The Sakuhachi Master
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This is Hideyuki Ueno, a sakuhachi master.
He is my "iconic hero" - a representation of the qualities that I look up to.
I played music when I was young - played the trombone, initially in a school brass band and eventually in just about any musical group where a trombone can fit in, from pop and jazz big bands to brass ensembles and symphony orchestras.
Also, I have always been drawn to the arts as well as to spirituality.
The sakuhachi master represents all that I look up to - accomplishment in his art and the attainment of maestro status.
In addition, sakuhachi music is often associated with sacred music and so the sakuhachi master is, to me, a spiritual master as well.
Ueno-sensei performed in Singapore recently, in the first in a series of concerts called Tapestry, featuring sacred music.
His performance started at 5 pm. I had gone out in the morning and reached home just after 4pm. I was tired and I wondered if I should rush down in a cab, or take my time and simply catch his second performance at 6pm. At about 4.50pm, I decided to take the cab.
It was well worth the rush and the expense. The performance, mostly accompanied by three younger sakuhachi players, was truly masterful.
There were not a lot of photo opportunities though. From the front, the lower half of the body, including part of the right hand, was usually blocked by the music stand. From the side, it didnâ€™t look too great.
Anyway, I shot someâ€¦ and for the second set, I secured a seat right up front directly facing the sensei, having decided to forget about side views.
Before I knew it, I had taken over 100 shots. This was the last shotâ€¦ and certainly â€œnot leastâ€.
As I researched for this article, I learned that sakuhachi actually means â€œone foot eight inchesâ€ which is the starting length for these bamboo flutes. But nowadays, even shorter lengths adopt the same generic name.
While the sakuhachi looks like a recorder, it is a â€œfluteâ€ because the player blows over the mouthpiece, and not into it as is the case of a recorder.
There is a reason why I am posting this image now. But I can't reveal it yet. Tell you all in about two weeks.
Watch this space!
Also by Richard Seah
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