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Concert of traditional Japanese music: Kazuko Nakashima, Atsuya Okuda

Tue. October 30th 2012 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm doors at 7:00 pm St. Andrew's-Wesley Church (All Ages) 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm doors at 7:00 pm
$20 at the door only.
Kazuko Nakashima - shamisen
Atsuya Okuda - shakuhachi

Kazuko Nakashima is one of Japan’s most dynamic and engaging musicians. She comes from a family of renowned musicians; her mother Yasuko Nakashima, is the head teacher and grand master of the Ikuta Seiha school of music and her father Shin-ichi Yuize is a famous Japanese composer. As a child, she learned to play the piano, koto, and shamisen, and later studied under Kouzaburo Hirai and Takejiro Hirai. She has acquired mastery over both koto and shaimsen, and her focus now lies on shamisen and voice.

Nakashima maintains a busy schedule as vice-head master and oversees the Ikuta Seiha school of music, in addition to teaching and composing. Yet she finds time to perform regularly across Japan, often appearing with the premier koto and shakuhachi players, including some of the National Living Treasures of Japan.

She has brought classical Japanese music to people the world over, performing in the USA, England, and Brazil. This is her first visit to Canada.
It is a tremendous treat to hear Nakashima perform traditional pieces and compositions by her father Shin-ichi Yuize. The passion and skill with which she performs draws out the elegance, poise, and emotion of Japanese culture, as traditions of legends, history, and romance are brought alive to the audience.

Atsuya Okuda is considered to be the finest living hocchiku player and the foremost master of the instrument since the passings of Nishimura Koku and Watazumi Doso.

Hocchiku or jinashi shakuhachi is a flute that differs from other shakuhachi flutes in the way it is crafted. As all shakuhachi, hocchiku are made of bamboo, but the bores of these flutes are left as natural as possible. When crafted by hand from a single piece of bamboo, the instrument has a raw and mellow sound, closer to the wood’s own characteristic sound. As the pitch of each flute is unique to each bamboo’s individual features, hocchiku is strictly a solo instrument and most appropriate for playing honkyoku, the traditional music of the Japanese komuso Zen monks.

Okuda plays exclusively hocchiku flutes, producing his own instruments from bamboo he harvests himself in the forests of Nagano prefecture. He teaches out of his studio in the suburbs of Tokyo. Before dedicating himself to hocchiku in 1985 Okuda was a professional jazz trumpet player for 20 years.

Okuda plays traditional honkyoku only, but very much in his own style, emphasizing the many tone colors that hocchiku are able to express. Okuda’s belief is that each phrase and each note is complete in itself, and that one must set one’s mind in a state in which there is no audience and no performer. His style is very quiet and subtle, and his patience and focus on each individual note draws the listener within reach of the heart of Zen.
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