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Reviews of WSF 2012
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-06-07, 05:11    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

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My mini review of WSF 12:

I'm writing this bullet point review of WSF 12 just to get the ball rolling and incite others to write more in-depth reviews.

General:

1. The word "festival" contains "festive". This one was. Everybody had fun.
2. Kyoto is a good place to have a shakuhachi festival. Myoanji.
3. The festival was very inclusive.
4. The Japanese players were very friendly to the international visitors.
5. The spirit of a festival embodies the spirit of the main organizer. Kurahashi Sensei generated a lot of goodwill.
6. These things don't happen by themselves, a lot of great people made contributions which went mainly unnoticed but were crucial.

The Music:

1. There are two kinds of shakuhachi players. Those with energy and those lacking.
2. Ryu, style and philosophy don't count for much when you're listening to music live. See above.
3. Shakuhachi is very elastic. People do almost anything with it.

Advice for Performers and Composers (based on what I heard):

1 If you think your piece is too long that's because it is. If you think it's the right length, it's also too long. If you think it's way too short, it's the right length.
2. Don't play your most difficult piece, because you will screw it up.
3. Don't play something other people will be playing.
4. Don't play the same piece you played at the last 3 or 4 festivals.
5. Have fun.

Quote of the Festival: (paraphrased from the main dude at the hitoyogiri concert)

"There are three eras of shakuhachi. 1.Gagaku. 2. Medieval, which is what I play (i.e. hitoyogiri). 3. The modern shakuhachi, which started with the komuso."

I like this quote because he put us in our place.............Kinko, Tozan, Myoan, Shinkyoku, contemporary, jazz, minyo, pop......................we're all "modern". So we can all argue about which version of Kyorei is the most ancient or which ryu is most traditional but it's doesn't matter because we're all playing "modern" music. Very liberating.
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2012-06-07, 17:38    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Thanks Brian!

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
My mini review of WSF 12:

I'm writing this bullet point review of WSF 12 just to get the ball rolling and incite others to write more in-depth reviews.
...

1. There are two kinds of shakuhachi players. Those with energy and those lacking.
2. Ryu, style and philosophy don't count for much when you're listening to music live. See above.
3. Shakuhachi is very elastic. People do almost anything with it.


I've thought about these topics many times since I've been around so many different kinds of players.

1. For me, as long the player understands the kind of energy that is being cultivating, the better the listener will be able to participate.
2. See above
3. The shakuhachi, aside from Ryu, is an instrument first. People should feel free to play anything with it. The best kind of shakuhachi sound is one that embodies a sense of freedom.


Tanks again for sharing your thoughts.
- Perry
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x moran
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PostPosted: 2012-06-07, 22:48    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

I imagined what it would have been like to be Tweeting live from WSF 2012 in Kyoto


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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-06-08, 01:20    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Yes Perry, we all have our preferences for listening to CD's or what we like to learn and study. But when you're in a room and hear the actual sound and feel the actual energy coming off the stage all that stuff disappears.
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Rick Riekert
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PostPosted: 2012-06-08, 15:37    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
There are two kinds of shakuhachi players. Those with energy and those lacking.


When I’ve asked myself why I prefer certain players to others, regardless of style, it usually comes down to the sense of freedom, ease, and energy their playing embodies that seems to come from having a complete command of the instrument, an intimate relationship with the music, and temperament.
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-06-09, 01:00    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

One of my favourite things about being at the festival was the opportunity to meet in the flesh people who hitherto had only been names and interactions on the forum. For example I did some gigs with Pepe Danza. We've chatted a lot on the forum but never met or played together. People from all over introduced themselves to me, James Thompson, Jeff Cairns, and more. It felt like meeting up with old friends but in a sense they were new friends. Thanks to those who said hi.

Could we have a roll call of forum members who attended the festival?
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2012-06-09, 06:30    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Yes, I agree about that Tairaku! It was amazing meeting so many of these names and pictures on the various fora and Facebook etc. I also really appreciated the people who came and said hi!
Do you want to start a new thread as a roll call of forum members who attended the festival?
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2012-06-10, 06:58    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Ok here I go:
Overall: fantastic experience! Inspiring performances, fun market, great hanging out with new/old friends, exhibitions, and Kyoto is an absolutely gorgeous place.
Minuses: * Program lacked maps or addresses. Got lost every time trying to get to the venues... even showing the program to a cab driver didn't help!
* A whole day of Shakuhachi ensembles can turn someone off Shakuhachi for life. Jinashi ensemble? OMG who thought of that?!!!
* Venues where noisy at times, you could hear backstage noise and market noise.
* Non stop performances from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm is overload... there should have been a few 20 min. breaks.

