Sunday, March 4, 2012

still-sound 47. Shakuhachi

I found a very old recording of shakuhachi music.  Hissy, scratchy white noise provides the background to the breathy flute playing.  This music sounds natural to me.  It was never meant to be notated on a scale so the rhythm and tones are unstructured and spontaneous.

There is one track I like best.  It's a duet and to me, resembles two birds talking.  The voices respond to each other and together tell a story.  They swoop, dip and dart, slowly and purposefully.

In one episode of At Home With Venetia in Kyoto, Venetia visits with her friend Uwe.  He's originally from Germany and plays the shakuhachi flute.  He describes the instrument's sound as earthy.  The two of them chat with each other like the birds in my favorite duet.

I wrote down the name of this song on a card I bought from Smythson many years ago in London in a January sale.  The card came in a pack of five with matching envelopes.  I didn't know back then that I would have a bee just like the one on the card eventually tattooed on my arm.

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