On the Road Again

2009 September 19

At the moment I am in Dusseldof, Germany, the starting point of my tour with the Uzume Taiko Ensemble. Our first show will be in Wuppertal  tomorrow night. We  have 20 straight shows with Mondays off.  It´s gonna be a tough tour but I´m grateful to be working playing music. With all the budget cuts to the arts going in Canada at the moment, it´s truly a blessing to have work like this.

This show is interesting for me as I will not only be playing shakuhachi but a variety of other wind instruments as well such as:  shinobue, duduk (Armenian), piri (Korean oboe),  didgeridoo, conch; as well as vocals and Vietnamese mouth harp. Shakuhachi is my core of course and it will be one of the features of this particular show. One of the very cool things about being a musician is the opportunity to play these fascinating instruments. It´s a great way to live! It´s very fulfilling and there is lots of freedom and you get to meet lots of interesting people and visit new and fascinating places. Touring one month out of the year is just right for me. I start to miss my beautiful home and wife on the Sunshine Coast of Canada!

By the way, it´s great to see Ash Dargin blogging about the didgeridoo! I´ve been playing didgeridoo almost as long as shakuhachi and it has definitely enriched my shakuhachi playing, as I often use circular breathing when I play contemporary music. One of my shakuhachi students did her PhD dissertation on the relationship between avian (bird) respiration and didgeridoo/shakuhachi playing which is very interesting. When she publishes it I will let you all know how to access it and read it.

Gratitude is at the heart of shakuhachi playing for me. I consider it a miracle that I am actualy doing what I am doing. My road has been so full of pain and suffering; but I kept on this path guided by my love for this bamboo flute. I told myself early on, “Rich or poor, I´ll keep playing shakuhachi for the rest of my life.” “Okagesame de” is a Japanese phrase which expresses the deep gratitude for existing in this world due to all one´s relationships with all the people and things in life, which expresses perfectly what I feel.

Another Japanese bamboo flute which I play is the Shinobue, which I will be writing more about in my next post. This is a Japanese side-blown flute which I will be doing more work with in the years to come. One of the other new drummers in the group, Eien Hunter Ishikawa, is a fine shinobue player and very inspiring to work with as he is a very skilled musician and has a deep connection to Japanese culture (particularly taiko drum and shinobue). The art of shinobue is an under-appreciated beauty which I hope to see more of it grown in the future. Folks such of Motofumi Yamaguchi of the famed KODO drummers of Japan, and more recently, Kaoru Watanabe (also a former member of Kodo) have been instrumental in introducing this most beautiful and unique flute to the world. I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with this flute with  you.

Until next time…

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos

www.bamboo-in.com

3 Comments leave one →
2009 September 21
Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX permalink

The shinobue is a flute I have not acquired, and I look forward to hearing some discussion about it. Perhaps you might offer some comparisons to other side blown flutes, in your discussions.

Hope that your tour is enjoyable, and that you will be able to take in some aspects of European culture, while you are there.

2009 September 22

Hi Rick. I will make some comparisons with other flutes when I have time. In the meantime I’m enjoying Germany. Just took a ride on the very first monorail, called the Shwevwbahn (I think that’s how you spell it!) Our second show is tonight in Wuppertal, also the birthplace of aspirin. Cheers!

Alcvin

2009 October 1

Hau Alcvin! I did not even see this blog post until today!

“My road has been so full of pain and suffering; but I kept on this path guided by my love for this bamboo flute. I told myself early on, “Rich or poor, I´ll keep playing shakuhachi for the rest of my life.” “Okagesame de” is a Japanese phrase which expresses the deep gratitude for existing in this world due to all one´s relationships with all the people and things in life, which expresses perfectly what I feel.”—–Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos

Hau!
Toksa Ake Wankiyankinktelo
“Until Next time I am able to see You”
Wanbli WiWohpe

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