Nagomi-tei Yokohama

REVIEWS of  Moon in Water   in Japanese with English translation.
— a concert by Anne Norman (shakuhachi) & Uehata Masakazu (piano & reed organ) 
14th  July 2019, Nagomitei, Yokohama.

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日本古来の楽器である尺八で奏でられた音は、私の知るそれとは全く別次元のモノでした。最早それは尺八ではなく、あえて名前をつけるとしたらShakuhachiという新しい楽器の音色に、心を静かに揺さぶられる感覚にとらわれた。

横浜のなごみ邸で行われた「水の月」と銘打たれたライブで、初めてアン・ノーマンさんの尺八を聞いた。

オーストラリア人である彼女が奏でる音は、オーストラリアの先住民アボリジニのデジュリドゥを思わせるものであったり、ハーモニカのハンドブロウであったり、フルートのフラッターやブロウといった様々な楽器の奏法を取り込んでいて、尺八という楽器の枠を超えた素晴らしい演奏だった。そしてピンク・フロイドやイエスなどを感じさせるプログレッシブロックの匂いが、そこここに散りばめられているのには、驚きとともにニヤッとしながら楽しませてもらった。

彼女の演奏で一番心に引っかかったのは、そこにある風景や情景でした。それを最も感じたのはライブタイトルである「水と月」をテーマにした即興演奏でした。静かなピアノの調べに乗って尺八が情景を足してゆく、その時に見える景色は水墨画の様な淡い濃淡の世界ではなく、果てしなく横方向に広がっていて、それに次第に地平線までの奥行きが足されてゆく。ぼんやりと薄雲に隠れた月ではなく、クッキリと夜空に浮かぶ月が広大な大地を青白く照らして、その月を大きくうねりながらも静かに揺れる水面が映し出している。そんな情景を見せてくれた。

どんな楽器でも演奏者のパーソナルな部分が、そのサウンドに大きく影響する。オーストラリア人であるアン・ノーマンさんの奏でるサウンドには、「侘び寂び」「そこはかとなく」という日本独特のものだけではなく、広大な大地の広がりや生命の力強さを感じることが出来た。

最後に、これが「可能性」や「自由な発想」なんだよと子供達に見せて、聞かせてあげる事が出来たらいいなと思った。

妹尾研祐

The sound produced on shakuhachi in this performance was of a whole other dimension to that of Japan’s time-honoured instrument.  It wasn’t 尺八 anymore, but if I dare to name it, I was caught by the sound of a new instrument called “shakuhachi.”

I first heard Anne Norman’s shakuhachi at a live show titled “Moon in Water” at Nagomi Mansion in Yokohama. The sound she played as an Australian is reminiscent of Aboriginal didgeridoo, harmonica, flute flutter-tongue and other musical instruments. It was a wonderful performance that went beyond the framework of the instrument, with the occasionally whiff of progressive rock that smacked of Pink Floyd and Yes.

It was the landscapes and scenes that attracted me most about her performance. I felt it most in the improvisations on the concert’s Moon theme. The shakuhachi rode the quiet etudes of the piano, evoking images of a landscape in which I spied not a faint ink painting of a world of light and shade, but an endless line gradually stretching to the far horizon; the moon in the night sky clearly illuminating the vast earth, not a dim moon hidden behind a veil of clouds.

The personality of a performer greatly affects the sound of any instrument. The sound played by Anne Norman, an Australian, captured not only the ‘wabisabi’ and subtle sensibilities of Japan, but I also felt the strength of life and expanse of a vast land.

In the end, I thought it would be good if I could show children that this is “Possibility” and “Free Thinking,” and let them hear it for themselves.

SENŌ Kensuke

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NB: 尺八 is written using two kanji: 尺=shaku which is a measuring length roughly similar to a foot. And 八=hachi means eight. The standard 尺八 is 1.8尺 long. At this concert I performed on 3 instruments: 1.8, 2.0 and 2.1尺. 

