|Kiku Day with some of her myriad|
The shakuhachi is usually identified as an instrument of Zen Buddhism, useful in inducing meditation. And indeed, the first performer entered the concert hall as a Buddhist monk, in formal dress with the usual tengai basket over the head. The basket is supposed to erase identity, so it would have done no good to take a picture of Kiku Day in that costume. Here you see her relaxed with some of her shakuhachi that do not have a lacquered bore (thus, jinashi, 'no lacquer'). She played several meditative pieces, astounding her audience with the fluttering, plaintive, evocative sounds of the free-rhythm wanderings.
Kiku, a Dane with a Japanese and American background, studied honkyoku, with Master Okuda Atsuya in Tokyo for 11 years. She is a founding member of the European Shakuhachi Society and teaches shakuhachi in London and at Aarhus University in Denmark after having taken a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at SOAS in 2010.
|Charles Marshall on the biwa lute,|
in formal Japanese dress
Originally an Organ Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Charlie went to Japan as a JET English teacher and ended up spending 14 years there, learning Satsuma biwa from the Master Yoshinori Fumon between 1994 and 2003. He is now back in Ireland pursuing an MA in organ performance while continuing to maintain these extremely specialized and rare skills.