An album of lyrical, contemplative duets for shakuhachi and sounding bowls. A meeting of East and West in the ethereal tones of the Japanese bamboo flute and the delicate resonances of these uniquely beautiful bowl-shaped zithers.
The album can be purchased on this page as a CD (posted via Royal Mail) or as high-resolution digital audio files in Apple Lossless, Windows Lossless or MP3 320 formats. Alternatively, if you prefer the convenience of iTunes or would simply like to buy an individual track, follow this link:
“Lots of fluidity, space and delicate interaction between the shakuhachi and sounding bowls. The trouble for me with so much music is that there are far too many notes. With these pieces there’s space for the resonances which are just as valuable as the notes themselves, and when coupled with all the wonderful nuances the shakuhachi brings (literally giving sound to the human breath) it’s something quite special.”
Verity Sharp. Late Junction, BBC Radio 3 [hr]
Sounding Bowls are a new instrument developed by Tobias Kaye in Devon, UK. They have metal strings set inside a circular wooden bowl, made from beautifully grained timber from British trees such as Cherry, Ash, Sycamore, Walnut and Holly. They have a lustrous tone, combining the best of many other stringed instruments in a surprisingly small size.
The sound of the Japanese shakuhachi flute is particularly well-matched to that of the sounding bowls. Both instruments are warm and rich in overtones. And just as the sounding bowls come in different sizes and woods, each one having sound properties, so too the shakuhachi is made in different lengths from uniquely patterned pieces of bamboo, each flute having its own individual timbre and sonority. [hr]
The recording of this album took place over a period of two years from 2012 – 2014. Tobias and Adrian came together to devise a sequence of pieces that could reflect the complimentary qualities of the instruments, exploring different moods and modes, and discovering which particular pairings of instruments harmonise with each other.
The result is an album of shimmering string textures and soaring shakuhachi melodies that resonates with a crystalline purity. As the album title and track titles indicate, the music evokes aspects of the natural landscape such as rock pools, clouds, windbeaten rushes, icicles, sunsets and flocks of starlings, but it also has a surprisingly rich emotional warmth and depth.
Sounding Bowls are one of the few instruments made entirely with hardwoods. Most musical instruments have softwood sound boards. Each wood has its own personality. One sees this in the shape of the tree, in the colour and feel of the wood, in the way a tree relates to its environment as well as in the sound it gives when made into a musical instrument.
The sound of any wood is true to its tree-nature. Cherry is bright and joyful in sound, like spring-time that delights us with its flowering. Oak is famous for its remarkably strong personality. Holly has a scintillating, starry sound. Walnut is rich sounding with deep quiet undertones of wisdom. Sounding bowls have a tendency to relax people and awaken them to their own personal intrinsic inner-beauty.
Tobias Kaye is the originator of sounding bowls. Following a wide diversity of experiences, studies and occupations in various countries he became a sculptor of lather in 1982. As a musician he has explored several instruments including piano, harmonica, penny whistle, trombone and voice. These fields of sculpture and music came together in making Sounding Bowls in 1986. Now in use wordwide Sounding Bowls have a unique tone that blends perfectly with the other-worldly sounds of the shakuhachi. www.sounding-bowls.com
All tracks composed and performed by Adrian Freedman and Tobias Kaye
Recorded Dartington, Devon, September 2013 by Adrian Freedman
Mixed and mastered by Adrian Freedman and Sam Welbourne
2. Wings in Flight
3. Tree at Falls Pool
4. Strato Nimbus
5. Life in a Rock Pool
6. Windbeaten Rushes
7. Murmuration at Sunset