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TOKYO

Shakuhachi player finds the Zen in deer sounds

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

The shakuhachi reportedly came to Japan from ancient Egypt, and the instrument’s pure tones have been used by Zen monks in meditation.

Akikazu Nakamura, who trained in the art of Blowing Zen under many shakuhachi masters, has played across the globe and will hold his 16th recital in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Oct. 15.

Nakamura has invented his own blowing method using circular breathing, which enables him to play long continuous notes without causing a break in the sound flow. In his repertoire, originally intended to bring the mind into spiritual contemplation, Nakamura has incorporated jazz, rock and other genres of contemporary music.

The recital precedes the release of his latest album in the “World of Zen Music” series: “Shika no Tone” (“The Voices of Deer Heard from Afar”).

Among the pieces that Nakamura will perform will be the title track, a particularly difficult composition for the shakuhachi. The piece conveys two deer responding to each other from across a valley, and allows for an individualized style of playing while using motifs from ancient poetry.

Akikazu Nakamura plays Tsuda Hall in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, on Oct. 15. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost ¥4,500 at the door. For more information, visit www.kokoo.com/kokoo_sch/topics.cgi (in Japanese).