World Shakuhachi Discussion / Go to Live Shakuhachi Chat
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Anyone else relate?
Very much so! There is something to be said for keeping it simple and focusing. I wasted too much of the 80's and 90's trying to simultaneously master umpteen different synthesisers, while learning keyboard chops and trying to keep my guitar playing up to scratch. I am kind of falling into that trap again by playing Xiao, Irish flute and shakuhachi at the same time. My solution has been to focus on one for a period of maybe months (with occasional informal practices on the others). This has helped me a lot - the improvements in one transfer to the others as well.
I have stopped my tendency towards thinking I can only make music after I have "mastered" an instrument - as if that could ever happened. The breakthrough for me was when I heard a great Indian Bansuri player make a tune out of one note. I realised then that I already had all I needed to make music now, in the present, right where I am. Sounds kind of Zen-like, but it is really quite simple.
I relate too. I had my fingers in many musical pies several years ago. I was playing bass professionally in several bands for about eight years, working as a sound engineer, trying to run a little recording studio from home, writing music for everything I could, doing a lot of foley, ADR and sound design, teaching music on computers and teaching bass, in addition to doing freelance web design and computer networking, not to mention studying shakuhachi with three teachers. I decided to drop absolutely everything and went to Japan for two years, and shakuhachi is now all I do apart from live sound engineering to support myself. Less stressed nowadays heh
Started off as a hard core punk rock drummer (a career distinguished only by its brevity).
Moved on to inflicting screamed anarchic vocals on a perfectly innocent microphone in same vein. Around same time discovered the gentle pleasures of the Irish bodhrán (traditional frame drum) and set about demolishing one from the outside in. Took to Irish music on the tin whistle, and then the flute. My passions calmed some what.
Still play the flute, mental drums, and all of the above in spirit. Discovered truly effective radicalism (spiritual punk rock). Am new to shakuhachi and hope always to be so.
"God save the quee-een, tha fascist reg-shee-eem, Ommmmmmmmm......!"
Last edited by Harry (2006-09-07 12:32:35)
Jack of everything, master of nothing…. (that’s a very zen thought isn’t it, master of nothing) I started on electric guitar in high school, went to acoustic guitar then specialized in fingerstyle guitar. Went to college for classical guitar and then voice but left to persue Celtic/Irish music, picked up the bouzouki/octave mandolin and bodhran, then promptly developed tendonitis. Took a major detour to the Native American style flute, started dabbling with the low D Irish whistle, took another detour on the udu drum and of course ended up with the good ol’ shakuhachi. While I certainly can relate to the many points made in the posts above, I have found that the techniques and idiosyncrasies from a new instrument will often help/improve my playing on a previous instrument. For example, I found that after playing Native flute for a while, my sense of phrasing improved when I went back to fingerstyle guitar. And my Native flute playing has certainly benefited from my Shakuhachi studies. All that ro buki has noticeably increased my breath capacity. But I am constantly feeling pulled by new instruments as well, I’m currently fighting with myself over getting either a xiao , dizi or an Irish flute. I do find however that the difficulty of learning the Shakuhachi, not to mention the cost of lessons, has helped keep me motivated to stay focused on it.
I do find that when I pick up a new instrument, my Ego pushes me to be able to play it as well as my previous instruments as soon as possible. The Shakuhachi has obviously thrown quite a wrench into that way of thinking! While I can, unfortunately, on occasion be quite egotistical about my ability on certain instruments, I have never referred to or even thought of myself as a “Master” of said instrument. For one, there always seems to be so many other people who can play, if not “better”, than at least very differently (In a good way obviously) then I can/do. I would think that even players who have been proclaimed “Masters” by general consensus must also feel similarly towards other “Masters”. How boring it would be if after years of study we all sounded the same!
How boring it would be if after years of study we all sounded the same!
Well said! Here's a similar sentiment, probably Thoreau I think... pardon if the quote isn't exact... "Some men go to their graves with their songs still in them." That's sad, but I think it might be true. I hope that every musician lets their own song come through. Me, I'm still working on it...
Last edited by dstone (2006-09-07 13:33:00)
It's the Highland Bagpipes for me. I started playing them in 97'. I started with the Shakuhachi in 90'.
