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Minyo of Tohoku

Minyo of Tohoku

Takahashi Ryozan
Arion - ARN 64421
1979/1998

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1   Tsugaru Jongara Kyokubiki 03'50 None

Tsugaru is part of Tohoku (Sendai province). In this part of the country we find many very popular min-yo and some very unusual and brilliant melodies known as tsugaru-jamisen are played on the futo shamisen (with the thickest fingerboard). The tsugaru-jamisen are generally played at the beginning of ceremonies or celebrations.
2   Tairyo Utaikomi 大漁唄い込み 03'41 Takahashi Ryozan

Two different pieces are brought together in this song: an ancient rowing song and an eighteenth-century tale, in which a young man named Saitaro picks a quarrel with a lord and is sentenced to exile on a distant island, where he becomes a fisherman; as he rows he sings this lament. This tune is very popular because of its rhythm and is typical of the Pacific coast.
3   Kogarashi 木枯 05'11 Takahashi Ryozan

This is one of the finest pieces by Tozan Nakao, the master of the Tozan shakuhachi school. It describes a desolate scene in late autumn, swept by icy winds from the mountains. (With great emotion, the author had returned to Tokyo in 1923 after the great earthquake. The whole city had been reduced to a mass of cinders.)
4   Miyagi Magouta 03'50 Takahashi Ryozan

Ostlers and farmers (who owned ten or more horses) would sing this song during their night rides around Monoo, in the north of Miyagi province.
5   Hanagasa Ondo 花笠音頭 02'59 Takahashi Ryozan

This song is usually performed as a prelude to merrymaking in Japan, just before the dancing begins. In street processions it is often accompanied by drums, flutes and small bells.
6   Iwashimizu 岩清水 05'16 Takahashi Ryozan

In the middle of autumn the waters begin to swell in Japan and the waterfalls become quite spectacular. The moss on the rocks grows thicker, while the pale sunlight filters through the ancient trees which are losing their leaves. This piece is in three parts: the first one describes autumn deep in the mountains; the second evokes the cascade bounding over the rocks; the third conjures up the foamy waters which form a multitude of rivulets before finally flowing into the river.
7   Nagamochi Uta 長持唄 03'25 Takahashi Ryozan

This min-yo is sung during the wedding procession, as the bride-to-be, dressed in her ceremonial garments, leaves her home for that of her future husband. The poem consists of a series of blessings, sung by men who have been chosen by the families for their fine voices. This min-yo is very well known; it is sung in all the provinces and islands of Japan.
8   Mine no Tsuki (Min'yo) 峰の月 06'24 Takahashi Ryozan

This pieces was composed in 1946 by Tozan Nakao. It evokes the emotion of a purely aesthetic experience.
9   Mogamigawa Funa Uta 最上川舟唄 04'10 Takahashi Ryozan

Ever since the twelfth century rice has been carried down river from Mogami to the port at Sakata. The Mogami is one of the great rivers of Japan and its course is interrupted by falls, rapids and fast currents. The boatman, who has to negotiate all these difficulties, sings as he faces the various dangers.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2017