The Panache Orchestra

The Panache Orchestra

 Los Angeles, California, USA

Virtuoso instrumental duo The Panache Orchestra combines the elegance and discipline of a classical ensemble with the current sound and charisma of a pop band. One might describe their sound as "catchy melodies reminiscent of The Beatles performed by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli".


The Panache Orchestra ( is an exceptionally versatile international ensemble that got started in Tokyo, Japan in mid 1998 not long after Brenda K (classically trained violinist) decided to go into voluntary exile there for a year or so with the intention of getting out of music. Shortly thereafter, she and Chi "Mr. Groove" Saito, another career musician who had also just quit playing professionally (purebred rock player with extensive study of the great music of the world) met by a freak accident in a landmark sushi bar in the Azabu district (Tokyo) owned by a close friend of his. It was love at first sight, so they promptly began working together, cut an EP and debuted at Club Cay, a major Tokyo venue in the Aoyama district under the title "Brenda and Me" in 1998. This led to subsequent appearances at prominent festivals and venues.

After various reconfigurations, relocations and name changes, they presently make their home in Los Angeles, CA and perform principally as an acoustic violin/guitar duo featuring accomplished professional multi-instrumentalists Chi Saito of Tokyo, Japan (guitar - see individual bio below) and Brenda K of San Diego, CA (violin - see individual bio below), but can alternately perform as a full band, expanding their line-up with first rate players from amongst the musicians they have had the privilege of working with since their stateside debut.

They have enjoyed an unusually warm welcome to the ultra-competitive environment of Southern California/Los Angeles since their official US launch in 2008, being enthusiastically received at fine arts events and major regional music festivals, as well as club dates and house concerts. Their high quality, cross-genre original music consistently wins over audiences, promoters and other musicians at such diverse events as celebrity fund raising galas, artist receptions and shows at internationally renowned galleries, school performances and informal house concerts; and they are equally at home performing in festivals highlighting such diverse musical idioms as world music, folk, blues, Americana and roots/rock. It is worth noting that The Panache Orchestra was the first ever Japanese-led ensemble to be presented at the Adams Avenue Roots and Folk Festival in San Diego, CA in April 2009.

At the end of 2008, The Panache Orchestra recorded and released a double album titled "10 Strings" featuring their all-original instrumental repertoire, stripped down to its bare essence of the natural sound of the acoustic guitar and violin. This two-disc set is their first commercial release since the project was mothballed for nearly 10 years, and constitutes a quick pen-and-ink sketch of their extensive and wide-ranging repertoire, hinting at things to come. The title "10 Strings" refers to the album having been recorded in "live" format using only the acoustic guitar (six strings) and violin (four strings) with no overdubs. They are currently working on a follow-on project scheduled for release in early 2010 that will feature more elaborate arrangements and production of their music. The Panache Orchestra is firmly committed to creating high quality, truly original music the old school way: by writing according to their inspiration without trying to sound a certain way or copycatting other artists in order to sell records or become famous; and writing for the instruments that they can play competently instead of using machines to "manufacture" instrumental parts. They work hard and rehearse regularly so they can consistently deliver sharp, strong live performances and clean, precise one-take tracks in the studio without having to rely on the engineer "photoshopping" their work at the mixing board. In fact, they prefer not to use a click track or sound isolation when recording because they think it compromises the air-tight ensemble sound they have developed after many years of working together.

Their highly crafted instrumental repertoire spans a wide array musical genres reflecting Brenda K's Euro-American classical foundation and Chi's highly enriched rock 'n roll roots, meshing together in an eclectic blend of crossover classical/jazz sensibilities infused with pop/rock/blues/roots/ vernacular, with a number of pieces drawing their inspiration from Chi's Japanese heritage. It has often been suggested that their music is especially well-suited to healing/holistic health and wellness applications, and is just as appropriate for soundtrack material for various media as it is exciting to listen to in a concert setting.

Although their music rigorously defies being pigeon-holed in any market-friendly genre niche, and no one has ever been able to come up with any "sound-alikes", the broad consensus is that they have a truly original, distinctly transcontinental sound with universal appeal, having the refined elegance and discipline of a classical chamber ensemble but with the accessibility, current s


"10 Strings" The Panache Orchestra, 2008, Los Angeles, CA

"Neo" The Panache Orchestra (aka "theXiles" and "Brenda & Me"), 1999, Tokyo, Japan

Various titles as side players for other artists

Set List

We have several hours of performance-ready original repertoire. Set length can be adjusted according to the need of the event (maximum 1 hr. sets w/20 minute breaks between them.

Our repertoire falls fairly evenly into the following four main cross-genres: meditative/new age/crossover classical; chanson/alt-folk; world fusion; and pop/rock/roots with a few jazz/blues fusion tunes. Shows can easily be biased toward those principal genres.

Song titles as follows:

The Panache Orchestra Master Song List

Title Genre Tempo

Ai World Pop-Japanese med
Arakicho Street World/trad. Japanese med
A Shitty Day Prog Rock med
Awakening Xover Classical slow
Birds Float on the Oil Xover Classical-Calypso slow/fast
Carousel World/Latin Jazz-Calypso med
Coronado Bridge Xover Classical slow
Dream is Over World/Latin Jazz/bossa nova OR pop ballad med
Drunkard's Blues Blues/Jazz med
Fairy Tale Xover Jazz med-fast