Since her debut, Tanaka has been very active as a powerful shamisen and vocal musician - not only in the world of traditional Japanese music, but also in contemporary music, opera, musical theater,
ethno-pop, avant-garde music, free jazz and improvised music.
In 1982 Tanaka joined the traditional Japanese instrumental ensemble Pro Musica Nipponia, which plays both contemporary and traditional music. In the world of jazz and free improvisation she has played with Japanese musicians like guitarists Kazumi Watanabe and Kazuhisa Uchihashi, saxophonists Akira Sakata and Kazutoki Umezu, percussionist Kiyohiko Semba, and violinist Asuka Kaneko; and non-Japanese musicians like drummers Samm Bennett and David Moss, computer musician Carl Stone, sax player Ned Rothenberg, and guitarist Elliott Sharp. In '94
and '97 she participated in the Tokyo version of John Zorn's Cobra, which was performed entirely by Japanese musicians. In '95 she performed in Butch Morris's Conduction in Tokyo, conducted by Morris.
Tanaka also visited the U.S. in '98 with eight other Japanese musicians, including the late Motoharu Yoshizawa (bass), for Morris's Conduction: Japan Skyscraper project.
In August '95 Tanaka first performed with the band Ground-Zero, led by turntable and guitar player Otomo Yoshihide, and she was a member of
the band from '96 until it disbanded in May of '97. That month she toured with Ground-Zero in Italy, Serbia, Austria, Scotland and England, and also played solo at a number of festivals, including the
Angelica Festival in Bologna, the Ring Ring Festival in Belgrade, and the London LMC Festival.
Yumiko appears on the following SOFA-releases
- Yumiko Tanaka / Ivar Grydeland
«Continental Crust» (futozao shamisen, taisho-goto & voice)