A Solo Shakuhachi Against Climate Change

Here is the complete May 19 set by Elizabeth Reian Bennett. It’s taken a long time to get this up…but it’s worth it.


Honte Jyoshi / Shizu No Kyoki


Oshu Sashi


Six George Street Melodies


Tsuki No Kyoku


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Playing for the Planet: Elizabeth Reian Bennett and Ayakano Cathleen Read

I have always been tremendously moved by the spare elegance of Japanese classical music. The modal environment triggers my affection for some of the popular Hindustani pentatonic ragas, while the rough edges, empty spaces and fantastically varied qualities of attack, sustain and decay force me into a more Cagean listening space.

This aesthetic of open space contrasts greatly with Indian music’s demand for a continuously saturated surface; as a khyal singer I am always engaged in that supersaturation, and I love it…but at times I envy the sparse and evocative economy of Japanese melodic lines — so different, and yet so similar.

Need I point out that Japan (an island nation) is particularly vulnerable to the rising ocean levels which will be triggered by catastrophic climate change?

The music presented on Saturday night by Elizabeth Reian Bennett, Ayakano Cathleen Read and Charles Hughes was a beautiful glimpse into an ancient tradition rarely heard today. I am deeply grateful for their performance.

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