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Yodo Kurahashi Sensei shares sounds of shakuhachi at Main Space concert

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Yodo Kurahashi Sensei shares sounds of shakuhachi at Main Space concert

Mr. Cassler, Adviser

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As part of this year’s concert series at the Main Space at the Tobin Lofts on the SAC campus, on Feb. 7, Yodo Kurahashi Sensei performed a program of ancient honkyoku songs written for the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute.

The concert was organized and promoted by Dr. Martha “Reika” Fabrique, who is not only a student of the shakuhachi for well over twenty years, but also a teacher of the instrument. Dr. Fabrique is a “doubler”, a name given to someone who plays the Western silver flute, and the shakuhachi. Formerly among the music faculty at Our Lady of The Lake, University, she is now among the faculty at San Antonio College. Kurahashi Sensei has been Dr. Fabrique’s teacher for many years, and when asked about what she recalls as a most memorable moment from her long career and experience with shakuhachi, she had this to say: “A most memorable moment for me personally playing shakuhachi was when I realized that the harder I tried to play, the less I was able to produce on the instrument….that releasing the mind was necessary to letting the music flow.”

Kurahashi Yodo II: Born in Kyoto four years after World War II, Kurahashi Yoshio started learning shakuhachi, the traditional Japanese end-blown flute, at age ten under his fathers guidance, Later studying under Matsumura Homei of Nasa, in 1976 he performed his first solo concert, winning the Osaka Cultural Festival Award, Four years Later he became director of the Mujuan shakuhachi school founded in Kyoto by his father, and shortly afterward began touring throughout Asia, Europe, Israel, and the U.S., playing and teaching shakuhachi. In 1999 Kurahashi released his first CD album, Kyoto Spirit, followed in 2001 by an album of traditional Chinese and Japanese music for shakuhachi. Since 1995, his annual intensive classes throughout the U.S. have become very popular. His sense of humor and generous attitude are well known to his students who simply call him “sensei”), and to many others who enjoy traditional shakuhachi music. Today, because of his exceptional technique and a wide repertoire bridging traditions and cultures alike, Kurahashi Yodo is sought by composers and musicians of many genres wishing to incorporate shakuhachi into their music. (from Kyoto Journal, November, 2017). (Text from the “Sound of Bamboo” concert program).

The Shakuhachi: The shakuhachi is an end-blown edge aerophone (flute) from Japan. Due to its versatility and variety of sound production, the shakuhachi enjoys wide use not only within traditional forms of Japanese music, but also in art and international forms of music such as jazz and pop. One strong association of this instrument is with Buddhism; the shakuhachi developed as an instrument for ‘blowing Zen’ and was used by the fuke (or huke) sect in Buddhist services. Many of the core pieces in the present day shakuhachi solo repertoire originated in this context. During the Meiji Restoration (18681912 CE), the shakuhachi was incorporated into the sankyoku chamber ensemble in which it has become a standard instrument. Since the 18th century, learning to play the shakuhachi has taken place in secular institutions called ryu (style”) established by iemoto (acknowledged masters), who license qualified students to become instructors of new students. The Kinko-ryu and Tozan-ryu are the two major stylistic schools of shakuhachi playing today. Historically, women did not play the shakuhachi because of its association with priests, but this is changing in modern Japan (from Grinnell College Instrument Collection). (Text from the “Sound of Bamboo” concert program).

The following pieces, among some of the most ancient honkyoku pieces (compositions for solo shakuhachi), were performed during the concert:

Mukaiji (Flute Sound from the Foggy Ocean)

TakiOchi (Waterfall)

Kumoijishi (Lion Dancing in Clouds)

Shika no Tone Duet (Call of the Deer)

With Martha Reika Fabrique

Jinbo Sanya (Three Valleys)

Brief Intermission

Tsuru no Sugomori (Nesting of a CraneFukushima version

Mr. Cassler
Sensei performs the ancient honkyoku duet “Shika No Tone” or “Distant Cry of Deer”.

Mr. Cassler
Kurahashi Sensei performs his signature piece titled “Jinbo Sanya”.

Mr. Cassler
Kurahashi Sensei and Dr. Fabrique perform the honkyoku duet “Shika No Tone”, which translates as “Distant Cry of Deer”.

Mr. Cassler
Dr. Martha Fabrique, a student of Kurahashi Sensei, performs in the duet “Shika No Tone”.

Mr. Cassler
Guests at the concert are able to meet Kurahashi Sensei and chat with him. He is a wonderful teller of stories.

Lucia Cassler
Teachers and students from left: Dr. Martha Fabrique (teacher and student), Tim Cassler (student), and Yodo Kurahashi Sensei (teacher).

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Yodo Kurahashi Sensei shares sounds of shakuhachi at Main Space concert