Marco Lienhard

NY Times review

 

“One can hear already in a single tone the sound of the whole cosmos,” Mr. Hosokawa writes, adding that the instrument evokes “the sadness and beauty of the past.” Marco Lienhard, a Swiss-born master of the shakuhachi, did ample justice to these suggestions.

About the Shakuhachi

 

I have discovered this wonderful instrument when I was 18 in Japan. It seems to be an instrument that people respond to in their college years. some have come across it when their were very young but probably because someone in their family played it.

I spent 18 in Japan studying and traveling around Japan and the world. There is a practice in Zen Buddhism of going on a journey for 1000 in the mountains around Kyoto to meditate and as part ofa practice to become a monk.

 also the Komusos would travel around Japan and ask for alms as they went along. As member of Ondekoza, i felt an affinity with these practices. It was adapted to modern times.

 Mr Den, the director of Ondekoza got me to run in Japan then the US and around the world. Running marathons- challenges for oneself, a type of Honkyoku done only with breathing and running. A dialogue with oneself , pushing oneself to the limit. A Honkyoku is a ittle bit like that - it changes constantly you push yourself to your limit of that moment.

A music set in the past, but music that constantly changes  each player never plays it twice the same.

Yokoyama would play different renditions of it. I inspired myself of his playing when i studied with him and I have not intention to change to what is being taught in the Kenshukan style- A style that has been passed on by fellow teachers and masters. I see a different world through them. My journey is different from Furuya or Kakizakai and thus my interpretation will be different.

I feel so blessed to have been able to encounter hear, get to know Yokoyama Sensei. He was a very open person and enjoyed life to the fullest. Through long discussions during lessons or after lessons, I learned more about things of life things that enrich my understanding of the music.

I am saddened at times in Japan by the misunderstanding of Yokoyama's music and playing. I just see it as a sort of jealousy that I see in other part of the Japanese society. In America and other countries i also come across the same pettiness. I believe greatness though will prove itself through the century and this music here to stay. I am just glad I was able to be exposed to it and I try to share it with whomever is open to the music. I find that people who actually don't play the shakuhachi sometimes seem to be able to feel more fully. To be able to listen to the music without judgement.

I have listen to different styles myself and I am not so attracted by the other styles- I don't find a common thread in some performers that I feel a affinity with. It is such a difficult instrument that you are a student for life.

I hope I will find some truly dedicated students that will be willing to and open to the study of this instrument. At this point, only a few have attempted, but midway never seem to be able to keep the concentration long enough- maybe some day.....

 

 true

 

New CD :

 

 

福田蘭童, 1905–1976
ERATA for actually CD booklet-We apologize for the mistake!!!!!
One typo in Japanese: Fukuda Rando Kanji should be:福田蘭童
Ran was misspelled - it was found out only after printing was done...

 

CD is available and on sale tomorrow on Amazon and Cdbaby.com

Note:

 

ERATA for CD booklet-We apologize for the mistake!!!!!One typo in Japanese: Fukuda Rando Kanji should be:福田蘭童Ran was misspelled - it was found out only after printing was done...

福田蘭童, 1905–1976

 

Japan trip

 

Looking forward to some concerts in Japan.

Will be performing with different artists and I am looking forward to the different styles that I will get to play with in Tokyo with violin and piano and Hiroshima with Koto and Osaka with Japanese singer Nakata Katsuko

tales form Brazilian trip in November

 

Concert tour to Brasilia and Recife 11/11.

 

After a night flight to Brazil, Masayo Ishigure and me finally arrived in Brasilia. Someone from the Embassy had come to pick us up along Mitsuki Dazai who had already arrived earlier. We headed to the Embassy to check on the instruments and do some rehearsals for the next day.

We had a whole room to us to practice for a couple of hours. The staff was really kind and helpful.  After packing the instruments for the next day, we were invited for dinner by the consul o a Churascheria. 

