Thursday, November 25, 2010

At the Castle, November 20th, 2010

I had the pleasure of performing with my good friends Izumi Fujikawa on 21 string koto and Yumiko Minoka on shamisen at Kumamoto Castle's Honmaru Goten building last Saturday night to nice little crowd.

 The evening started off with some Higo biwa which is a rarity in its own right. There are very few Higo biwa players anymore and it might well be that Shoko Goto is the only performing Higo Biwa player left.

We followed Goto-san's performance with three pieces. The first was a duet for shakuhachi and 21 string Koto written by American composer, Marty Regan entitled Song Poem of the Easter Clouds. Izumi and I recorded this piece as the first cut on our 2006 CD release Silent Letters, Secret Pens. This is a lyrical piece that suggest both an old and modern feel. Our second piece was another Marty Regan composition written 3 years after the first entitled Dragon Eyes. This piece, written for 2.4 and 1.6 shakuhachi, 21 string koto and shamisen depicts the story of a dragon waking from a slumber, taking off and expressing itself through it versatility of flight. It's a challenging piece to execute, but usually proves to be popular with audiences.

Our third piece entitled The Squall was originally written as a koto solo, but we thought it would work with shamisen and shakuhachi, so we went there and it worked. As the name suggests, it's short, fast and hard. A treat to watch as well as hear.

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