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          My journey has been filled with inspiring teachers, people and music from all cultures, and I have always tried to integrate everything that I have learned into my compositions, my performances, and even my daily life.  A fascination with learning and sharing music from around the world has motivated each step I have taken as a musician, composer, educator, and even as a record producer.


          I have been blessed to live in a city with a rich cultural blend where one can hear all types of music, and I have tried to make the most of that opportunity by learning many instruments:  piano, guitar, bass, hand drums, percussion, wadaiko, mandolin, flute, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, marimba, sanxian and many others. I have also been lucky enough to have the opportunity to learn many styles of music in both my university and professional experience and to associate with some of the great talents in those styles. I have recently gathered a handful of some of the finest musicians in Los Angeles under the banner of the WEEfolk ensemble, with the intent of blending and sharing music from around the world and telling the stories of those cultures that influence us.  


          Our current project, for which we were awarded the Aurora Foundation’s yearly Challenge Grant for 2015-2016, is an exploration of the through lines between the Music of the Islands of Japan, and the Celtic music of the people of the British Isles.  In January of 2016, I travelled to Tokyo, Japan where I studied the music of the Japanese biwa (lute) and and shinobue (bamboo flute) recorded music for our project video blending centureis old musics of Ireland and Japan with our collaborator and Biwa master, Nagasu Tomoca.  This will be added to our current recorded works of celtic music and stories to become WEEfolk’s first full length album offering.  We are all very much looking forward to sharing the fruits of this ambitious work with you!


Joel Mankey,

WEEfolk Founder

Joel Mankey - Founder

Octave Mandolin, Flutes, Whistles, Vocals, Guitars, Percussion

- Keiko Cadby

 Violin, Vocals

Mike Penny -


- Sean FayeCullen

Bass, Bodhran, Vocals, 

Guitars, Percussion

Tomoca Nagasu -  

Biwa, Shakuhachi, Vocals 

Shoko Watanabe -


A global folk music project -

WEEfolk Contributors 

Shih-Wei "Willie" Wu -

 Shakuhachi, Flutes,Whistles Wadaiko, Vocals

- Brendan O'Halloran

Bodhran, Drums, Percussion, Vocals, Guitar

- Gigi Rabe

Accordion, Steel Pan

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