The restaurant was beautiful place by the lake, with a lot of food in a buffet setting. The main thing though was meat. So after trying some local Caipirinha with a lot of fruits. I had been to Sao Paulo before and suggested everyone to try the Cashew fruit juice, as it is usually harder to find in the Northern Hemisphere or in NYC.

After a while, a lot of waiters came to the table with different meat s that they would cut up and serve us. It was just amazing the amount of food that was heading our way.

 It was a very fun and memorable evening. It was also great to hear from our hosts how it is to live in Brasilia.

After dinner we headed back to the Hotel. The next day was our concert day so we got picked up in the morning and headed to the space.

The building was a new theatre, great space; the only problem is that as it was so new, lighting had not been set up yet.

 So we only had neon lighting/ work lights as stage lighting- the audience had actually better lighting.  There was enough light, it is just that it was not really stage lighting.

Some ikebana sensei were already setting up a whole installation in the back- which turned out pretty amazing and made the stage look beautiful with more local plants and flowers in front of the golden Byoubu.

Though the sound seemed ok, we asked for some microphones as they were setting them up.

We were going back and forth between using them or not, so we decided to do the traditional first part without and then in the second part to use the mics for the more modern music.

 

That night the audience was very receptive, it looked like a full house, with people also on the balcony. I am used to taiko concert and performing a lot around the world- Hogaku tends to be quieter, but despite of that I always have an encore piece ready just in case. We also later decided to play in kimono for the whole concert and not change in western cloth for the second modern part, as audience members probably would prefer to see us play in traditional Japanese costumes.

 

 SO I encouraged Masayo Ishigure to think about one.

After the concert, the announcer thanked everyone but it seemed the audience wanted to hear more so indeed we did one more piece, which was an improvisation on Sakura that was very well received.

We had not set up any Cd in the front as was requested. So after the end, the announcer said that we did have Cds and would sell them by the side of the stage for those interested.

 We also let some people try the koto out.

 I unfortunately can’t let people play my flutes because of obvious reasons. I later though got some plastic flutes that I was able to let people play in Recife.

As Masayo and Dazai san were busy showing people how to play the koto, I was in front of the stage with the CD. People started coming to me and looking at the cd, the whole turned almost into market place, everybody seemed to want a cd and we ran out of cd pretty quickly- that night we sold 70 CDs which is a rare occurrence these days especially for this type of music.

It was great to feel the energy of the audience and their excitement and comments.

 A lot of people were new to it or had never heard it in this way- they were rediscovering the music or the genre. It was all very flattering.  I got to meet one Nikkei member of the Brazilian Parliament towards the end when we had almost no Cd- he so wanted to buy Cds that we arranged for him to pick them up at the Embassy- I had left some in my hotel room, never thinking I would be selling that many.

 

Later we joined audience member at the cocktail party in the lobby and again got to meet a lot of people and talk about the music or different subjects. It was really a great evening for us and it seemed the audience members thoroughly enjoyed themselves, some children were also in the audience and they seemed taken by the music and stayed throughout the concert.

The trip to Brasilia seemed all too fast. The next day was already time for us to leave.

 I had requested to stop over by the cathedral and so the person in charge took us for a little round of Brasilia before heading to the airport.

 It was a very memorable trip and we think that our goal of making people discover a new music or culture but also getting them excited about it succeeded.

 

I was looking forward to Recife as I knew it was in the North and the weather would be warmer- I am avid swimmer and I was all excited about swimming in the ocean. When we arrived in Recife, the consulate people took us to the hotel. One for the first thing that was mentioned was that the beach was dangerous as there were many sharks and that we should only swim on the protected areas or coves.

 

We headed first to the hotels to unload the luggage and then take the instruments to the consulate- we also were given a room to practice.

 The program was set so that we almost only played most songs only once and each concert had a different program for each of the shows in Recife, so we had a lot of songs to revise and go through as we had three concerts.

