Saturday, March 31, 2012

Alcvin Ramos’s Web Site and Video!


Check out Alcvin Ramos’s web site. It’s wonderfully done and has a lot of info there.

From His Biography

Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos lives a life guided by shakuhachi. If it were possible to hear the breathing of the cosmos; it would probably sound like the shakuhachi of Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos; simple, complex, intense, deep; his music is a visceral adventure of the soul, rich in heart and wondrous vibratory realizations. His flute sings to us everywhere the shakuhachi has been, concert halls, to caves, castles to campfires, ancient temples to living rooms; the summit of mountains to deep in the rainforests.

Alcvin was born in Japan to Filipino parents, attended school in the States, and now lives in the rainforests of BC, Canada. He is Canada’s leading teacher of the shakuhachi, attaining the rare level of Dai Shihan (grandmaster). He practices the traditional ways but enjoys exploring sonic worlds of other traditions and beyond. In high school, Alcvin first heard the sound of the horizontal Japanese bamboo flute (yokobue) in an Akira Kurosawa film called RAN, played by master Hiroyuki Koinuma and was deeply inspired to study shakuhachi. After studying Eastern Religions and Philosophy in University Alcvin returned to Japan to study shakuhachi for serveral years. Through his study of the shakuhachi in Japan, Alcvin has had the opportunity to travel through Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada and America learning about various cultures and arts. The shakuhachi continues to lead him to more adventures to fascinating and beautiful places and people through the playing and creation of music.

Alcvin is one of the foremost teachers and performers of shakuhachi in North America. He was the first non-Japanese to win a prize in the all-Japan Shakuhachi competition. In 2001, he received his shihan (masters) license from one of the greatest shakuhachi masters in history, Katsuya Yokoyama and one of his most exceptional students, Kaoru Kakizakai. In November of 2008, Alcvin received his Dai Shihan (grand master) license along with a new name, “Ryuzen” (Dragon Meditation) from another one of Japan’s greatest players and teachers, Yoshinobu Taniguchi. Previously known as Alcvin “Takegawa” Ramos, Ramos replaced “Takegawa” with “Ryuzen” to embrace the new stage of his development. Ramos is the first Canadian and first one of Filipino descent, and one of only a handful of non-Japanese, to receive this esteemed honour. Alcvin has also studied jinashi shakuhachi playing intensively with Atsuya Okuda of the Zensabo and shakuhachi construction techniques with Shugetsu Yamaguchi, Murai Eigoro, and John Kaizan Neptune.

Alcvin has taught and performed all over North America, Europe, and Japan and pursues an active solo as well as collaborative career and has played with many distinguished artists such as John McLaughlin, Bill Laswell, Toshinori Kondo, Hun Huur Tuu Mongolian Throat Singers, Kazutoki Umezu, Celso Machado, Joseph “Pepe” Danza, Uzume Taiko, Ma Jie, Mariano Gonzales, Danny Kalanduyan and has opened for Anoushka Shankar and the Yoshida Brothers. Recent bands he has played in: Dharmakasa, Isshin Denshin, Densabi, Maru, Grooved Whale Project, Haagen, and is presently leading the Samaya Ensemble. A composer and multi-instrumentalist, Ramos explores playing with different musical traditions from around the world as well as new ways of playing traditional instruments and combining them with synthesized and electronic music.

Ramos is also a craftsman who produces finely crafted jinashi (hocchiku) zen flutes. With an intimate knowledge of the koten honkyoku (traditional solo Zen-inspired pieces) and the structure of the flute, each of Ramos’ flutes is made especially for honkyoku playing. Ramos believes that honkyoku expresses and utilizes the total spirit-sound of the shakuhachi. Every few years, Ramos takes his shakuhachi students to Japan where they harvest bamboo for making shakuhachi and to visit sacred places around the country in order to deepen their understanding of the instrument. Ramos lives in Canada, where he is the director of the Bamboo-In, a shakuhachi retreat centre on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.

He also has a page with playing tips and instruction

A Beginners Guide to the Shakuhachi from Byron Kopman on Vimeo.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Taiko Experience 2012 with Fushicho Daiko Dojo at Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix AZ.

I just saw that the Japanese Friendship Garden (in Phoenix AZ) on March 24, 2012 has an event "Taiko Experience 2012" with Fushicho Daiko Dojo (including the opportunity to learn taiko with special ticket purchase).
You can check out their web site at

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tai Hei Shakuhachi Japanese Bamboo Flutes

Tai Hei Shakuhachi Japanese Bamboo Flutes are made by Monty H. Levenson.

I have several of his flutes and they are quality flutes each and every one. There 2 levels of student flutes and Professional versions.

You can also find shakuhachi accessories, playing guides & book, sheet music, recordings / CDs and flute making craft manuals, books & videos.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Shakuhachi Fingering Charts

Here are a number of wonderful fingering charts.


Tozan Fingering Chart by John Kaizan Neptune : Left part / Right part / Entire

Kinko Fingering Chart from Shakuhachi Society of B.C. : Left part / Right part / Entire

Kinko Fingering Chart from Japan World Music : Entire

Tozan and Kinko (old & new) Fingering Chart : Left / Center / Right

Very simplified chart (only ロツレチリ), can be useful for initiation workshops : Entire

From a posting in the ESS Shakuhachi Forum,


Also Check out the Phoenix AZ Shakuhachi Friends web site at