Shakuhachi Master - John Singer


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In olden days, there used to be a saying, "Ichi Ji Ichi Ritsu" which means, "the original piece of a specific temple". These original pieces were performed in the practice of Takuhatsu (begging). Many Takuhatsu pieces have the suffix Reibo after them and names were used before "Reibo" to mean the original piece of a specific temple. In this case Kyushu Reibo is the original piece of Iccho Ken Temple located in Hakata, Kyushu. There are many possible explanations why the term "Reibo" is used here but it is uncertain which is the correct one. However, when the Chinese characters for "Reibo" are looked at, they can probably be understood to mean "to yearn after the bell" which was rang by the Fuke Zen monks. According to a Rinzai Zen notebook, there is a legend where in the city a Zen monk chanted while ringing a bell. One day he had the towns-people put him into a coffin and nail it shut. The people could still hear his chanting and bell ringing. they then opened the coffin but the monk was nowhere to be found but the sound of the bell ringing in the air could still be heard and then it gradually faded away. It is probably true that Komuso in those days practiced Takuhatsu pieces like Kyushu Reibo recollecting this story.

Like the piece "Hachigaeshi", Kyushu Reibo begins with a high pitched melody and abruptly repeats two high pitched sounds. This first phrase is a special characteristic of this piece and it has some remnants of dynamic musical melodies of the Kyushu area. This special phrase is once again repeated in the second section. Thereafter, middle range sounds are performed and then the melody becomes high again and, like the first section, the same melody is repeated.

(Note: the term "Reibo" can also be understood to mean "Praying for the deceased", however, the character for "Rei" is different).

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