 

The consul in Recife was very friendly and even invited us to use his office to rehearse- we though a small room that was available in the middle of the consulate. After having a meeting about our concerts in Recife with the Consul and the staff we headed to dinner. I had been told about a great local restaurant that served Bahian food in a Buffet style, which was great as you could actually see what was available instead of looking at a menu and not understanding what was ordered. Again we had a great dinner that night on our won.

The next day’s concert was a local music school in the daytime.

Space was very tight, so we had not much space to place the kotos.

We did a shorter program that day for some musical festival.

Again we had a full house and a lot of people standing, there was some movement – some new people coming in.

We did some tradtional and some modern pieces so that the audience would get a sense of the different type of music that is played on the koto and the shakuhachi.

We also were able after the concert to sell some cds and talk with audience members after they got a chance to play the koto.

 As it was a festival, we had to clear the stage for the next group and did not have too much time.

 

 We later got back to the hotel after packing up.

The next was a free day and we were invited for a visit of Linda and the city with the consul and his wife.

In the Morning we visited the old city of Olinda on the hill North of Recife and had a beautiful meal on a terrace in the old town. On the menu was a delicious local specialty of a sort of pumpkin cooked in the oven with seafood in a cream sauce cooked inside. After lunch, we continued our visit of the city with the consul.

 

We visited a museum and an old prison turned in to a tourist artscraft shopping mall. It was a fun day and it the consul and his wife were full of anecdotes about the city.

  We had some time at the end of the day before a big dinner with all the performers of the next day’s festival.

As the consul asked what we wanted to do, we asked to go to a supermarket to do some shopping.

The consul took us to the market and shopped with us, we were almost embarrassed to have him shop with us, but he seemed very amused and said he was used to it with his wife. The consul really knew how to make people comfortable and the whole day was a very fun filled day.

 

We were planned to go to a sushi restaurant, but the location seemed congested because of a soccer game victory of the team from Recife. The consul then decided to hold the party at a chruscheria. We got to meet the folk dancers from San Paulo.

Another fun filled evening with lots of food – it seems that is another great things of Brazil.

The next day we had an early start. We headed to the Japanese festival stage in downtown Recife. We started setting up for the concert. We had two stages one earlier on and the other later in the evening.

It was a windy stage and it was hard to keep the music on the stands. I tried to tape by music to the stand or to cardboard to keep it from moving to and though it was not working fully saved me from running after my music during the performance.

That day turned out to be a milder day, so it was not as hot as we thought it would be.

After the opening ceremony, we had our first set.  We had a few problems with the microphones and it took a little longer to set them up and make sure we were getting enough sound.

 

Some of the staff had showed some interest in the shakuhachi, I had just gotten some PVC shakuhachi from one of my students in Southern Brazil and so I was able to teach them some basics of the shakuhachi, so during some free time- they go to learn how to play backstage.

It would be great to have also some open workshops for community people during those concert tours, or lessons available for those interested.

I have been teaching in Sao Paulo the last three years and noticed that there is quite an interest in Brazil for the shakuhachi (as some teachers are present in Sa Paulo).

The crowds were quite large at the festival and after doing a round of the stands we headed back to the hotel.

 I got to go swimming for a third time; I would usually go to the beach in the morning before the concerts.

The evening performance was pretty thrilling; by then the crowds in the downtown area were huge- it was very hard to get through to the stage. We got to perform some other songs, we changed our program a little to match the louder crowd and try no to do too many quiet pieces.

The audience seemed very appreciative, I wish I had my taiko with me and probably that would have been a better setting for me to do taiko and Shinobue on that stage.

 We sold a few CDs, it’s always harder to get peoples full attention in outside festival stages. Masayo and I had run out of Cds. Mitsuki was the only one who had some cds left and who was trying to sell them.

 

After a full day, we headed back to the hotel, were we got ready for a long trip back to NYC.

We were able to refresh before heading out for our red eye flight to Sao Paulo.

We thanked everyone and headed to the airport.

 Again the staff in Recife as well as in Brasilia was so kind and helpful, it made the whole trip and concert so much easier.