I would like to try my hand at the Violin but have not had a chance to start it yet. Hopefully someday.
Well, it seems everybody keeps busy! As for me I started with Spanish guitar (just fooling around with friends) to move to Sitar, which I abandoned to focus on learning flamenco guitar which was a bit closer to my heart, and as I was searching for a less bulky instrument to move around with (learned a bit of blues harmonica, and bought a Charango when I went to Ecuador but never learned to play it) I found Shakuhachi out of mere chance (more details in my introduction). And this is it, that's all I need. Well, the Shakuhachi and the guitar; as I see it the guitar for letting inside things to come out and the Shaku to let outside things to get in, althought they may exchange roles from time to time.
I would also love to try violin but I don't see it happening in the next ten or fifteen years, I have to focus on blowing those notes out of the bamboo!
A good friend has given me a wonderful Japanese flute, I am learning a bit slowly. Do you know in Madrid where they help me to improve?......I have a collection of papers with music of call and want to be able to touch.
Contact Horacio Curti, email@example.com .
He is based in Barcelona and Valencia, but might also go to Madrid or at least know of another teacher there.
From what I know Antonio Olías (I think his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org) plays Shakuhachi and lives in Madrid.
Thanks, I am looking for the Escorial near my house and in the conservatoire and the people are surprised, this week I Know the singer of a group and He has promised me to help me....
Hi, I'm new to this forum, but I couldn't help being interested in the discussion on multiinstrumentalist shakuhachi players. It seems there's a lot of us, but that kind of crisis mentioned where you don't know what kind of a player you should be I don't find a problem....I know I'm a multiinstrumentalist and that I can only go so far on all my instruments. It doesn't mean I don't give them some decent effort, and the shakuhachi of course demands more than anything I've ever tried, but I think it's possible to be a Multi-instrument Fan. However, I am reminded of a story from Japanese Buddhism where there was an eclectic Buddhist master of the Tendai Sect talking to the Founder of Shingon, Kukai, who asked Kukai for a teaching, whereupon Kukai refused to give it to him because he was too spread out over different topics and didn't stay with the one path......I guess I'll never know some things in this lifetime.
Thanks good people
Playing might be the wrong word for me. Attempting to play would more accurately describe what I do. So, instruments I have, are Native American flutes, bansuri flute, alto transverse bamboo flute, irish pennywhistles, ceramic transverse flutes, Romanian pan pipes, wooden ocarina, ceramic ocarina, shakuhachi, xiao, kalimba, acoustic Spanish guitar, Native American hand drum, rainstick, rattles, shakers. As a kid, I played steel guitar for a while, many moons ago.
My primary instrument, and the one I play best, is Native American flute. I have single chamber, dual chamber, contra-bass, and harmony drones, in keys ranging from high f to contra bass F#.
As time permits, I devote some attention to my other types of flutes, and hopefully will return to acoustic guitar sometime in the near future, after casing it for about 20 yrs.
I am spending my shakuhachi time on improvisational play, at present, hoping to improve my basic playing skills, slowly over a long period of time. I found that formal study was too demanding, on the shakuhachi, for the time available to devote to it, and that learning to read the Japanese notation was very difficult for me. I have found the shakuhachi, the most difficult of flutes I now have, followed by pan pipes.
I am interested in a keyboard, but doubt I have time to devote to it.
I seldom perform, have not recorded any music, and play primarily for my own benefit.
The only flute event I will attend this year, outside my immediate area, is the new Oklahoma Flute Fest, a Native American flute gathering event in Tahlequah, OK, the first weekend in October.
Dallas tends to be a bit off the beaten path for perfomers, as most performances end up in Austin, save the ones by the 2-3 local performance level players, such as Stan Richardson on shakuhachi, and Cornell Kinderknecht on world flutes, or Jacco Velarde on quena/quenacho.
We did have Stan Richardson, Riley Lee, and Chris Blasdale here, for a performance together, sometime back, as well as one concert from Yoshio Kurahashimi.
We have also had, for the past 6 yrs. a local Native American flute retreat, for 3 1/2 days, in November.
