Get Adobe Flash player
Melodies between Afghanistan, India and Japan


kengo-saito-1Born in Japan, but he left for the USA at the age of 15, then moving to France afer high school to study the fine arts in hope to become a painter. Meanwihle he had been trained on the Western music on the Violin and on the Guitar. Soon he discovered the North Indian Classical music and started learning the Tabla and the Sitar in India and in France. He became one of the brilliant disciples of the Sitar maestro Pandit Kushal Das from whom he acquired the great technical skills and the aesthetic approach to interpret the Ragas in pure tradition. Based in Paris, Kengo gives private lessons as well as workshops as a visiting teacher in music schools, and performing live concerts all over the world.

Recognized as a rare and a distinguished Rubâb player, Kengo plays the traditional Afghan repertoire with subtle nuances transmitted by Daud Khan Sadozai, a disciple of the legend of Afghan Rubâb; late Ustad Mohammad Omar. Besides promoting the music of this unique instrument, his flexibility and creativity lead him to collaborate and perform in different styles of musical identities ranging from Japan to Greece.

As a composer, he has created a number of original pieces influenced by India, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and Japan. With his compositions, he successfully directed a group of musicians from different traditions for a UNESCO concert in 2010, and for Aid and Relief Concert for Japan’s Tsunami victims in 2011. Working as a musician of the classical and traditional music of North India and Afghanistan, however at the same time he is deeply involved in today’s musical creativity. As a guest or a member, he has been taking part in various projects in different fields like Jazz, Cross Cultural Collaborations, Traditional and Contemporary Dances, Storytelling etc. He has arranged some Japanese folk melodies for Rubâb which is a successful and unique oeuvre reflecting his Japanese roots. His first solo album "JAPANISTAN" was described by the UK review Songlines as "an example of fusion done properly, with skill, nuance and good tase."

Kengo has participated in festivals and performed in various venues in France such as Musée du Quai Branly (Paris), Musée Guimet Auditorium (Paris), Théâtre de Orléans (Orléans), Café de la Danse (Paris), Maison des Arts de Créteil, Téâtre Poirel (Nancy), UNESCO Auditorium (Paris), Festival Rêve d’aborigène (Airvaut), Festival Azimut (la Pesse), Festival au Palais des rois de Majorque (Perpignan), Festival de l’Oh (Val de Marne), Festival Poussière du monde (Suiss) etc., and in overseas like Embassy of India Beijing (China), Hangzhou Opera with Hangzhou Philharmonic (China), with Shenzen Symphonic (China), Visual Arts Centre (Hong Kong), Peninsula Hotel (Hong Kong), Palmeraie de Marrakech (Maroc), India Habitat Centre (Delhi, India), ITC Sangeet Resarch Accademy Kolkata, Weavers Studio Centre for the Arts (Kolakata, India) etc.