This was a very memorable trip to Brazil. I will always be thankful for the Japan Foundation to make this concert tour possible.

 

 

 

Autumn

 

We are excited about this coming autumn period. I am working on a new composition for a grant in Washington Heights. This is a new piece to celebrate one of our local Hero Bruce Reynolds who died at the WTC attack on 9/11 2011 is the 10th anniversary and I plan to compose a piece to celebrate his life and the garden that was named after him. This garden has brought many people together and we have for the last 7 years given concerts in late summer that have drawn more and more people. The piece is called Bruce's Garden. This will also be in honor of his father, who has worked hard on having the park and garden so well kept and who has helped us with the concerts through the years.

School educational info on Taiko and Japanese legends

 

This is a shorter version of some legends from Japane  with mention of music,dance and taiko:

This info can be also found here:

http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Sp-Tl/Susano.html

 This is a slightly adapted version:

 

Taiko is mentioned for the first time in Japanese legends.

Daughter of the creator god Izanagi, Amaterasu taught humans to plant rice and weave cloth. In one story, her brother, Susano-ô, angered the goddess by interfering with her activities. He destroyed rice fields and violated taboos, spreading filth in her sacred buildings and dropping a skinned horse through the roof of the weavers' hall. Furious at Susano-ô's actions, Amaterasu went into a cave and locked the entrance. Her withdrawal plunged the earth into darkness and prevented the rice from growing.

To lure the sun goddess out, the other gods gathered outside the cave with various sacred objects, including a mirror and some jewels. A young goddess, Uzume, began dancing to the sound of flutes and Taiko causing the others to burst into glee filled laughter. Wondering how they could make merry in her absence, Amaterasu peeked out to see what was amusing them. The gods spoke of another deity more brilliant than Amaterasu. Curious, the goddess looked—and saw her reflection in the mirror. The image of her own brilliance so astonished her that she stepped out of the cave. One of the gods hung a rope across the cave to prevent her from returning to it and depriving the world of her light. Today a mirror in Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is considered one of Japan's three imperial treasures, along with jewels and a sword.

 

 

Here is a longer version of it  but a  little bit  on the darker side:

In Japanese mythology the two deities Izanagi (The Male Who Invites) and Izanami (The Female Who Invites) are the creators of Japan and its gods. In one important myth, they descend to Yomitsu Kuni, the underworld and land of darkness. Stories about Izanagi and Izanami are told in two works from the A . D . 700S, the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan).

According to legend, after their birth Izanagi and Izanami stood on the floating bridge of heaven and stirred the primeval ocean with a jeweled spear. When they lifted the spear, the drops that fell back into the water formed the first solid land, an island called Onogoro. Izanagi and Izanami descended to the island and became husband and wife. Their first child was deformed, and the other gods said it was because Izanami spoke before her husband at their marriage ceremony.

The couple performed another wedding ceremony, this time correctly. Izanami soon gave birth to eight lovely children, who became the islands of Japan. Izanagi and Izanami then created many gods and goddesses to represent the mountains, valleys, waterfalls, streams, winds, and other natural features of Japan. However, during the birth of Kagutsuchi, the fire god, Izanami was badly burned. As she lay dying, she continued to create gods and goddesses, and still other deities emerged from the tears of the grief-stricken Izanagi.

When Izanami died, she went to Yomi-tsu Kuni. Izanagi decided to go there and bring his beloved back from the land of darkness and death. Izanami greeted Izanagi from the shadows as he approached the entrance to Yomi. She warned him not to look at her and said that she would try to arrange for her release from the gods of Yomi. Full of desire for his wife, Izanagi lit a torch and looked into Yomi. Horrified to see that Izanami was a rotting corpse, Izanagi fled.

Angry that Izanagi had not respected her wishes, Izanami sent hideous female spirits, eight thunder gods, and an army of fierce warriors to chase him. Izanagi managed to escape and blocked the pass between Yomi and the land of the living with a huge boulder. Izanami met him there, and they broke off their marriage.

