Mary Lu Brandwein on Shakuhachi
in Awaking Peace
My CD, "Awaking Peace, raw and real, nothing special shakuhachi,"
a private recording has been PIRATED...
I did not want to release it as it is NOT good; I made it only for the private use
of family and friends and as a marker of my progress.
It was recorded in 2004.
Here I want to give an explanation of what I was trying to do.The pieces are
misrepresented on the pirated sites in the sense that they are given the Japanese names, but as
I thought of them not as strict reproductions of the
Japanese pieces as they should be, but as my own interpretations of the pieces, I gave them
different names. Also the complete title of the CD is not given on the pirated sites nor are the inside explanations which I consider important as they
explain what I am trying to do. Here is the inside of the J-card that I had included in my CD:
1. Ups and Downs of Life, (interpretation of
the traditional piece, Meianji's "Sanya") ........................ 12:20
2. Deer Metaphor, (interpretation of the
traditional piece, "Shika No Tone") ............................... 9:04
3. The Heart's Many Longings, (interpretation
of the traditional piece, Futaiken's "Reibo") .............. 10:50
4. The Call, (interpretation of the traditional
piece, one of the three Ancient Pieces, Koku") ............ 13:02
5. SoulSound, (interpretation of the traditional
piece, one of the three Ancient Pieces, "Mukaiji") .... 9:14
6. Suchness, (interpretation of the traditional
piece, oldest of the three Ancient Pieces, Kyorei") .... 8:58
Copyright - 2004 Mary Lu Brandwein
All Rights Reserved
Recorded at Windy Hill Studio
Engineered, Produced by Dan Connor
Green Flash Records
The cover with the complete name is:
Inside J-Card Notes:
- 1. Ups and Downs of Life, "Sanya" - Three Valleys - (Meian Temple, Niigata, Japan) an emotional expression about the vicissitudes of the day. This is the beginning and you have just sat down from the busyness of daily living. Feel the hurry linger on your skin. Feel the rush of the pulse, the quickening of the heart.
- 2. Deer Metaphor, "Shika No Tone" - The Distant Call of the Deer - an old Komuso monk's piece, probably goes back at least 400 years. Two deer calling back and forth in the forest...and so the piece is about desire, dissatisfaction, anger, irritation, fear, and disappointment. The deer are only metaphors for us and our daily lives filled with the same. If we stop and look, we are always dissatisfied with something at any given moment. This piece is about the basic human condition and the way the mind works and the way we go through our days. I invite you too look into your own body and mind. Find the dissatisfaction, the tightness wherever it is and feel into it as the sound of the deer calling comes into that place also...feel it just for the space of this piece...those uncomfortable feelings that are usually pushed away by all of us. Let's do it together.
- 3. The Heart's Many Longings, "Reibo" (Futaiken, Sendai, Japan) also 400 years old, embraces the most sublime and the earthiest of longings. "Rei" (bell) "bo" (longing), longing for the bell or spiritual attainment, but "bo" is also in "renbo" (to be in love) and so it is a balanced word that embraces all the longings of the human heart. I invite you to go into your own heart in a deep way and feel what is there. When we stop a little and notice (thoughts too) returning again and again to the physical sensations in the heart. Let's give just a little attention to our own hearts....what is there?
- 4. The Call, "Koku" - Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky - one of the Three Ancient pieces, all of which probably go back to the 14th century and are said to have been "given" or "transmitted" and the composer is only a conduit. This piece starts with a clarion call which is repeated throughout the piece...the call of all beings (including inanimate objects) to us to be more aware, to more vitally experience.
- 5. SoulSound, "Mukaiji" - Flute Sound Over the Foggy Sea - one of the Three Ancient Pieces. The inner sound present beneath the content of daily life, but rarely noticed. This foggy sea isn't real, but the illusion of a sea, the thick fog that appears in the mountain valleys. The flute sounds above the fog but also reaches the valley floor which is what is really there...and so the flute sounds the inner soul sound or heart sound beneath the racket of every day life and the constant chattering of the mind...so let us go down to the valley floor and hear the quiet inner stillness with whole body attention, complete listening.
- 6. Suchness, "Kyorei" oldest of the Three Ancient Pieces. Beingness, simple presence, peace. Listen in quiet stillness. Stillness of body and stillness of mind. The first one note phrase again and again invites us to return and return again.
Shakuhachi is the instrument of timbre par excellence. A broad range of timbre, a varied palette of sound colors, pitched and unpitched gives voice to the inner landscape. So the pieces explore the messy inner obstacles to experiencing the already present inner peace. The pieces go from complex to simple; emotional to tranquil; exterior to interior; scattered to centered; newer to older.....and going through the obstacles together there is a dropping into a quiet, inner, still, silent place inside each one of us. The final piece is very simple and slow and by that time it is possible to listen with little thinking and with the whole body as ear.... a truly different musical and self experience.
- 1 & 2: Morohoshi Flute: 1.8, a standard shakuhachi size, low note D, a new flute as of 17 years ago with a more "modern" sound, brighter...
- 3 & 4: Anpo Flute: 2.0, pre-World War II flute, low note C, a sensitive, seasoned sound, a darker
sound, more porous and responsive...
- 5: Shugetsu Flute: 1.8, a flute more than 150 years old (Meiji Era) A flute tuned to itself, low note somewhere around C#. It is not cut like the others and the bore of the flute is not shaped with precision like the modern cut flutes, but a simple cleaned out bamboo flute. The sound is simple, just humbly being what it is, not embarrassed about it and just putting it out there, delicate and not invasive, but not silent nor shy... assuming its rightful place, just being what it is...
- 6: Morohoshi Flute: 2.3, a new flute as of 10 years ago, low note A, lowest of the flutes with a
deep, rich, moving sound...
Printed and copied at Donkeroo Studios
San Diego, California
Cover Photo by Donkeroo Studios
Monument Valley, UT: Navajo Tribal Park
Portrait: Bob Bretell, 2nd St. Photography, Encinitas, CA
Copyright © 2004 - Mary Lu Brandwein
All rights reserved
Who can blow upside down the solid iron flute
with neither mouthpiece nor finger holes?
Only the old oak tree in the yard, that bandit who steals your breath away, knows;
the "one who plays the stringless harp....the 'unstruck' sound..."
Copyright © 2008 - Mary Lu Brandwein