Dshak

初めて、ソロの尺八の演奏を聴きました。最初は耳も慣れないかんじだったのですが、いつのまにかその音に引き込まれていました。空間を泳いでるような(流れる)音に癒されました。尺八であのような弾む音を聴けるとは思いませんでした。

お囃子や戦国時代や歴史物のドキュメンタリーでの印象が強い私にとってアンノーマンさんの演奏は本当に衝撃でした!音が時間と共に流れていくのに、しかし前に出した音たちが耳に残ってその音が後で出す音と重なるみたいでした。一人でどうしてこのように出来るのだろう。と不思議に思いました。アンノーマンさんの優しい雰囲気も印象的でした。いざ尺八を吹くと強さも交じるのが素敵でした。

酒匂フミカ

This was the first time I listened to a solo shakuhachi performance. At first, it was unfamiliar to my ears, but before I knew it, I was drawn into that sound. I was comforted, as though swimming through space. I didn’t expect to hear such a stimulating sound from the shakuhachi.

For me, who has a strong impression of hayashi folk music from historical documentaries of the period of warring states, Anne Norman’s performance was really startling! The sound flowed with time, but sounds that were made before remained in the ears and seemed to overlap with sounds that were made later. How can one do this alone? I thought it was mysterious. Her gentle atmosphere was impressive, and, combined with her strength of blowing, it was wonderful.

SAKOU Fumika

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PianoOrgan2

オーストラリアの尺八演奏家「アン・ノーマン」の音に触れたとき、様々な考えがめぐりました。彼女は上田流の中村心瞳、東京芸術大学で人間国宝・故山口五郎(琴古流)、海童道の田嶋直士に師事。

ただ伝統流派の尺八を継承しているだけでなく自らの表現手段に尺八を使い、しっかりした裏付けのある演奏法に基づいた新しい手法は、尺八という楽器の可能性を広げ、日本の原風景を切り取ったような空間を感じさせてくれました。

住んでいる人より他所からきた人の方が日本の地方都市の街の魅力を感じ楽しんでいる光景が多く見られます。同じ事が日本の伝統芸能にも言えるのではないでしょうか。海外の演奏家「アン・ノーマン」によって気づく日本古典芸能の新しい世界。日本の皆さんに広く紹介していかなければならないと感じた演奏会でした。

鈴木伸幸

When I experienced the sound of Australian shakuhachi performer, Anne Norman, various ideas came to me. She studied Ueda style under NAKAMURA Shindo, and at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts under the late national treasure, YAMAGUCHI Goro (Kinko school), and with TAJIMA Tadashi, (Watazumido style).

In addition to inheriting the traditional schools of shakuhachi, she employs her own means of contemporary practice based on well-honed performance methods as a means of expression on shakuhachi, opening up the potential of the instrument. I felt like a cut was made, allowing the ancient Japanese landscape to break through into the present.

It seems people from other places feel and enjoy the scenes and charm of provincial Japan more than those who live here. Perhaps the same can be said for Japanese traditional performing arts. I have become aware of a new world within the Japanese classical performing arts as presented by an overseas performer, Anne Norman. It was a concert that I feel I must introduce to all Japanese people.

SUZUKI Nobuyuki

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Concert Flyer:

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Program Notes:

ProgamNagomitei_2019

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New Moon tea ceremony

Rising just before my alarm at 5:20am, I went for a walk in the garden. No stars in sight. Not a breath of wind. My first sounds of predawn were cries of an unseen flock of white cockatoos. The “hour of the cockatoo.”

Dimly lit by communal residential garden lights, I took my secateurs and cut a slender stalk of red flowering grevillea. Through the summer drought I’ve been watering the broken stump of this old shrub and it now has many new shoots.  From the back fence I cut a sprig of orange flamed bougainvillea to place in a narrow-necked vase I inexpertly made at a mountain kiln in Japan in the 80s.  This I placed beside an incense offering adorned by shells and overseen by a woodblock print of a courtesan offering tea on a red lacquer saucer.

I was keen to remotely join Adam Wojcinski and his global tea mates in their solo New Lunar Year tea ceremonies. Not sure how “wabi” my leaf tea rite would be, (no matcha for me today), I prepared “crescent-moon” slivers of raw food to accompany it. I’d bought mandarins at the supermarket yesterday, but after tasting one crescent segment, I left an offering of the remaining eleven segments to the ring-tailed possums… (or the birds, whoever gets in first). The mandarin was out of season and tasted old. Yesterday I was beguiled by memories of mikan I’ve enjoyed at Japanese New Year, but that’s in winter… so I replaced it with a crescent sliver of juicy fresh summer peach. I also included a crescent-shaped cashew nut and a lovely full-moon lychee cradled in its red peeled scaley skin—an emerging moon.

