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Kenji Bakuya (kenji@duende-flamenco.com)
Kenji

Kenji's introduction to the beautiful art of Flamenco came at the age of six listening to his father play Malagueñas and Soleares. He has vivid memories of hours spent enjoying his father's old Paco de Lucia LP records not knowing the crucial role this man's revolutionary playing would have in his eventual re-encounter with Flamenco. Years later Paco would become Kenji's foremost inspiration in his lifelong pursuit and devotion to this art.

Of Japanese, Spanish and Mexican heritage, Kenji was born in Mexico into a lively, festive musical ambiance. Growing up in a large musical family, Kenji was exposed to many different styles of music that would shape his love for music in general.

Originally self-taught Kenji recalls borrowing his father's guitar and strumming away in an instinctual attempt to express those emotions often best conveyed through music.

His initial formal training came years later when he began his classical guitar studies. For several years he dedicated himself fully to the classical guitar with emphasis on the works of Heitor Villalobos, Isaac Albeniz, Antonio Lauro, and Francisco Tarrega his favorite classical guitar composer. Yet despite his love for the classical guitar, something was always missing - or rather present; an unexplainable void left unfilled until Flamenco reentered his life and set a new course for his musical future.

Of particular significance was Paco de Lucia's music; a music so profound, so passionate, so deep, expressive and powerful that words cannot begin to describe the Duende experienced through it. Everything else from that point on blends into vague recollections of a vast relief in having found the piece that made him whole - Flamenco. For Kenji Flamenco encompasses not only a form of art, but an understanding of life that is in itself a way of life expressing the most intimate and deepest feelings of the being.

For the past 21 years Kenji has dedicated himself to the art of Flamenco with his main influences coming from the lush music of Paco de Lucia, Sabicas, Niño Ricardo, Mario Escudero, Paco Peña, Juan Martin, Juan Serrano, Vicente Amigo, and Oscar Herrero among others. He studied extensively with Flamenco recording artist Stefan Schyga, classical guitar virtuoso Aquiles Valdez, and a protégé of Sabicas Theodore McKown. For the last 9 years he has performed with the Flamenco troupe Los Gitanos de la Luz Blanca from The Blanca Luz Academy of Performing Arts.