The koto and shakuhachi are two Japanese musical instruments that produce mesmerizing and beautiful sounds. The koto is a plucked zither or harp that is related to other Asian instruments such as the Chinese zheng and the Korean kayagum. The shakuhachi is a an end-blown five hole Japanese flute that is traditionally made out of bamboo and has been used in Zen meditation for centuries. Duo En, based in the United States, fell in love with the sounds of these two evocative instruments and have released a collection of scenic instrumental recordings that feature koto and shakuhachi duos.
Duo En are John and Elizabeth Falconer. They met when they began studying Japanese in 1974. John and Elizabeth fell in love with each other, then fell in love with Japan and its music. The couple lived in Japan for over a decade, studying Japanese music from master teachers including Sakata Ryozan, Sawai Kazue, Sawai Tadao, and Igarashi Ryozan. Currently, the duo makes music for film and TV and tours throughout the northwestern United States.
The three recordings by the group include traditional and contemporary Japanese music as well as popular songs and Christmas music. Moonviewing celebrates the cherry blossoms and is primarily focused on Japanese music. Affinity ventures into new territory with the addition of music from other countries, such as the Latin American piece "Danza Lucumi." Winter Cranes is a Christmas album that includes original material as well as classic Christmas favorites.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.