Originally originating from Tokyo, Japan, Naoko the Rock will showcase her own special blend of aficionado reggae on the DJ Derek Stage at Wilkswood Reggae 2018.
From four years old, Naoko Itami trained as a classical pianist and steadily absorbed a wide range of music which eventually came to include the reggae genre. By the age of 19, Naoko regularly organised reggae events such as ‘Oldies but Rudies’, ‘Carib Soul’ and ‘7UP!’ – spinning tracks in her home city. In 2001, she moved to London and joined a band as a percussionist gigging around the capital whilst still getting her obligatory reggae fix via Jah Shaka’s legendary sound system. The dissolution of her band prompted Naoko’s return behind the decks and to the city’s skanking scene. Prominent residencies included Dogstar’s ‘Roots Vibe’ (Brixton) and David Katz’s renowned ‘Dub Me Always’ based at Upstairs at The Ritzy (Brixton).
In 2011, Naoko joined Tiny T’s deejay collective, Ska Lavin’, alongside Asher G ‘the Rocksteady Daddy’ and Eddie Oxman. Together, they specialised in playing authentic Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae at popular London club nights such as ‘Rootikal’ and ‘Tighten Up’ attracting connoisseur vinyl reggae fans of all ages.
Naoko’s memorable appearances across European cities culminated in a tour of Japan with Asher G in 2014, and that year also saw her featured in a full colour, two-page interview for the esteemed Record Collector magazine. To date, highlights of her musical career have been playing with Axis Valv-A-Tron Sound System at Reggae Geel Festival 2015 (Belgium), and a solo set at Rototom Sunsplash 2017 (Spain).
Naoko is currently a member of the celebrated Sisters of Reggae, an all-female DJ collective, who recently featured in ID magazine. In May 2018, she will be part of an international showcase event, ‘Woman of the Ghetto’ (Rome), at its series finale.