Izanagi felt unclean because of his contact with the dead, and he took a bath to purify himself. A number of gods and goddesses, both good and evil, emerged from his discarded clothing as Izanagi bathed. The sun goddess Amaterasu appeared from his left eye, the moon god Tsuki-yomi appeared from his right eye, and Susano-ô came from his nose. Proud of these three noble children, Izanagi divided his kingdom among them.

Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and of fertility, is one of the most important figures in Japanese mythology and in the religion known as Shinto. According to legend, she is the first ancestor of the imperial family of Japan.

Daughter of the creator god Izanagi, Amaterasu taught humans to plant rice and weave cloth. In one story, her brother, Susano-ô, angered the goddess by interfering with her activities. He destroyed rice fields and violated taboos, spreading filth in her sacred buildings and dropping a skinned horse through the roof of the weavers' hall. Furious at Susano-ô's actions, Amaterasu went into a cave and locked the entrance. Her withdrawal plunged the earth into darkness and prevented the rice from growing.

This print by Taiso Yoshitoshi shows Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess, emerging from a heavenly cave and bringing light back to the world. Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is regarded as one of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.

 

To lure the sun goddess out, the other gods gathered outside the cave with various sacred objects, including a mirror and some jewels. A young goddess began dancing to the spound of the fue and the taiko, causing the others to burst into glee filled laughter. Wondering how they could make merry in her absence, Amaterasu peeked out to see what was amusing them. The gods spoke of another deity more brilliant than Amaterasu. Curious, the goddess looked—and saw her reflection in the mirror. The image of her own brilliance so astonished her that she stepped out of the cave. One of the gods hung a rope across the cave to prevent her from returning to it and depriving the world of her light. Today a mirror in Amaterasu's shrine at Ise is considered one of Japan's three imperial treasures, along with jewels and a sword.

A complex Japanese god, Susano-ô was associated with storms and the sea in mythology. His connection with water began at birth. He was formed from drops of water that were shed when the creator god Izanagi washed his nose. Susano-ô sometimes caused trouble for the other deities, including his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, and brother, the moon god Tsuki-yomi.

Although placed in charge of the sea, Susano-ô envied his sister's power over the sun and his brother's control of the moon. Susano-ô behaved so badly while visiting Amaterasu's court that she hid in a cave, taking the sunlight with her. The other gods eventually lured the sun goddess out of the cave. Then they punished Susano-ô by cutting off his beard, fingernails, and toenails and expelling him from heaven.

Susano-ô went to live in Izumo in western Japan, where he had various adventures and began to use his powers for good. According to one story, he met an old man and woman who were grieving because seven of their daughters had been eaten by an eight-headed serpent. Susano-ô killed the monster by getting it drunk and cutting off its heads. In gratitude, the old couple gave Susano-ô their remaining daughter in marriage. Other stories say that Susano-ô took water from the sea and brought it to the land as rain. He also made forests by cutting his beard and hair and planting the strands on mountainsides.

 

A complex Japanese god, Susano-ô was associated with storms and the sea in mythology. His connection with water began at birth. He was formed from drops of water that were shed when the creator god Izanagi washed his nose. Susano-ô sometimes caused trouble for the other deities, including his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu, and brother, the moon god Tsuki-yomi.

Although placed in charge of the sea, Susano-ô envied his sister's power over the sun and his brother's control of the moon. Susano-ô behaved so badly while visiting Amaterasu's court that she hid in a cave, taking the sunlight with her. The other gods eventually lured the sun goddess out of the cave. Then they punished Susano-ô by cutting off his beard, fingernails, and toenails and expelling him from heaven.

Susano-ô went to live in Izumo in western Japan, where he had various adventures and began to use his powers for good. According to one story, he met an old man and woman who were grieving because seven of their daughters had been eaten by an eight-headed serpent. Susano-ô killed the monster by getting it drunk and cutting off its heads. In gratitude, the old couple gave Susano-ô their remaining daughter in marriage. Other stories say that Susano-ô took water from the sea and brought it to the land as rain. He also made forests by cutting his beard and hair and planting the strands on mountainsides.

