Shakuhachi: Kominato Akihisa and the Music of the Universe (Video)Culture
Kominato Akihisa’s shakuhachi produces a rich, powerful tone that brings tradition and innovation together.
At first, the sweet, high-pitched tone of the shakuhachi might sound reminiscent of a note from a flute . . . but then comes a blast of resonant, breathy overtones produced by muraiki, a distinctive blowing technique unique to the shakuhachi. The deeply expressive sound transmits a deep emotion directly to the heart. The shakuhachi offers a remarkable range of expressive possibilities. Different breathing techniques offer the player the possibility to use high and low tones and vibrato on the same note without changing the fingering.
The shakuhachi is also an extremely versatile instrument. The perfect match for a piano accompaniment, its haunting sound is just as impressive against the backdrop of traffic noise and street sounds. The song-like possibilities of the shakuhachi mean that it can be played in collaboration with just about any instrument. Performed solo, it has the power to move the soul like a cappella blues.
For many Japanese people, the shakuhachi has a somewhat old-fashioned image. Kominato’s ground-breaking approach is changing a lot of people’s minds and providing a powerful reminder of the unique strengths and attractions of the instrument. Listeners from outside Japan experiencing the mysterious beauty of the shakuhachi for the first time are sure to relish their first encounter with this unique, avant-garde music.
We hope you will enjoy the rich sound palette of the shakuhachi and join Kominato Akihisa on his exploration of the music of the universe.