I used a small inexpensive hand-crafted teapot I’d found at an outdoor market in Nezu decades ago and given to my grandmother (and later inherited it back). After pouring a fragrant infusion of gyokuro “Yame” cha into a small teacup made by Aki Katayama using her remarkable “wood-grain” layered clay, I made an offering of the tea to grandma Kath and all my ancestors, all my dead loved ones and teachers, and all those living who have played a part is shaping who I am. The sweet fruits and raw unsalted-nut perfectly complimented the nutty flavour of the jade gyokuro.

A little later, I infused a subtle Dong-Ding cha from Nantou, Taiwan in a Yixing pot bought from an antique shop in Kunming.  I drank it from a shallow fine-lipped Taiwanese teabowl with slim blue fish swimming around its white porcelain interior. A banana sliced in half length-wise in a crescent smile accompanied the pale amber infusion. Kneeling at my grandmother’s low inlaid-wooden game’s table, the dawn sky eventually revealed itself as a thick blanket of impenetrable grey. Neither the sun nor the thin sliver of new moon were visible due to cloud-cover and the smoke of distant bush-fires.

I took fuzzy snap shots of my little tea ceremony with my iPhone. Dawn is a difficult time to get photos without a good camera and a good photographer… I snapped some pics later in the day too, but still poor.

 

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Reading Adam Wojcinski’s fabulous document about Sen no Rikyu’s New Year tea ceremony of 1582, I realise I don’t use many implements to make a leaf tea infusion as opposed to matcha mixed with auspicious foods like ume-boshi, sweet black beans, sanshō pepper and kombu…  I “draw” the water from my ceramic water filter urn in my kitchen… not so sexy as visiting a spring. But I drew it in the dark at 5:30am, so perhaps captured a bit of the “vitality of the Yin of night as it shifts to the Yang of day.” A phenomena more easily understood when camping by a cold mountain stream…

Behind me on the wall hung calligraphy by my friend Nozao Shingo who wrote 一語一会 ichi go ichi e  (one encounter, one opportunity)  for my tea book Curiosi-tea published 10 years ago!  The Zen ideal of being totally present in the moment. Never let an opportuni-tea slip by…

Adam writes that the image hanging in Rikyu’s alcove was of the white bearded Jurōjin, the God of longevity. I didn’t want a God at my table, but a playful spirit made from treasures washed up on the wild beaches of Flinders Island seemed like a wonderful portent to a new year of adventure. So she made it to the table in lieu of Jurōjin.

Oyster and other shells served as platters for my small crescent fruits. I have no famous tea caddies taken into battle by Shoguns… just treasures found on beaches including moon shells and fragments of abalone shells from Mornington.

Following my little tea ceremony, I played my “Heart Moon” version of the honkyoku meditation “Shingetsu” 心月 on 2.1 shakuhachi. A peaceful solo rendition. Then stretched by performing “Moon Salutations” with YouTube yoga instructor Helen Fong. And so my day began…

Thank you, Adam, for inspiring me to do a New Lunar-Year tea ceremony to start off a new phase of the moon and a new year of adventures. All strength to your own dawn ceremony in Paris, or is it Berlin? And a HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR to all!

I am writing this in late afternoon, rapidly becoming evening, time to head to the beach to see if I can spot the new moon once the sun disappears over the horizon.

Anne Norman,
Mornington, Australia.  5th February,  2019

#lunarnewyear     #onedawntogether

 

Post Script: The wind was howling and dark clouds hugged the line where sky meets sea. No moon visible. Probably too close to the sun anyway. I’ll return to the beach tomorrow to try to see the new moon just after sunset.

Two previously successful moments:

dog and woman wade
small fish leap to reach the hook
a thin crescent moon

 

new moon’s subtle wink
arcs across the sky all day
trailing desert sun
unnoticed until sundown
but once admired
shyly dips from sight

 

PPS. I woke this morning, Feb 6th, at 5am disturbed by the howling wind and filled with thoughts of those fighting fires across the country, especially of friends in Tassie preparing their homes and gardens for approaching flames and making lists of what to take with them in the case of evacuation. I had planned to sleep in after a late night, but the wind brought leaping flames to mind, so I arose and had a different kind of tea ceremony using the huge tea leaves of Sao Ba Cha “broom tea” pu’er, harvested from the wild tea trees of Mt Nanuo and made by Mr Dan’Er.