 

 

Uzume ,the Japanese Shinto goddess of joy and happiness, called the Daughter of Heaven and Heaven's Forthright Female. Her name means "whirling". She is also the goddess of good health, which people obtain from drinking the blessed water of her stream. When the sun goddess Amaterasu had hidden herself in a cave, thus covering the earth in darkness and infertility, it was Uzume who brought her back. With her provoking and curlew dances to the sopund of  taiko, she managed to make the gods laugh so hard, that Amaterasu left the cave intrigued. Her emerging brought light and life back to earth. Her brother Ninigi married Uzume to the deity who guards the Floating Bridge to Heaven.

The dances of Uzume (Ama-no-uzume) are found in folk rites, such as the one to wake the dead, the Kagura (dance-mime), and another one which symbolizes the planting of seeds.

Inwood concert blog

 

http://dnainfo.com/20100830/washington-heights-inwood/inwood-moves-beat-of-japanese-drums-at-annual-taikoza-concert

 

South America

 

I will put some pictures later on the website.

 you can find some on flickr under taikoza.

 

The weather did not  get too cold  in Buenos Aires, though this time  i was prepared with warmer clothes.

 Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro were much warmer and  it felt like a cooler summer or spring weather. Starting to understand more of the language and  I think I should  start to learn them more seriously, Argentina and Brazil are big countries and there is still so much to see.

Hawaii and then Back to new York

 
After one great month on the road in Rainy California and Sunny Hawaii, I am back in New York for our Symphony Space concert, MArch 7th at 7 pm!!!!! We have some new compositions and new arrangements. Everyone is really excited about it and we just hope the weather will be collaborating. This winter, New York has had its fair share of snow, so Spring should be coming not too soon. Hawaii was again a pleasure to be in a warm place in the winter and great as i got to meet some new poeple and as well as people from groups that i had met in the past. I got to meet some members of the group Zenshin in Maui, a great group of people. There was also a last minute workshop with Maui Taiko ,who has been practicing some of my songs and it was great to see how well they have done with them. It s great to know that the music will be played in different places around the world and sometimes at the same time. Also got to meet some shakuhachi students and that always great to see how dedicated people are to learn this amazing and wonderful instrument. I hope it will become a companion in their life for a very long time as it has for me. I did a concert with Rakudo in Kauai. Patricia Yu organized a concert for me and some local group to help also raise fund for Haiti victims and it seems we raised $360.00. I collaborated with every group that was performing and the audience at the end joined in for a drum circle that when easily on for 30 minute and then kept on going on as we were closing up the theatre. In Honolulu, I got to perform with Hawaii Matsuri Taiko in the Great Aloha Fun Run, this was again a lot of fun-playing to encourage the passing runners. did several workshops in Kona, Maui, Honolulu, Hilo, Kauai. Plans are in motion for some concerts next year in Honolulu and Kauai so far and we hope to be bale to add some other concerts and collaborations.

Odaiko is back in New York

 
Our final tour in Switzerland with a week in Neuchatel was great too. We did 3 school performances for local schools and then we did 2 evening concerts for the public. We had to add one concert as the first show got booked out in advance. We then shipped all the drums back to the USA, in the meantime we had some shows upstate NY and used the drums that we still had here. For the shows in Cortland and Paramus, we had the big 6 foot odaiko again. The drums were flown back into New York only a few days prior to our departure to Cortland, NY. It is great to bve able to share that great sound with as many people as possible. We are hoping to do a recording again with the odaiko but in the meantime we are looking for sponsors. We are also working on some work tool for schools that will help student learn about taiko.

Italy

 
Concerts in Torino and Milan were great and we hope to be back for more in Italy. Look for more future concerts on our calendar catch our show somehwere close by.

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