International Shakuhachi Society Logo

The International Shakuhachi Society

Japanese Music for Two Shakuhachi

Japanese Music for Two Shakuhachi

"Duets and Solos by Riley Lee and Ralph Samuelson"

Riley Kelly Lee
Lyrichord - LLST-7386

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1   Shika no Tône (Kinko Ryû) 鹿の遠音 23'58 Ralph Samuelson

Kurosawa Kinko is said to have collected this piece at Shojuken temple in Nagasaki from the monk Ikkeishi, and his arrangement was subsequently incorporated as one of the 36 honkyoku of the Kinko-ryu. Shika no Tone is one of the few honkyoku pieces traditionally played as a duet, and its unusually dramatic and poetic qualities have made it very popular for performance on the concert stage. The call-and-response form represents the image of two deer calling in the woods as they gradually approach each other through the distance.
2   Hifumi Chô (Chikuho Ryu) 一二三調 04'01 Riley Kelly Lee

Hi Fu Mi Cho is one of a group of short pieces played as a warm-up or prelude to larger honkyoku pieces. It is meant to serve as a renewal of the relationship between the bamboo and the player, a searching for the balance between the two that is most conducive to meditation.
3   Ajikan (Itchoken) 阿字観 08'23 Riley Kelly Lee

The word Ajikan is a mantra, a collection of syllables the very vibration of which, apart from any specific meaning, is believed to be conducive to meditation. Ajikan is also the term used to refer to the highest and most difficult meditative practices of the Shingon Mikkyo sect of Buddhism. The first syllable, AH, symbolizes the unproduced, the impermanent, the immaterial. It is also the initial syllable of Amitabha, the Buddha.
4   Rokudan no Shirabe 六段の調 10'32 Riley Kelly Lee

Rokudan was composed for solo koto in the 17th century by Yatsuhashi Kengyo, the father of the classical koto music tradition. The second part (kaede) was added in the 20th century, and Rokudan is often played as a koto duet. In making this presentation for two shakuhachi, the first three sections are played at a rather slow tempo to bring forth the instruments' special qualities. A prolonged cadence and slight pause are then introduced at the end of section 3, to further emphasize the changing character of the piece at the beginning of section 4.
5   Mukaiji Reibo 霧海箎鈴慕 14'46 Ralph Samuelson

Mukaiji ("Fog Sea Flute") belongs to a special group of three honkyoku said to be the oldest and most spiritually profound in the repertoire (the other two being Kyorei and Koku). According to the legendary traditions of the Fuke sect, both Mukaiji and Koku were given by the Buddha to the 13th century monk Kochiku in a dream. Kurosawa Kinko learned Mukaiji at Nagasaki's Shojuken temple and called his arrangement Mukaiji Reibo. (Reibo, "yearning for the bell," is a reference to the legendary origins of the Fuke sect and appears in the titles of many shakuhachi pieces.)

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017