I'm happy to announce that the first meeting of a new shakuhachi study group will take place in London on Saturday 18th of February.
This is an informal opportunity for shakuhachi players to meet, play and learn together. People from any school/style of shakuhachi playing and any level of ability are welcome. The meetings will include a range of different kinds of shakuhachi music – honkyoku, sankyoku, min'yo, shinkyoku.
The aim is to create an inclusive, enjoyable setting for playing the shakuhachi. The emphasis is on learning together as a group, rather than the teacher-led classes typical of summer schools. The group will be organised initially with help from Joe Browning, Kiku Day, Michael Coxall and David Hughes (a min’yo expert).
The group hopes to invite shakuhachi teachers and koto and shamisen players to some sessions. In this case we would want to pay them to accompany or teach the group, which would mean everyone contributing some money towards this cost. However, there will be no charge for attending normal sessions (without a teacher/accompanist). We are also looking at including min'yo (folk music), which many people experienced during last year's ESS summer school.
-- PLACE: The Russell Square campus of SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies). See a map here: http://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/. There are several nice new music practice rooms which we should be able to use.
-- TIME: First meeting on Saturday 18th of February 11.30-2.30. We hope to hold meetings roughly once a month. The second meeting is planned for Saturday 10th of March. The rough schedule for the first meeting is: 11.30-1.00 genres other than min’yo; 1.00-1.30 break for lunch; 1.30-2.30 min’yo. In this last session we will be joined by some min’yo musicians who will sing and play other instruments.
If you are interested in joining the group, please reply to me at joeshaku[at]googlemail[dot]com. This is not a commitment, just an expression of interest. Please let me know if you can attend the first meeting on 18th of February; whether in general you could attend a daytime Saturday meeting; and what types of shakuhachi music you would most like to study. Once we know levels of interest etc, we can refine the format of the meetings to make them as useful and enjoyable as possible.