Ups and downs
That’s life, isn’t it?
My last weeks were quite hilly, in matter of ups and downs, and so was my shakuhachi practice as well.
Last Thursday, I was very excited because I did a big step forward. At least, it’s how it felt at the moment. Since last summer, I’m trying to broaden my range of tone colours and increase the resonance of my sound. I started this practice in the hills of the Plateau de Langres in France (which is not flat by the way), listening to the echo, and then everywhere, over and over again. And last Thursday, I found the right tone quality to make the radiator resonating. That was great (I had the feeling it was a matter of more harmonics in the sound, but I’m not quite sure). On Friday however, although the radiator was singing again on each Tsu I played (while still heating the room properly), I felt I was in a down day. My energy was low, my sound was not as good as the day before… you have those days… I asked myself what could have changed: I actually spent more physical energy before starting my shakuhachi practice on Friday than on Thursday. Could be an explanation.
Continue reading Ups and downs
In the dementia care home where I regularly play shakuhachi,”De Brug”, The Bridge, is the first department of the closed area. The people I see there walking around have still a foot in the outside life and the other foot… well, it looks like they don’t exactly know where they are. They are still looking for their husband or wife, wanting to go back home to prepare dinner, worrying about their mother to visit or their children to pick up at school. One woman asks us today where the busstop is to go to the city center. When she realises she doesn’t have money to pay her ticket, she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She eventually goes back to her bedroom. They don’t always remember where their bedroom is. They don’t feel home.
Continue reading De Brug, February 14, 2017
I sometimes get questions about the style I play and the school I belong to. As I don’t speak Japanese, I searched for a translation of the term “Hijiri” and here is what I found (Encyclopedia Britannica):
Hijiri, (聖, Japanese: “holy man”), in Japanese religion, a man of great personal magnetism and spiritual power, as distinct from a leader of an institutionalized religion. Historically, hijiri has been used to refer to sages of various traditions, such as the shaman, Shintō mountain ascetic, Taoist magician, or Buddhist reciter. Most characteristically hijiri describes the wandering priest who operates outside the orthodox Buddhist tradition to meet the religious needs of the common people.
Continue reading Hijiri 聖 shakuhachi
A quick post in addition to my previous one, Music recordings.
I’ve been quite busy this week recording myself and listening back… and you? What I notice, and noticed already before, is that the more you record yourself, the less you have surprises when you listen back. Sounds logical. I like to see the shakuhachi as a mirror of yourself, of your inner self. How you are doing, feeling: stressed, tired, excited, quiet, happy… But also on an external aspect, listening back to yourself is like looking at your image in a mirror. If you are really concentrated and listening to yourself when you record, you shouldn’t be too much surprised of the outcome. How carefully are you listening to yourself when you play? How carefully are you listening to your breathing and your silences, which are also part of your music?
Learning is listening. Teaching is listening.
This is what I recorded yesterday. Just for sharing, I’m still working on this piece (Ifu-Saji). Recording myself (and learning by heart) helps me a great deal to go deeper in the piece. Feel free to give constructive feedback.
A blog about shakuhachi without music wouldn’t be complete. As I haven’t recorded any shakuhachi cd yet (I did record with other flutes in some cd for children though), the recordings I put on this blog/ website are my own amateur practice recordings, my apologies for the quality. You will find them in the Music section, or in the Repertoire. These are the same pages, only the classification differs: alphabetic order in Music, style order in Repertoire. I’ll be adding new music and updating these pages regularly in the coming months, but they are no posts. That means that the updates won’t appear on the blog page. So check them out regularly!
Continue reading Music recordings