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The International Shakuhachi Society

Japon L'art du shakuhachi

Japon L'art du shakuhachi

Yokoyama Katsuya
Ocora - C560114

Track Title Kanji Length Shakuhachi Shamisen Koto
1   San'an 産安 07'04 Yokoyama Katsuya

San An (Peaceful Birth)

"San an" seems to have been derived from a piece called "San ya", which originated from the North of Japan (possibly the region around Fukushima or Yamagata, or thereabouts). "San an" has in fact a structure in three parts which is very close to that of "San ya": first an introduction in the low-pitched register, evolving into a medium part in the high-pitched register, and lastly a coda, again in the low-pitched register. It also tells the same (probably imaginary) story: a woman peacefully gives birth to her child while listening to her husband playing the shakuhachi in the room next door.
2   Tamuke 手向 04'17 Yokoyama Katsuya

Tamuke (Offertory)

"Tamuke" belongs to the pieces with a liturgical function, "Confession", "Prayer", "Devotion", "Incense-burning", etc. It is played either at funerals, or on the occasion of the commemorative ceremonies for the dead, in order to create a moment of contemplation and peace.
3   San'ya Sugagaki 三谷菅垣 06'51 Yokoyama Katsuya

Sanya sugagaki

Sugagaki is a melodic unit used in Shinto worship, in a repetitive manner, to accompany singing on the wagon (six-stringed zither). Here, the term is used for a repetitive melody which has been preserved in the region of Sanya, in the North of Japan, and has nothing more in common with the sugagaki unit of Shinto ritual music. This piece is played on two shakuhachi of different sizes.
4   Kokû (Dokyoku) 虚空 10'57 Yokoyama Katsuya

Koku (Vacuity)

This piece is considered to be one of the three most ancient and important pieces in the shakuhachi repertoire, together with "Mukaiji" (Misty Sea) and "Kyorei" (Soul of Vacuity). These three compositions give a descriptive picture of vacuity (Sunyatii), which is the aim of the executant. By his playing, he tries to attain this ultimate state of enlightenment in which he sheds his personal identity and identifies with the Absolute, thus ceasing to be a slave to material things, yet without becoming free from them either.
5   Tsuru no Sugomori (Dokyoku) 鶴の巣籠 06'28 Yokoyama Katsuya

Tsuru no sugomori (Crane Nest)

This piece depicts the life of the cranes, from their arrival through the North of Japan (laying of eggs, brooding, joyful hatching, feeding, flight training, etc.), through to their departure with the newborn birds. These migrating birds symbolise the love of parents for their offspring, the cycle of life, and longevity. All the instruments resources of the shakuhachi (tremolos, glissandi, flutter tonguing, irregular vibratos) are used to their full potential in this captivating piece.
6   Azuma Jishi (Taizan Ha) 吾妻獅子 03'08 Yokoyama Katsuya

Azuma-jishi (Lion Dance From The Azuma Region)

This is one of the various "Lion Dance" pieces which are executed on the occasion of the Shinto religious festivals in the Azuma region, to the South of the present-day Tokyo. It belongs to the secular repertoire, called gekyoku, as opposed to the main repertoire, honkyoku. It is played as a duet of shakuhachi, with an emphasis on its heterophonic aspect.
7   Reibo (Dokyoku) 霊慕 12'15 Yokoyama Katsuya

Reibo (Spiritual Quest)

The term reibo is likely to have derived from renbo (the feeling of love), taken here not in its limited sense, but with a more metaphysical meaning as the spiritual quest of the komuso, or itinerants monks. Fairly different pieces with identical names, such as "Tohaku-reibo", "Chikushi-reibo", "Kyo-reibo", etc., have been handed down to the present day.
8   Shika no Tône (Kinko Ryû) 鹿の遠音 09'30 Yokoyama Katsuya

Shika no tone (The Troating Of Distant Deers)

This piece is one of the few which were designed as a shakuhachi duet. It represents the calls of a deer and a doe responding to each another in the mountains, in the autumn. Here, this symbol has a transcendental meaning, as "Reibo".
9   Yamagoe (aka Reiho) 鈴法 04'30 Yokoyama Katsuya

Reiho (Bell Of The Buddhist Law)

The title "Reiho" seems to be drawn from the legend according to which the monk Fuke, who founded the sect of the same name, used to beg while reciting Buddhist sutras, which he punctuated by ringing a small bell. However, there exist several "Reiho" pieces, such as "Igusa-reiho", “Izu-reiho", "Oshu-reiho", etc., and they are fairly different from one another. The piece which is played on this disc belongs to the repertoire which was handed down by the Fuke monks of Northern Kyushu. This "Reiho", composed of three parts, is characterised by the use of irregular blowing, or, muraiki.

The International Shakuhachi Society - 2018