This CD is the result of a collaboration between shakuhachi player Brian Tairaku Ritchie and shakuhachi maker Ken Mujitsu LaCosse. The CD features Mujitsu's radical wide bore raw bamboo shakuhachi exclusively.
Brian Tairuku Ritchie
Brian Ritchie came to prominence in the field of music in 1982 with his band Violent Femmes. Brian started the band to explore the possibilities of acoustic instrumentation playing rock, jazz, blues, country and folk music with a strong improvisational element. The Femmes have played more
than 2000 concerts in over 30 different countries around the world. Some highlights include sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, three hundred thousand people at Woodstock ’94 and the northernmost rock concert in history at the magnetic north pole. They have numerous gold and platinum records. Brian’s main instrument in the band is acoustic bass, but as an insatiable multi-instrumentalist he has performed or recorded on over 40 instruments.
Brian started playing the Shakuhachi (Japanese Bamboo Flute) in 1996 as part of his never-ending search for new musical challenges. He was also attracted to the instrument because of his Buddhist background. Brian studied in New York City with James Nyoraku Schlefer for seven years, which culminated in receiving a Jun Shihan teaching license in March 2003. He received his professional name “Tairaku” from Schlefer, Yoshio Kurahashi and Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin. Brian played only the traditional Jin Nyodo repertoire up to this point, but after receiving his license started to investigate the possibilities of shakuhachi in
jazz, rock and world music. To this end he started a series of bands and recordings with the Shakuhachi Club. There are many Shakuhachi Clubs at this point, New York City, Milwaukee, Reykjavik, Hobart, London and San Francisco. “Brian Ritchie: Shakuhachi Club NYC” was released by Weed Records in 2004 to critical acclaim and strong sales. Tairaku also has a honkyoku CD “Purple Field”. Another, Shakuhachi Club Milwaukee CD “Ryoanji” was released in 2006. It features Japanese music from the 6th to the 21st centuries combined with improvisation.
In addition to his international activities as a shakuhachi performer, Tairaku teaches at his Tairaku An dojo in Sydney and Hobart and is one of the administrators for the World Shakuhachi Forum at www.shakuhachiforum.com. He was jazz/improvisation instructor at the 2006 European Shakuhachi Summer School at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Ken Mujitsu LaCosse
Ken LaCosse, of San Francisco, has been making shakuhachi since 1988. Early on, he specialized in modern, precision style shakuhachi called ji-ari. After being introduced to the older, more natural style of vintage ji-nashi shakuhachi by shakuhachi player John Singer, he focused on ji-nashi making exclusively. In an effort to refine some of the characteristics of extra wide bore, long flutes, he works closely with shakuhachi player Brian Tairaku Ritchie, making a style of shakuhachi called Taimu.
Ken provides shakuhachi for professional players, teachers and students throughout the world. Ken is also co-administrator of the World Shakuhachi Forum.