Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Takahashi Chikuzan - No Shinzui

Takahashi Chikuzan was a blind shamisen player throughout the 20th century (born 1910, died 1998). He made quite a number of recordings and there was a 1977 film about his life called 'Chikuzan Hitori Tabi' ('Life of Chikuzan') but, like other traditional music, the albums are not always easy to find. Some were re-issued on CD in Japan and sometimes records appear on ebay or gemm for $5 (but more often $40+), most are relatively hard to get hold of as they are quite often badly listed (in my experience).
There's a lot to listen to on this record - four sides of roughly 20 mins each - and it covers a wide range for an instrument with just three strings. He is accompanied and introduced by other traditional Japanese instruments on a number of songs but the sides tend to stick to one style rather than have a wide range.

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