Pluses: * If there was any politics or ego BS I certainly didn't feel it. Great exchange of ideas, variety of schools, mutual respect and fun times. Very different experience from when I lived in Japan twenty five years ago!
* Hearing some of the players I have always admired was a real treat! Discovering new ones a great gift (totally in love with Teruo Furuya's playing and personality and teaching)
* Both gigs with Brian where most definitely the highlight! (and I heard many in the audience felt the same way)
* Meeting forum members and hearing them play was a joy and I hope we create many more opportunities to play and enjoy together (Jeff Cairns is coming to Vancouver in August and we'll do something together with Alcvin on the 9th... all invited!).
* Shakuhachi is a long, hard, and most often lonely pursuit. It was such a joy to feel being part of a community and meeting some absolutely wonderful people
* Having the opportunity to blow on all different kinds and qualities of flutes was a load of fun and very educational and unique experience. Mostly I learned how relative the relation of price to quality is, and how individual our tastes are. It's amazing that a simple piece of bamboo with five holes can offer so much variety of sound. I did end up buying the Jinashi 2.4 of my dreams...

Obsevations: Frank Zappa said: "There's only two kinds of music... good and bad". That really held true... no matter what Ryu, style, or whatever... you are an inspired player or you are not, you bring meaning and depth to every note you play or not... For me the length of the pieces was not an issue; there were some players I could have listened to for hours...

That's all I can think for now... Ready to do it all over again in Prague!
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Brian Tairaku Ritchie
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PostPosted: 2012-06-10, 10:53    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Pepe, what was the jinashi 2.4? I did not see that!
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2012-06-10, 14:59    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

It's from an unknown but truly amazing maker that was with us at the camp and only sold to camp participants. His name is Masami Kurita. My friend Eric bought a 1.8 Jiari from him and it's one of the most amazing flutes I've ever played (he did pay accordingly!). I'm in love with my 2.4! You'll see it when we start touring Smile
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x moran
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PostPosted: 2012-06-10, 20:32    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

I certainly wish I could have been at the festival. Myoan is my sole interest these days.

But speaking of grand festivals, the Sydney WSF 2008 was truly remarkable.

You know, if you haven't bought the complete original set of WSF videos, here's the web page:

http://www.rileylee.net/WSF08_DVD_order.html

On to Prague in 2016!
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Kiku Day
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PostPosted: 2012-06-10, 21:09    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Pepe, Kurita has been around for a long time. He is just not internationally acclaimed... and perhaps not really in Japan either. He belongs to a group of good makers that are in a grey zone between amateur (here I am emphasising the French meaning - which is a lover of the art - rather than the English, which is more whether you make a living of it or not) and professional maker. There are others in Japan like that such as Ninomiya Kenzo. These "grey-zone" makers do deserve more attention. So thank you for bringing up Kurita here on the forum!
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J. Danza
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PostPosted: 2012-06-11, 12:35    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Thanks for the note, Kiku. I must say I didn't try anything in the market that I liked better than his work... His Jinashi 1.8 are absolutely amazing... and gorgeous to boot.
I don't think he has a web site, but if anyone is interested, I do have his e mail.
For photos of my new 2.4, you can look up the new photo album I put up on FB, which will expand daily...
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150846126285614.396451.68690561…
Tomorrow I have my first lesson with Yodo Kurahashi!
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DaveW
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PostPosted: 2012-06-12, 12:49    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

Kiku, Brian - Sorry I couldn't make it. Sooo wanted to be there but alas, exams and exam script marking!!!
Kiku, you know :-)
Hope to catch you both somewhere soon.
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Perry Yung
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PostPosted: 2012-06-12, 15:05    Post subject: Reviews of WSF 2012 Reply with quote

J. Danza wrote:
Thanks for the note, Kiku. I must say I didn't try anything in the market that I liked better than his work... His Jinashi 1.8 are absolutely amazing... and gorgeous to boot.
I don't think he has a web site, but if anyone is interested, I do have his e mail.

I really enjoyed playing Kurita san's flutes. He's a very nice guy too. We hung out at the vendors area at the Big Apple World Shakuhachi Festival in 2004.

Quote:

For photos of my new 2.4, you can look up the new photo album I put up on FB, which will expand daily...
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150846126285614.396451.68690561…


I hope that sexy photo of you and your friends in that tiny Kyoto hotel room doesn't stir up some domestic trouble Wink.

Brian Tairaku Ritchie wrote:
Yes Perry, we all have our preferences for listening to CD's or what we like to learn and study. But when you're in a room and hear the actual sound and feel the actual energy coming off the stage all that stuff disappears.


Yes, I totally understand the importance of energy on stage. In an all day event, people can get bored if the energy does not build. I heard this was one reason why Jimi Hendrix set his strat on fire at Woodstock.
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