donderdag 23 september 2010

In Search For The (Great) Sound

Last week I had a sort of small breakthrough, I played the shakuhachi and after playing a longer time, a very nice sound came from my flute! Wow was I the one making it? It was strong, full sounding and very pleasant.  I had this sound before some short times, but now I could reproduce it more at will. Well it isn't easily produced...last day it was gone it seems. More 'Ro buki' will probably do it.
The shakuhachi is sometimes hard to grasp and teaches patience very well. So it does with a new flute I recently acquired. It didn't want to play at first, then sound came, but not very it me, is it the flute? Do I want to go to quick??? Then it shortly sounded nice...and then is was gone again.
Grmbl! patience, patience my friend...

donderdag 16 september 2010

Electronics and Shakuhachi

I consider myself more of a Shakuhachi 'purist', whatever that may be. I mean I like the sound pure unchanged. In Prague there were several presentations of shakuhachi and electronics. Music enhanced by other sounds, reprocessed sounds of the flute itself and the like. Maybe this dimension can add someting when you are very familiar with the unchanged side of the flute I am not sure. I feel the flute and the music has much to offer in itself. Especially when accompanied with other instruments the flute can come to life.
I attended the lecture of Zenpo Shimura on Cyber shakuhachi. He has been developing a sort of suit and flute that detects movement of various bodyparts. Those on their end change te sound and can do different things.
Sounds complex? It probably is: see here the schematics for if you want to DIY.

See and hear below a short recorded section of a real song done by Shimura. After hearing this I maybe have to come back to not liking the electronics much....
As a bonus you can see Kiku, who translated the lecture for us listeners.

vrijdag 10 september 2010

Sound bite and pictures

See below for added pictures and sound bite of jinahsi flute by Mujitsu.

dinsdag 7 september 2010

Sold: Mujitsu 2.5 Ab Jinashi

For sale I have my 2.5 Ab\ G# jinashi nobekan shakuhachi made by Ken LaCosse (Mujitsu). It is completely unadorned piece of Chinese Madake: so no lacquer in the bore or ji. The sound is mellow and breathy, the tuning very good.
Pictures and a song soon will be posted.
Price: 250 usd, sending 25 usd worldwide.

Here the sound of this flute:

maandag 6 september 2010

European Shakuhachi School 2010 Praha

The European Shakuhachi Festival this year was awesome! The grand old city centre was an excellent spot to host an event like this. Literaly you could find concert sold at every corner of the street. There were even girls selling the 'shakuhachi'-concerts on the street which were held at the venue HAMU.  The selling theme was: music you haven't heared. For certain parts for me this was very true. The concerts were held in this old dungeon-like room (where also the group picture was taken): 
The acoustics were great, the music even greater! I have heared a lot of new musicians, new honkyoku, modern music for shakuhachi and contemporary music as well with other instrument like strings. Lovely! I posted a little about the latter in a previous entry.
This festival was the second bigger festival I attended, first was in Leiden in Holland. Both were quite different in ways but what is most special is the people who are present there. They all like of have some connection to the flute and are interested in the richness of its past: the essence of sound, stillness, the cultural background, Japan and zen to name a few; many more could be derived probably. It inspires me a great deal to be present and to be part of this energy.
To show some more:

Ro buki every morning:
Lectures to be had:
about cyber-shakuhachi this was...Maybe I'll write a bit about that later.

Workshops to be followed (and numerous they were, hardly time to eat...)
This one was held by Kees Kort about Indian Raga and the shakuhachi. 

But also about relaxing and having fun:
 Well relaxing? Not by my look of it...must have been the dark beer ;)
All in all a very succesfull and worthwile happening...Now I should start saving for 2012...

zondag 5 september 2010

More free scores

On the site of Kurahashi I found many free scores, free to use. When checking the site lately I see there are even a bit more of them! How nice.
The scores can be seen on Kurahashi's page. Have fun with them.
Respect for 'tha man' who promotes the flute and the songs so boldly and humble.

donderdag 2 september 2010

Contemporary music

When joining the European Shakuhachi festival in Prague there was one concert dedicated to contemporary music. Intuitively I am not specifically fond of it, but I have to confess I am not highly aware of that field. I play shakuhachi mainly for the tradiotional pieces, aka honkyoku. But it came as a good surprise I really liked the concert! Maybe even most of them all (three were held). My grand favourite of that evening was the piece 'Mirage' composed by Elizabeth Brown for shakuhachi and string quartet. I also heared it was first performed at the International festival in Australia. Well I loved it! I was able to experience something when hearing it. Some contemporary song are so abstract that for me it hardly qualifies as music, more as art. But not for this song. See also: E. Brown's site.  The song can be listened by streaming audio at this location: Mirage Song for shakuhachi and string. It is pretty on the pc as well, but nothing like the real deal though.