Mountain Castle is the Japanese translation of Mikio and Edwing’s last name, Sankey. “San” can be translated as mountain and “key” (“ki”) can be translated as castle.
The second CD of the Mountain Castle Projects is entitled: Sankey Brothers with Jahsha. The music in this CD is a departure from the first CD. We have used a different lead singer (Ynez Anthony was the lead singer on the Into the Mountain CD) with the framework of the material being geared more to fit Jahsha’s style of singing. This second CD features the lead vocals of singer Jahsha and the screaming sound of the 1950’s Fender Telecaster of Edwing. The songs have more of a rhythmic bounce and an upbeat tempo with a blending of American rhythm n’ blues with rock. I call this music “Old School New.” All the songs are written by members of the band.
Edwing Sankey plays guitar, keyboards, zithers, Butterfly harp and is the composer and arranger for many of the tunes on this CD. While in elementary school in Maryland, Edwing started playing the clarinet with the school orchestra. He was one of two selected from his school to participate in the All Ann Arundale County All Star Band. Edwing later switched to guitar while attending junior high school in Okinawa, Japan and was fortunate to start playing professionally in afternoon shows for the military USO clubs and various nightclub gigs at a very early age. Edwing has played in hundreds of club gigs throughout California, New Mexico, Arizona and the southern states from Texas through to Florida from the 1970’s to the present. He has played guitar with the Hollywood Flames, Honey Drippers, Flamingoes, the Jewel Akins Review, and with vocalists: O.C. Smith, Ernie Banks, Jimmy Witherspoon, Rita Graham and Yvonne Butler. His real passion is jazz guitar, especially in the format of an organ, drums, guitar trio setting. Edwing has played jazz guitar with various organists including: Genghis Kyle, James Rudy, Craig Briscoe, Rudy Pitt, James Pope, Winston Raval, Jack Maby and Robert Turner. He has 2 vinyl recording as co-leader with Ming Freeman of the East West Band: one entitled Last Tango in Venice and the other entitled Edwing. He also has various CD’s: Kuan Qin (New Age Music), Light Language (jazz), Trap Door (jazz), Indigo Triangle (World Music), a jazz trio CD with Jack Maby and a jazz CD with Robert Turner. Edwing also has 2 CD’s made in China: one is a compilation of various songs and the CD features Edwing on Kapok ukulele.
Jahsha worked for 6 years in Japan, mainly in Nagoya City for the Apollo Theater. She appeared on several Japanese TV shows and sang at many private parties, sang for the oil companies, representatives of Japan and for the Lions Club of Japan. Jahsha also performed for the Japanese Prime Minister, entertained at a large party for the Akebono, the Sumo champion and worked at the beautiful Nagoya Castle resort of Japan. Jahsha sang for the opening act for “The Year of the Rat Chinese Ceremony,” and at the Chinese Kung Fu convention in Los Angeles.
Jahsha has worked internationally in: the Philippines, in Oman, in Jordan, in Amman, as well as worked for 6 months in Sardinia, Italy with the world famous James Brown and with Matt Johnson. She has recorded with Stevie Wonder and worked with producer Hal Davis. Jahsha has 2 international records out of London under the name Janette Renee AKA Jahsha. Jahsha has worked with a lot of charities, the biggest being Hungry Child Production feeding the homeless children of the greater Los Angeles area. She is a very big advocate for homelessness for children charities.
The second version of Mountain Castle consists of: Edwing Sankey, main composer, lead guitarist, ukulele, zithers, and butterfly harp; Mikio Sankey, composer and guitarist; Jahsha Moore, lead vocalist and lyricist; Winston Ravel, keyboards, Tadashi Namba, keyboards, recording and remix engineer: Samson Young, drums and bass; and Tim Luce bass and vocals. Additional backup vocals are by: Ynez Anthony, Gretje Angell and Virenia Lind. Jean Sudbury plays violin on Around the Corner.
The first version of Mountain Castle consists of: Mikio Sankey, main composer and guitarist; Ynez Anthony, lead vocalist and lyricist; Edwing Sankey, guitar, ukulele, zithers, butterfly harp, keyboards and composer; and Tadashi Namba, keyboards, recording and remix engineer.
Friends of the Mountain Castle project include:
Lester McFarland (electric bass); Samson Young (drums); Hector Quintanilla-Galvan (congas, timbales and percussions); Jean Sudbury (violin and viola); Maury Baker (drums); Cal Bezemer (piano – When the Leaves Turn Green); Carl Royce (acoustic upright bass – Couldn’t See the Truth); Winston Ravel (piano); Billy Johnson (congas –Keep Smiling); Virenia Lind (backup vocals); Gretje Angell (backup vocals).
Mountain Castle Music is based in Los Angeles, California led by Mikio Sankey. The musicians are an eclectic blend of professional creative artists. This is a musical journey into what I call a Mountain Story. I don’t know what to call the music other than Mountain Castle Music. All the music consists of original composition. The songs are a blend of rock, rhythm & blues, a tinge of latin, sounds of Asia, country, jazz, folk and Americana.
Some songs in the double album Into the Mountain might seem a little long. But, sometimes when we are a little older, it takes longer to tell a story. Perhaps we have more to share. Enjoy the Journey into the Mountain. This will be a double-disc album.
Ynez Anthony began singing early in life. She has enjoyed a successful career performing on stage, television and traveling the world as a background singer for some of the most famous singers and entertainers including: Olivia Newton-John, Marvin Gaye, Telly Savalez, Englebert Humperdinck, Demis Roussos , Juliette Prowse, Tony Orlando, Helen Reddy, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Anthony Newley, Lanie Kazan, Robert Goulet, Danny Kaye, Eddie Albert, Jose Feliciano and others.
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- Two Gentlemen of Verona
In the 1970s, Mikio played hundreds and hundreds of club gigs throughout California, New Mexico, Arizona, the southern United States and in Okinawa, Japan. In those days, if you wanted to get your music recorded and heard by a larger audience, you had to sign with a record company. At a certain point, he became disillusioned with the power held by the record companies being able to dictate the future of a band or vocalist and to stick you into one genre. He got disgusted with the music scene and quit playing.
Mikio took a 35 year sojourn and ended up going to acupuncture school and receiving a Masters Degree and Doctorate in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture. He eventually wrote 7 books in the Esoteric Acupuncture Series.
Something happened in the very end of 2014/ early 2015 and Mikio purchased 2 old Gibson Les Paul guitars and started playing again. (He had not touched a guitar for the previous 20 years.) He was surprised that after a week he was able to pick up right where he left off 35 years earlier.
This musical journey started in 2017 with Ynez Anthony and me (Mikio) just getting together for fun and playing some tunes that I had written. This process eventually turned into a more serious project. I recruited my brother Edwing to play lead guitar, ukulele and zithers on several of the recordings. We started the recording process at Marc Viner studio in Los Angeles. Later Tadashi Namba joined as the recording and remix engineer where most of the work is being done at Mountain Castle Studios. Tadashi Namba also added keyboards to several of the tunes.