On Wednesday, November 27, 2013
This is a very good CD of Sankyoku music, that being a kind of Japanese chamber music with vocals and usually at least three instruments: the koto (zither), the shamisen (kind of like a banjo), and the shakuhachi (flute). The CD tracks all feature selections that are standard classics of the Sankyoku repertoire, so this makes for a great introduction to this musical form. The blend of the different instruments is really appealing, and the vocals (which I often find a bit distracting in Japanese music) work pretty well here after a little getting used to. Another plus, track 2 has one of the all time great koto musicians, Sawai Tadao.
This CD was originally produced in Japan, so the text on the back and on the notes is bilingual (Japanese and English). The liner notes are extensive in Japanese and even include the lyrics to the vocals, but the English part is a bit skimpy. Also, the CD case comes in an attractive CD slip-box (an unusual format here in the States) that also helps protect the actual case itself from the usual wear and tear.
All in all this is fine, elegant music very well-packaged. It's too bad the series of which this is CD #7 is becoming more and more of a rarity nowadays. Get it while you can, I guess.
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