Bat of No Bird Island is a work by American composer Paul Kikuchi (b.1977) that draws inspiration from the life of his great grandfather, Zenkichi Kikuchi (1880 - 1965).  Kikuchi never met Zenkichi, but he was left with stories, his written memoir, and a small collection of Japanese 78rpm records.  Bat of No Bird Island is Paul’s musical homage to Zenkichi and a reflection upon the artifacts he left behind.  

Kikuchi composed new works and re-imagined four songs from Zenkichi’s collection into an evening length performance for chamber ensemble.  Blending the textured and fragile sonic landscapes of Japanese 78RPM records, static and feedback generated by old walkie-talkies, and traditional instrumental composition, Bat of No Bird Island is both historic and modernistic; an exploration of identity, culture, tradition, and lineage.  

Performances & Music

Bat of No Bird Island premiered at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, WA in 2013, followed by a sold out performance at the Wing Luke Museum.  The music was recorded at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in 2014, and released as a CD, 10inch vinyl, and download by Prefecture Music in Spring 2015.  The CD and digital download feature the full studio recordings from the project, while the vinyl (limited to 100 copies) pairs two of Kikuchi’s re-imaginations with the two original Japanese songs from which they drew inspiration.


Bat of No Bird Island was made possible by Chamber Music America’s 2012 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Bat of No Bird Island has been presented by:
Earshot Jazz, The Wing Luke Museum, Nonsequitur

Bat of No Bird Island has received additional support from:
The Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, The Jack Straw Cultural Center, Prefecture Musi


Compositions and re-imaginations  ©Paul Kikuchi Music 2013, ASCAP

Recording and production made possible through the Artist Residency Programs at Jack Straw Cultural Center

Recorded by Doug Haire

Mixed by Doug Haire and Paul Kikuchi

Mastered by Nyberg Mastering


Album and website design by Tiffany Lin