Musicians and Instruments:

  • Van-Anh Vo: Dan Tranh  (16-string zither),

Dan Bau  (the monochord),  

Dan T'rung (bamboo xylophone), and vocal

  • Jimi Nakagawa: Taiko drum and percussion
  • Frances Martin: Keyboard
  • Sheldon Brown: Saxophone, clarinet, flute, piccolo, and percussion

Biographies on the Musicians:
-Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ:  Zither, Monochord, Bamboo Xylohone

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo dedicates her life to creating music on the dan Tranh (16-string zither) and fusing her traditional Vietnamese foundation with a freshness of new structures and compositions. Since settled in California, she has been a collaborator and solo artist with such musicians and groups as Kronos Quatet, SOMEI Taiko Ensemble, Nguyen Le, Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Charles Loos, as well as lending her talents to fundraising events for several non-profit organizations. Continually cultivates the beauty and versatility of the dan Tranh to feature her beloved instrument in an international music genre, Van-Anh has been co-composer and arranger for the Oscar® nomimated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, Daughter from Danang (2002), the Emmy® Award-winning film and soundtrack for Bolinao 52 (2008), and the multiple award-winning film A Village Called Versailles (2009). Recently, Van-Anh released her newest CD “She’s Not She” with award-winning composer Do Bao.

Van-Anh began studying dan tranh from the age of four, and graduated with distinction from and taught at the Vietnam Academy of Music. In 1995, Van-Anh won championship in the Vietnam National Dan Tranh Competition along with the first prize for best solo performance of modern folk music. She has since performed in more than fourteen countries and recorded in many broadcast programs inside and outside of Vietnam. Her first CD“Twelve Months, Four Seasons” was released in 2002.

In addition to dan tranh, Van-Anh also performs as soloist on the monochord (bau), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thap luc), the bamboo xylophone (dan t’rung), the k’longput, traditional drums (trong), and vocal. She lives and teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California. For further information regarding dan tranh, traditional Vietnamese traditional music, or future CDs, please visit website: or email: Emmy® Award Winner, Academy Award® Contributor, National Champion on Vietnamese traditional instruments

- Hiroyuki "Jimi" Nakagawa: Taiko and Jazz trap set
Jimi started playing drums when he was in high school and performed with local bands in Japan and San Francisco.

In 1987, Jimi joined the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, directed by Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka and became a performing member and instructor to adults and children. In 1997, he returned to Japan to continue his study of taiko and to perform with Sukeroku Daiko Hozonkai and master Kenjiro Maru of the Wakayama style festival music. In 2009 and 2010, he was granted by NPO Infusion to study "tuzumi, " a Japanese hand drum, with a Master Saburo Mochizuki in Tokyo. In addition to studying Japanese traditional music, he has also studied jazz with celebrated drummer Robert Kaufman, a former professor at the Berkley College of Music. In 1999, he and three other members founded a San Francisco Bay Area based taiko group, Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble and started his taiko school in Oakland.

Jimi has collaborated with Robert Moses and Robert Moses Kin, Dr. Anthony Brown and the Asian American Orchestra, Steven Kent/Ancient Future with renowned musician Habib Kahn and jazz/fusion guitarist, Nguyen Le. Currently, Jimi is performing in Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensamble, as well as Essence, which is led by a Shakuhachi player, Masayuki Koga. Jimi's refined but driving stickwork has been featured in film, video and on stage.

- Frances Martin: keyboard, piano
Frances Martin started playing the piano at age four. At age nine, she began studies with pianist Lyn Bronson of Carmel, Calif., and was soon performing in many recitals, including the Berkeley Junior Bach Festival. At age 14, she performed Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3 as soloist with the Pacific Music Camp Orchestra in Stockton, Calif. Frances holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Santa Clara University, where she studied with acclaimed pianist and teacher Hans Boepple. She was also a student at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif., and the Boronda International Study Program in Taipei, Taiwan.  In addition to being an accomplished classical pianist, Frances constantly explores other styles of music. She has taken many classes at the Jazz school in Berkeley, Calif., focusing on the study and performance of Brazilian music. Frances has a piano studio in Fremont, California.

- Sheldon Brown: saxophone, clarinet, piccolo, flute, alto sax
Composer and woodwind multi-instrumentalist Sheldon Brown formed the Sheldon Brown Group in 1993, and in 1996 he released the jazz/fusion CD "Shifting Currents". Brown tours internationally (most recently with pianist Omar Sosa) to world-renowned venues such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, Moers Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Jazz d'Or, Toronto Jazz Festival and the Spoleto Festival. He is featured on Omar Sosa's CDs "Prietos", "Bembon", "Spirit of the Roots" and "Free Roots" and on Ian Dogole's CDs "Ionospheres" and "Night Harvest".  Brown is a member of San Francisco's Club Foot Orchestra, for whom he has composed scores for Film Roman's cartoon series "The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat" and silent films such as Fritz Lang's "Metropolis", Buster Keaton's "Sherlock Jr." and "Cops", G. W. Pabst's "Pandora's Box" and Robert Wiene's "Hands of Orlac". Club Foot has performed at New York's Knitting Factory, Walter Reade Theater, at Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. Brown performed in Anthony Braxton's "Composition No. 132" at Grace Cathedral as part of the 1986 San Francisco Jazz Festival. He also performs regularly with the Realistic Orchestra.  He currently teaches composition at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, California.  Sheldon appeared here previously with "Hemispheres", featuring Ian Dogole, Paul McCandless and Bill Douglass, with Clarinet Thing, and with the Sheldon Brown Group.