a project called Timpano sponsored by Colombian government through Funmusica. He donated 100 quenas, 100 traverse flutes and 50 zampoñas and taught children in need how to play them. In 1996 he served as the director of Grupo Juglares, which was the declared winner at the Festival José A. Morales El Socorro in Santander, Colombia. As a prize, the group was invited to perform at the Fiesta Latina in South Carolina.
In 1997 he played together with his new band members of Viva la Musica in Hiroshima, Japan at the famous Flower Festival. He also performed with them as member and director at the Festival of Tolerance in Prague, Czech Republic. Diego has since played in Italy, France, and various cities across the US.
Since coming to Seattle in 2003, Diego has been performing at the Seattle Folklife Festival, Washington Flute Circle, University of Washington World Series, Seattle Symphony Educational Program, Seattle Rhythm Festival, Seattle Fiestas Patrias, Seattle Sea Fair, and more. He performs with Grupo Samay, Los Flacos, Sin Fronteras, Soyaya and various Latin and African groups in Seattle. Diego is supported/sponsored by Northwest Heritage Resources Organization. He is also a founding member of the Miho & Diego Duo and you can find Diego’s Afro-Colombian group’s videos at: www.mihodiego.com/diegocoy
Diego is an accomplished sound engineer who specializes in live-performance. (www.diegoaudio.vpweb.com). He has worked with/for Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Grupo Niche, Akon, Yemi Alade, Joe Arroyo, Havana d’Primera, Clinton Fearon to name a few. Diego teaches Afro-Colombian music at Movimiento Afro-Latino Seattle Organization and has received a recording grant from the King County 4Culture Special Project. He is a recipient of Quinbaya Music Education and Leadership Award from Centro Cultural Hispano Americano Organization in Washington.