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Yoshio Kurahashi with Wu Man
Aki No Yugure (Autumn Dusk)
Sparkling Beatnik

cd cover Shakuhachi recitalist Kurahashi has been demonstrating the solemn emotive power of the end-blown Japanese bamboo flute since 1976. On Autumn Dusk he is joined by Chinese pipa (lute) virtuoso Wu Man who enhances three of these seven melodies, like a brief, faith-restoring sunrift at the end of a cloudy day. Shakuhachi however, dominates in keeping with the expectedly desolate character summoned by the album title.
This keeps the event direct and uncomplicated, free from the daunting task of trying to fuse two perfectly complete cultures. Instead Kurahashi and Man take turns speaking in gently extroverted Chinese and mournful inwardly-inflected Japanese instrumental tongues, but mostly the plaintive latter. Captured in the Empty Bell Sanctuary in Watertown, Massachusets and slightly more resonant Ben Ten Studios in Boulder, Colorado, the recording is clean, immediate and unabashedly flat. Well suited to meditations, especially those attending a recent loss, the feeling is summed up in a famous monk verse included in the notes:

Restless from solitude
I leave my small hut.
But everywhere I go
It is the same thing:
One lonely, darkening autumn dusk.

- Steve Taylor Song is traditional, published and ©2001 Sparkling Beatnik Records.
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