I have been making and playing Shakuhachi since 1984. I began playing the side-blown flute in the 70's after watching the TV series Kung Fu with David Carradine, but after hearing the grace and power of 'A Distant Cry of Deer' by Masayuki Koga, I knew the Shakuhachi was the instrument for me.|
Before Shakuhachi John Coltrane was my teacher, inspiration and in some respects he was my savior. Whenever the dark clouds of depression or loneliness would loom over me, I would play Coltrane; John showed me that there is a divine force that can come through music.
In 1988 while in Berkeley I found an American teacher who had studied in Japan by the name of Robin Hartshorne...Robin taught me several traditional 'honkyoku', the original pieces for Shakuhachi and a couple of Japanese folk songs.
In early Japan the Komuso or 'monks of emptiness' used the sounds of Shakuhachi as a way to transmit the teachings of the Buddha. Many people today comment after hearing Shakuhachi how the sound goes deep into the soul bringing healing energy and calmness to the mind.
As a practitioner and instructor I focus on the connection and harmony between breath and awareness. Having studied and practiced 'Zen' or 'emptiness' meditation since my 20's gave me a great boost in how to approach Shakuhachi. I orient my students to merge breath, mind and sound as one thing...one harmony. It was a wonderful inspiration and confirmation for me to realize that my Shakuhachi and early meditation practice was in alignment with the ancient Komuso monks of Japan.
I also approach Shakuhachi as a form of Qigong or energy cultivation which is centered around breath dynamics, energy awareness and circulation.
After playing awhile I encourage my students to meditate on the silence and be aware of sensations and reflections in the body.
A couple of my students now join me in Qigong practice after playing Shakuhachi.
One of my favorite places to play is in the street, especially in tunnels over by the lake here in Chicago. Many people pass by, enjoy the resonant sounds and ask about the instrument and it's origin so I feel that I contribute to Shakuhchi culture in this way.
Sounds of Shakuhachi are said to be like "the freedom of wind, the fluidity of water, the intensity of fire and the subtlety of plants and flowers."
For lessons or to purchase an instrument please contact Jia at:
708 972 3373
*Currently I have several Shakuhachi available for sale both for the beginner and for the serious or advanced practitioner. Most of the Shakuhachi I have available now were made in Japan by master craftsmen and range in price from 350-700 usd. I also have instruments made in my own workshop for a considerably less investment. My advice when making a purchase is to get the best instrument that you can afford especially if you will be into this art for the long haul as a lifelong pursuit.
Jia is available for concerts and performances. Please contact him for detailed information.
Make Music Chicago, 2014-15 in Hyde Park
The Zen Center of Oak Lawn two ceremonial events, solo shakuhachi
Zen Shiatsu of Chicago, shakuhachi with gong and singing bowls
Japanese Student Association, University of Chicago, in the play Urashima Taro,May 2013
Lincoln Park Botanical Conservatory, free concerts solo shakuhachi, 2012-16
Andy's Music, Chicago, solo concert, 2013
Worlds of Music, Chicago, solo concert, 2015
Hyde Park Concerts: In the Tunnel by the Lake, 2012-present, solo shakuhachi
"Jia is an incredibly talented musician.To hear his music is to feel it - tantalizing and teasing every cell of the body into a state of tranquility and peacefulness. Indubitably a master of the art of music, emotions and ideas are expressed clearly without the need to ever speak a word. Through sound Jia is able to take you to other dimensions if you only close your eyes and allow yourself to take the ride. I feel incredibly honored to have journeyed with Jia on several occasions and look forward to many more in the days to come."
Tammy Niklas, Advanced Practitioner, Zen Shiatsu
“Thanks for the beautiful shakuhachi music. No need to study, no need to learn, and absolutely no need to represent. You're already there.”
All the best,
Monty Levenson, Shakuhachi craftsman
“Jia Senghe has elevated the atmosphere of our Zen Shiatsu student clinic with live shakuhachi, singing bowls and gongs. Our clients comment every week on the quality of the music. His playing is sensitive to the acoustics of the space and the logistics of our clinic environment, and is perfectly suited to relaxation and quieting the mind. I appreciate the way his music brings our clients' and therapists' awareness completely into the present moment.”
Steve Rogne, Director
Zen Shiatsu Chicago
“I met Jia Senghe playing shakuhachi at the Point in Hyde Park this August, and asked him
if he could teach me to play on the spot. I truly enjoy the lessons, his company, the flute made by him, and the practice. He is a wonderful musician and an excellent teacher.”
A. Beilison, Department of Mathematics, University of Chicago
Current cds available:
Wind and Fire
will I have
Until my heart
is quiet again
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