Born in Miyazaki, Japan, Satomi Saeki was introduced to Japanese traditional music by her father, a shakuhachi-player and -maker. She studied koto (horizontal harp), sangen/shamisen (3-stringed Japanese lute) and juushichigen (17-stringed horizontal harp) with Shizu Watanabe, Namie Sano and Takeshi Nakai.
Saeki graduated from the Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (National Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music) and the 37th Japanese Traditional Music School of NHK (Japan Broadcasting Cooperation).
Since moving to Victoria, British Columbia in 1994, Saeki has been teaching and performing koto music at various educational institutes and cultural events in North America.
Alcvin Takegawa Ramos
Alcvin Takegawa Ramos was born in Kanagawa-ken, Japan, in 1969. His interest in eastern religions, martial arts and meditation inspired him to study the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) and its various musical styles including honkyoku (sacred Zen music), sankyoku (secular ensemble music) and gendai kyoku (contemporary pieces).
Eventually Ramos received a shihan (master) license from Katsuya Yokoyama, a renowned master-teacher of the instrument and founder of the International Shakuhachi Training Centre in Bisei- cho, Japan.
The director of the Bamboo-In, a shakuhachi retreat centre on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada, Ramos is also the founder of the Vancouver Shakuhachi Festival held at the University of British Columbia every four years in November.
Ramos has also studied and practiced Zen meditation for many years and defines honkyoku as the aural expression of Zen. The actual playing of the shakuhachi is said to bring the musician to a Zen state of self-knowledge.
Ramos plays with various musical ensembles from Canada and Japan, and maintains an active schedule of solo shakuhachi performances in Japan, Europe and North America.