Strings Across the Seas podcast

From one corner of the world to another, we discover stories of musicians and their journey with unique musical instruments, far away from home.

Music is everywhere. It is a uniting force, tying people from different parts of the world together. However, there are lots of sounds still waiting to be heard.

We speak to musicians who have found their passion in stringed instruments that are not well-known globally, but hold great significance in certain traditions, cultures and folklores. These unique instruments find themselves in pages of history books, and soon, our podcast.

Welcome to Strings Across The Seas, where musicians who travel from their home country to another, talk about their experiences and tell us what made them do it. We listen to their music and their dreams.

Episode 01: “Kind of like a Banjo” – Shamisen and Hibiki Ichikawa

Journey: Japan –> UK

In our first episode, we talked to Hibiki Ichikawa to discover his relationship with the shamisen, and how he ended up staying in London. From composing music for an Oscar-nominated film to performing at the British Museum, and even collaborating with Nike, his journey has been nothing but inspiring. We bring to you, Europe’s only Tsugaru shamisen player, all the way from Japan.

To listen to more of Hibiki Ichikawa’s music on his Shamisen, you can check him out on Spotify and visit his Instagram page.

Episode 02: “Indian Music with an English Accent” – Sitar and Jonathan Mayer

Journey: UK –> India –> UK

In our second episode, we explore British-born Jonathan Mayer’s relationship with Indian classical music, and how he gradually fell in love with the sitar owing to his Indian roots. His journey captures the harmony of Western classical and the melody of Indian classical, and how he traded the violin for this Indian instrument, enriching the way he sees and feels music. 

Here’s Jonathan, one of the UK’s most prominent sitar players, who has not only composed orchestral symphonies and performed Indo-Jazz music, but has also worked with rapper Riz Ahmed. 

To listen to more of Jonathan Mayer’s music on his sitar, you can check him out on Spotify and visit his Instagram page.