Japanese Salsera: Born to sing salsa!
Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Yoko was born to sing salsa.
Yoko’s singing career began at the age of fifteen when she fronted a local rock band in Osaka. While attending the Kyoto University of Foreign Language, Yoko majored in Spanish language studies, which provided her with an excellent foundation in Spanish. Around the same time, Yoko discovered the music of salsa and she was immediately hooked. She wanted to learn more about the musical genre of salsa, but she was unsure if it even existed in Japan.
As a part-time job, Yoko started singing at local jazz clubs, and it didn't take long before her great talent was discovered In 1996 she was asked to join the salsa band ‘Conjunto Mamborama’ as a vocalist. They performed regularly at a salsa club in Osaka called Pata Pata De La Salsa. With her big voice and powerful lungs, singing in a large club like Pata Pata was a great opportunity for Yoko. At that point she completely abandoned her career as a jazz singer. Word of her talent got out among musicians in Japan, and she was invited to sing as the main vocalist for ‘Las Estrellas’, a salsa band formed by the former members of the famous Japanese salsa band "Orquesta De la Luz".
In 1997, she moved to the United States and started performing with local band and her own group. In 2004 she was invited to perform in Japan with Herman Olivera, a prestigious figure within the New York salsa scene who is currently the lead singer of the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra.
In 2006, Yoko found a great production team, who believe strongly in her talent and potential. Mr. Willie Ruiz, Yoko’s musical director, comments that, “if you don’t see her in person, you’d never know if it was a Japanese or an Hispanic woman singing."
After her debut with Chino Nunez and Friends at the New York Salsa Congress in 2006, she became a lead singer of the band and sang a duet with international salsa star Ray Sepulveda “Hoy les cantamos” on Chino’s 2nd album “Dr. Salsa”. This became an international hit topping the chart in Pamana. The song was also featured on XM Caliente in April 2008. In January 2008 she made a trip to Greece in 2008 with Chino. This Japanese salsera is ready to sing out her fantastic music for all the world to hear!