I started on the Great Scottish Pipes at age 7 (still play fireside pipes now and then) moved on the the acoustic guitar as a teen and then the transverse flute. Got into Weather Report at age 17 and bought a soprano sax which was my main instrument of choice for many years before meeting paths with the shakuhachi. From there I've used various whisltes of which I like the low D whislte the most, bansuri flute, kalimba, some digeridoo, Persian Ney and even included a number of childrens toys in a band I played in here in Kumamoto for a while aptly called Men with Toys. All that being said, shakuhachi is what I choose to express myself through daily and see no reason to do otherwise.
Jeff Cairns wrote:
...childrens toys in a band I played in here in Kumamoto for a while aptly called Men with Toys.
I think these guys are going to Japan in August. I work with one of the members.
I wouldn't say I have multi-instrumental skills... it implies a certain degree of capability.
The first instrument I was somewhat proficient at was the recorder, but then again, all the kids in school had to learn it. I ended up playing it in a couple of big church services though... unfortunately I doubt I've been able to carry any skills from that over to shakuhachi (if that's even possible?) since it's been so long since I've touched a recorder.
Also played bass guitar in a band for a while. I have an inkling that sludge-doom may not be the most popular form of music around this forum (or if the name of the genre even makes any sense to anyone, hehe), but think of it as Black Sabbath trying to sound as slow, ugly and self-destructive as possible. My poor rig is currently gaining dust, I've been trying to find other noisemakers who share a similar outlook on certain kinds of music as I do, but so far it's been quite unsuccessful.
Then I joined a Melbourne taiko group last year, I'm enjoying it a lot, would love to be able to play more often than just once a week. And it's been only very recently that I started shakuhachi. Apart from (obviously) enjoying the sound of the instrument I was keen to take up something that was easy to transport, could be played anywhere, and be played unaccompanied.
Last edited by Ash (2007-06-11 02:40:38)
I started with silver flute at about 16 years old until I was about 25. That was mostly classical, I majored in music at SUNY at Buffalo studying with Petr Kotik. I played some sax during that time too in a few amatuerish funk bands. I stopped playing for about 7 years but learned a little basic keyboard sef-study during that time. I started playing flute again when I became interested in contra-dancing and the music that went along with it. I soon switched to keyless Irish flute because I felt that the keys were getting in the way on the silver flute and there wasn't much reason for them when almost every tune is in D or G. For tunes that went out of those keys I used tin-whistles. I got roped into English Country dance music from there and put a lot of diligence into learning baroque flute for those tunes. About the same time I was involved in Gary Kvistad's gamelon and played Balinese suling. That was where I met a voice teacher and took vocal lessons for 5 years. Since I wanted to play less structered music and liked drones (probably influenced by the earlier teachings I got from Petr Kotik, I've always loved his compositions) I took up didjeridu and kalimba. I made some progress with Turkish ney along the way too, almost to the point where I'm tempted to tell people I can play it. Oops... I almost forgot, a Peruvian guy who was sitting in on the lunch break Irish music sessions at work got me to try my hand at quena too.
I took mandolin lessons around 4th grade... didn't like it. Then I worked with recorder. Not too inspiring. In the late 60's I started making and playing transverse bamboo flutes. When Kung Fu came to TV, I was already a long-haired barefoot surfer boy with a bamboo flute strung over my shoulder.
I began playing guitar also, around 1972. By 1977 I was playing in clubs, bars, and at weddings, etc. Having started with shakuhachi's by 1974 and with hochiku's by about 1979 or so, I also started playing regular C-flute as early as about 1973... and so I was playing in a somewhat avante-garde group that we called Dream Theatre (I think someone more famous later used that same name, but I think we were the first). In that group, active in the early 1980's, I played C-flute and shakuhachi. I would also perform often with the Susan Taylor dance company around Tampa Bay, and for them I played shakuhachi and hochiku. It was pretty cool!
These days my whole musical armada consists of mbira, kalimba, ocarina, tambourine, various drums, C-flute, Anasazi flutes, Hopi flute, shakuhachi's, hochiku's, guitar, ukeleles, and a strumstick.
Of all these, hochiku is supreme, in my heart. My guitar compositions are very much inspired by late 60's Moody Blues, and playing my material is quite therapeutic. I recently composed my best song ever, and it's like sitting on a million dollars.
Last edited by Harazda (2007-06-14 22:15:30)