One NY Artist: Composer Fred Ho

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There are thousands of artists is New York City. Some are famous internationally, while others are scratching out a living while perfecting their craft in basements or on stage. WNYC is bringing a few of them to the spotlight, in their own voices.

Here, baritone saxophonist, composer, bandleader, writer and activist Fred Ho. He is the mastermind behind the martial-arts musical theater "Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!"

The play is an homage to the 1970s Japanese manga and samurai movie series "Lone Wolf and Cub." Ho says that that manga had a big impact on him because of its sophisticated production, Japanese-jazz-rock soundtrack, and political message. "It related very closely with my own original Afro-Asian American ideas," he said. "These were really stories about anti-heroes."

Yoshi Amao as the Rogue Assassin and Ai Ikeda as She-Wolf in "Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon!" (Photo by Youn Jung Kim)

The NY premiere of "Deadly She Wolf" comes as Ho is in his seventh year battling colon cancer. The disease is in its terminal phase, and he was given 6 to 18 months to live. "I tried to commit suicide three times in this cancer war, from extraordinary pain," he said. "I tell the story that I met God in hell, not in heaven, but in hell. And God said to me, your time isn't done yet. Get back and fulfill your mission."

Click on the audio link above to listen to Ho talking about the play, and about his radical vision for music and art.