Improvised Music from Japan
I wouldn't want these notes (which I wrote) to limit your listening freedom. My hope is that you'll listen in your own way. If you find the notes necessary, however, please read them.
- Furuike ya
Here I attempted to pursue the rich harmonic overtones inherent in the gidayu shamisen. Could this be what Zen training is like?
- Kaze ga Toku de
Coarse, twisted, grating, "defective" sounds can be enjoyable, too.
So you don't have to use a plectrum to get a "good sound" from a shamisen after all.
The feeling of this piece overlaps with that of Buson Yosa's ink painting Yashokurodaizu.
In Japan there's an old custom whereby religious elders stamp on evil spirits and drive them deep into the ground. Actually, I've sometimes felt that the sound of the shamisen resonates deep into the earth.
Years ago I promised someone that I would interpret Taikan Yokoyama's painting Seisei Ruten on gidayu shamisen, but I haven't kept that promise yet.
They say the "next world" lies beyond the mountains. No wonder just looking at mountains can make people happy.
The souls of the dead come back with the sound of the wind.
I'll wander aimlessly around an unfamiliar city. I'll keep going...and going... I won't have a traveling companion, but my song will be my friend.
- The Gateway
And then it's off once again on a journey to another dimension.
(Translated by Cathy Fishman)