Biography

Nanako Sato is a jazz musician, originally from Japan, who performs regularly around Christchurch. She is a multi-instrumentalist (piano, keyboards, guitar, ukulele, flute, trumpet and all other percussion instruments) who also utilise her strong vocal skills for her own groups and other backup singing works. She regularly performs with jazz duo “Sophisticated Lady Jazz Duo” where she sings and plays the keyboard, flute and trumpet with an awesome jazz guitarist Hanafi Machirus in Christchurch. She also performs with various other private function bands like her all-girls trio “The Organic Jazz Band“, a jazz trio”Elevator”, and private function band “The Garden City Combo“.  For the larger scale bands, Sato is in two different big bands (17-18 piece), “The Garden City Big Band” where she plays the piano and sings, and New Zealand’s own All Girl Big Band where she plays piano or trumpet in that band.

Nanako works as an accompanist, arranger, choir director, vocal coach, conductor and musical director. She has been an enthusiastic choir director as well as vocal coach and musical director for musicals for last five years. She accompanied four amazing top jazz singers Jennine Bailey, Tessa Quayle, Toni Randle, and Courtenay Washington at the Jazz Festival in 2012 at the Women in Jazz.

“Be prepared to swing with the Divas during an evening of sultry smooth jazz presented by some of New Zealand’s top female jazz talent. In this concert, Tessa Quayle, Toni Randle and Courtenay Washington join Christchurch’s very own jazz chanteuse, Jennine Bailey in tribute to the wonderful women in jazz. In turn, our four leading ladies will take to the stage to express their admiration and respect for the women who paved the way and influenced their personal journey into the world of jazz. This concert will feature stunning performances of Feeling Good, Skylark, New York State of Mind, Lullaby of the Leaves, and much more. An incredible musical event that is not to be missed!” Jennine Bailey (vocals), Tessa Quayle (vocals), Toni Randle (vocals), Courtenay Washington (vocals), Rachael Treveille (sax), Nanako Sato (piano), Michael Story (bass), Andy Keegan (drums). – Press Release –

She was a member of one of New Zealand’s premier corporate, wedding and function eight-piece cover band ‘Studio 54‘. The band performed at the New Year’s Eve countdown band in 2010 in the Cathedral Square.

Nanako was a former accompanist for Ariana Tikao group and toured all around New Zealand (Wahine Toa Tour in 2010) as well as appeared in the Christchurch Arts Festival in 2009 Ariana Tikao’s show “Ōhāki”. Follow the links to view a couple of Ariana’s original composition performed at the festival: RainbowTuia and Korakorako.

“Review from Harbour Light Theatre show: Unique styles to enjoy (The Press, 22 May 2010, Page 17) by Chris Pole. Hannah Howes and Ariana Tikao have combined their talents to tour New Zealand together through May and June, taking in many smaller towns. Beginning last night in Christchurch they opted for the cosy confines of Lyttelton, bringing their unique styles to the atmospheric Harbour Light Theatre. Both artists fleshed out their songs with keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Ben Lemi Wood and Nanako Sato, who opened proceedings with four songs of her own.” Chris Pole – The Press

“Christchurch singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Nanako Sato, whose talents on the keyboards are undeniable, matching those skills to her formidable, smoky voice. …her funky lounge and jazz-tinged sounds fitted nicely in with those of her fellow performers, her songs blooming with Ben Wood’s percussion and drumming talents, his brushwork giving a delicate touch to her material.” SFBH, Wellington 30th May 2010 Amanda Mills – NZ Musician

Nanako holds M.Mus in Composition, B.Mus (Hons.) from University of Canterbury majoring in jazz piano performance and composition, Dip.In Teaching and Learning from College of Education, B.Mus from the University of Canterbury and CPIT Jazz School combined degree majoring in jazz piano performance and Diploma in Art from Hokkaido Women’s College.

Nanako has worked as a translator in the film and music industry: Dororo (2007), Hayley Sings Japanese Song 2 (2009).

Nanako is a keen educator who teaches in the secondary education sector as well as she produces tutorial videos for instruments online. She also has a Japanese tutorial website.