Standing outside under the clear sky filled with bright stars, I dedicated this slightly smoky infusion to the fire-fighters and the people and creatures affected by relentless burning peat and exploding forests. May you have a steady, but not flooding, rain for as long as it takes to put out the flames.

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PPPS: Feb 7th. Crescent Moon Report: Last night I went for a swim at sunset. Huge cloud-cover hiding sunset and therefore moonset. But tonight, the sky was clear and the sunset glorious. No sign of the crescent moon however. Back at home, 30 minutes after the sun dipped from sight, the crescent moon was now visible in the half light of dusk. Both photos inexpertly taken on iPhone.

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damp and raucous silence

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from my soft perch of mossy green
between tangled roots of Tannenbaum
I hear faint clanging sounds

wafting white clouds
seem to 
bear the gift
of many-timbred bells

phantom cattle
grazing veiled and distant slopes?
perhaps…

multitudes of splashing rivulets
wend through tumbled rocks
their trickling treble clear
above 
an ever-present muffled bass:

unfathomed gallons of powerful turquoise white
roaring down the worn and narrow gorge
I left behind some time ago

broad-leafed ground creepers
glisten and bob in gentle rain;
a broken beech and twisted conifer
intimately embrace

water droplets fall from drooping needles
to splat
on blatt of beech below

no animal stirs
although I wait

just one fast darting bird
an insect eater
yellow belly
green wings (?)
chirrups
then flits up-stream

surprisingly
no sight nor sound of other wanderers
reaches my hidden haven
of damp
and raucous
silence

scribbled not far from the top of Gletscherschlucht,
a gorge at Rosenlaui in the Swiss Alps
Aug 31st 2018 © Anne M Norman
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Seven Tanka Writing

An essay by Joe Browning written in May 2017

People and chatter filled the colourful, high-ceilinged room perched on an upper floor in the Melbourne Recital Centre – a bright, airy setting for a new music concert, promising something fresh and a little out of the ordinary. We had come for the launch of The Prospect and Bower of Bliss, an album of compositions by Johanna Selleck recently released on the Tall Poppies label. Chatter gave way to speeches, then about half an hour of music, followed by coffee, snacks and more conversation. Afterwards, when one of the performers, Anne Norman, who I’ve come to know a little while living in Melbourne, suggested I might write something about the event, I was hesitant – not because of any doubts about the music or performances, which I found expressive and skilful, but because of concerns about what it means to write a review. Continue reading

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Ursula Genaehr’s funeral

2pm, 26th June 2017

People entered the large stone Church of St Matthews in Albury NSW, speaking in hushed tones. Down the front of the church was the coffin, painted with humpback whales breaching in an ocean of pastel blues and greens, painted by Ursula’s friend Kathryn Pyle. In a further breach of tradition, we were offered the opportunity to graffiti the painted coffin, with coloured crayons. People wrote their final messages to Ursula Genaehr, a German musician who came to live in Australia 22 years ago in the tiny rural community of Kiewa, just south of Wodonga.

Before the service. Kathryn Pyle’s Breaching whale

Continue reading

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Alone in Nature

I follow parallel scars, lured by their bumpy wayward promise. Leaving the dry red sand, my car skirts marshy grasslands, attempting to keep the lake in view, sometimes only imagined through tangled trees. I am seeking the illusory “far end” but dare not invade virgin ground—Is there any here, in cattle country? Are you mad? Continue reading

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Collective Improvisation

This is the transcript of a speech I gave two days ago at the album launch of a superb bowed-string impro collective in Melbourne. I abbreviated the speech (removing references to my own experience), and extemporised on the topic (hey, it was an impro gig), but, for the record, this is the speech I prepared. Thanks for asking me Ernie!

“Zephyrs of influence weave their way throughout these pieces,
lending familiarity and freshness”
Perry Holt – PBS “In The Quiet”

“The music on this CD reveals the magical power of
collective improvisation at work.”
– Le Tuan Hung, Sonic Gallery

Wonderful reviews for a wonderful CD: Bowlines: Circling Strangers

Why am I [Anne Norman] launching this Album of improvised string music? Perhaps because I too enjoy group improvisation, and perhaps because Ernie Gruner recently joined me in Darwin to take part in Tunnel Number Five: festival of underground music. Continue reading

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