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The International Shakuhachi Society

Zen Music with Ancient Shakuhachi - Disc 1

Zen Music with Ancient Shakuhachi - Disc 1

"The first recording of its kind, John Singer performs 16 Zen Buddhist pieces using 11 ancient and rare Edo and Meiji period instruments."

John Singer
Blue Phoenix Music - JS-07CD

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1 Hi Fu Mi Hachigaeshi no Shirabe (Kinko Ryu) 一二三鉢返の調 08'57 John Singer

(Returning the Bowl & Gratitude For Alms Received). Originally the term “Shirabe” meant to check the sounds and move into the proper frame of mind before performing other Honkyoku (Shirabe is also called “Hon Shirabe”“ & Choshi” in other schools). Thus, “Hifumi No Shirabe” was not considered to be an independent piece. Musically “Shirabe” does not have many variations and is subdued in nature as is also the case with “Hachigaeshi”, which is why both pieces have been combined. It has been said often that if one can master this piece then they will have essentially mastered all other Honkyoku.
2 Banshiki Cho 盤渉調 03'40 John Singer

Also known as “Banshiki No Shirabe”, this piece was originally played as a prelude to other Honkyoku but has become an independent piece due to its fine compositonal structure.
3 San'ya Sugagaki 三谷菅垣 08'34 John Singer

(Three Valleys) Each Shakuhachi school has its own version of this piece and uses different Chinese characters for the name ‘Sanya” with different meanings such as “concentration” and “absorption”.
4 Kokû Reibo 虚空鈴慕 07'15 John Singer

(Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky) Miyagi Ikkan was a disciple of Kinko Kurosawa (1710-1771) Originally the Kinko school had no name, however, when the Ikkan Ryu was established the term “Kinko Ryu” began to be used. This is a “Kaete” (alternate melody) version of the Kinko Ryu “Koku Reibo”. This piece is called “Koku” in other schools (see information on “Myoan Taizan Koku”.
5 Sagari Ha no Kyoku 下り葉の曲 08'50 John Singer

(Falling Leaves) Sometime during the 18th century Kurosawa Kinko revised the piece called “Sagari Ha No Kyoku” having had the original piece “Sagari Ha” transmitted to him by the priest Matsuyama from Myoan-ji Temple in Kyoto.
6 Tsuki no Kyoku 月の曲 12'09 John Singer

(Moon Melody) This piece was composed by the 2nd Araki Kodo (Araki Chikuo). It is the only Kinko Ryu Honkyoku whose composer is clearly known. The piece begins in the lower octave which is associated with quiet evenings. Then, the melody progresses to a higher range and, for a time, the feeling of a bright full moon is conveyed. Araki continued to try and improve Tsuki No Kyoku but died before finishing it. Nevertheless, this is a fine piece and considered to be complete in its present form.
7 Kumoi Jishi 雲井獅子 05'38 John Singer

(Lion piece) Shishi (phonetically changeable to “Jishi”) is translated as “lion” but can also refer to a deer or dog having magical properties used to repel evil spirits. This piece, which is thematic, metric, and close to the sugagaki style, was brought to Tokyo during the Meiji Era from Iccho Ken Temple in Kyushu. It is known for its beautiful melody and was originally arranged by the master Yoshida Iccho.
8 Yugure no Kyoku 夕暮の曲 14'54 John Singer

(Twilight Bell) This is an original piece of Ichigetsu-ji Temple (the main Fuke Sect temple of Edo). Kinko Kurosawa (founder of the Kinko Ryu) took this music and added it into his repertoire. Yugure No Kyoku is one of the rare poetic Honkyoku of the Kinko Ryu and its melody is very emotional in nature.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018