"Gato Libre began as a duo with Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass and myself on trumpet. After a few gigs we felt the need for a chordal instrument, so we got Kazuhiko Tsumura to join us on guitar. We also wanted an instrument that could provide a sustained, sad tone, so I asked Satoko Fujii if she'd like to play accordion.
Fixating on the opportunity to eat the delicious curries served at Otoya-Kintoki, our live venue, Fujii immediately said yes - even though she didn't own an accordion. At an instrument store in Kanda, Fujii picked up a chines-made accordion for 70,000 yen, the cheapest in the shop. Its sound - lound and bright, cheap and plaintive - is perfect for Gato Libre. She still uses this instrument.
That someone as lazy as I am could keep Gato Libre going until this, our fourth CD release, is largely thanks to Otoya Kintoki, the live house where we play in Nishi-Ogikubo, Tokyo. As soon as we finish a performance there, regardless of wheterh customers showed up or not (usually the latter), the couple who run the place always ask us, "When can you play here next? Do you have an open date next month?" To which I say, "Are you sure that's all right with you? Hardly anyone ever shows up at our gigs." To which they warmly respond, "Never mind that, we like the Gato!" If we didn't have a place like Otoya-Kintoki at which to perform regularly, given my passive tendencies I'm pretty sure that Gato would have long since gone out of business.
We are also blessed by a small but devoted cadre of fans who come to nearly every gig. Some travel from as far away as New York or the Kokuriku side of Japan. This makes me both grateful and dumbfounded. The world is a mysterious place and you never know what will happen. By some quirk or error of fate, who knows, Gato could suddenly become the next big thing. Yesterday at the Yokohama Arena, tonight at Otoya-Kintoki, tomorrow at Tokyo Dome... we could get used to that."-Natsuki Tamura