1995, percaso production CD 14 // 9 Tracks // 60:47 
Musician Ueli Derendinger // Production notes All copositions are traditionals, exept «6954» is composed by Ueli Derendinger // Recorded at St. Michael's Chapel in Waldegg Castle, Solothurn, Switzerland, 1994 August 9 by Ueli Derendinger // Edited by Ueli Derendinger // Mastered at Studio Gamma by Martin Lachmann // Foto inside by David Thommen // Liner notes by Ueli Derendinger // Graphic design by Anne Hoffmann // Cover art by Susanna Niederer


  1. CHÔSHI p
  2. SHIRABE p
  3. 6954 p
  4. SAN'YA p

Liner notes


The Japanese bamboo flute Shakuhachi belongs to the family of the notched flute. According to some legends it was brought to Japan from China in the mid 13th century by the Zen master Kakushin Shinchi (1207-1298). Since that time the Shakuhachi has been closely associated with Zen Buddhism: the first Shakuhachi players were Buddhist monks (Fuke order). Although they first used the instrument only as an acoustic signal for the recognition of their group, in the course of time they developed a special type of meditation from their Shakuhachi playing, the so-called Suizen (meditation through breathing). Blowing the flute helped the monks to control their breathing, an important form of concentration in Zen. Over the centuries, pieces of music developed from this blowing meditation. Various traditions and schools of Shakuhachi playing evolved, each with its own repertoire of honkyoku (original music). The honkyoku on this CD belong to the Myôan (bright/dark) tradition.



Shakuhachi : flûte japonaise en bambou. Vient en fait de Chine (apportée au milieu du XVIIIème par un maître zen : Kakushim Shinchi - 1207 / 1298). D’abord jouée par les moines bouddhistes : utilisée comme signe de reconnaissance du groupe, ensuite comme moyen de mieux contrôler sa respiration… De là est née une musique.
U. Derendinger, flûtiste né dans un pays montagneux, ne pouvait pas ne pas tomber dans l’honkyoku (répertoire musical développé à partir du shakuhachi). Il en est devenu un maître et le prouve sur ce disque. Variant les shakuhachis (entre 1,8 et 3 pieds de longs), il retrace en solo quelques secrets honkyoku en s’appuyant sur les traditions Taizan, Echigo-Myôan, Futaiken ou Kyûshû…
Et si ce que j’écris vous semble du chinois, sachez simplement que le présent disque, très traditionnel donc, vous permettra ce soir de dormir un peu moins bête et de vous demander pourquoi diable y a-t-il si peu de shakuhachi en musique improvisée connaissant mieux l’étendue de ses possibles, notamment dans les attaques de fin d’expiration.
Bref : San’Ya ouvre l’esprit plus qu’il ne donne envie de collectionner toutes les performances solos de Honkyoku.


Percaso ist eines der Kleinlabels, welches mit Hingebung, Überzeugung und schlicht und einfach mit viel Liebe Nischenpflege betreibt. Was diese Nischen alles in sich bergen, ist schon fast sowas wie Utopia oder geradezu Eldorado. Beginnt man in diese Nischen hineinzuhören, kommt man kaum mehr davon los. Soll man überhaupt davon loskommen? Im Prinzip nicht; denn die Mikrokosmen, die sich hier öffnen, sind musikalische Entdeckungs- und Erkundungsreisen tief in die Seelen- und Gefühlswelt. Eine wunderbare Erfahrung. Dank percaso production ist es nun möglich, uns lupenreine Shakuhachi Töne und Klänge zu Gemüte zu führen. Ueli Derendinger ist jahrelang in die Kunst und Geheimnisse der Shakuhachi eingeführt worden. Er spielt nicht primär diese Musik; er lebt die Kunst und vor allem die Seele dieser meditativen Musik. 


Not an experimental music disc, this, but a rather traditional one. Derendinger treats us to a sequence of Japanese compositions in the Meian-ryu; indeed, it gives us nearly one-third of the pieces which exist in this style. The sound of the shakuhachi -- an end-blown bamboo flute -- is, however, surprisingly resonant for Western listeners more used to hearing these kinds of sounds in an experimental music context.

Derendinger does give us his own addition to the shinyoku, the repertoire of new compositions, and it's there where we should probably start because it's here that his love of the sound of the shakuhachi comes to the fore. Along with the standard intervallic structures and free rhythm which characterise shakuhachi music, he appears to have added quite extreme timbral effects as compositional elements. The flexibility in pitch which the instrument offers are exploited to the full in the bubbling opening. It seems that a piece in shinyoku gives Derendinger a liberty to create more textural effects than the could be applied to honyoku pieces without overstepping the margins of allowable interpretation.
Still, traditional shakuhachi music, perhaps only equalled in this by some vocal styles, has always had a lot in common with the Western avant garde, even centuries before such a thing existed. The focus on open rhythmic structure means that sounds can stand alone and are subject to scrutiny. The upshot of this is that timbral variations are as essential in shakuhachi music as pitch variations in a raga or the blues -- without them, you simply wouldn't be playing the music at all.
Derendinger has obviously entered into this spirit wholeheartedly. His control over the flutter-tongueing, over-blowing and microtonal techniques which give the instrument its astonishing musical depth (this is essentially a tube with five holes in it) is virtuosic. Whether the subtleties of his performances are well-judged or not will have to be left to experts, of which this writer is certainly not one, but these interpretations sit comfortably with those by established Japanese performers.
Those with an ear for Western experimental music -- especially new music and free improvisation -- will find a lot to enjoy in shakuhachi music, probably more so than most other Japanese traditions even, and this disc contains some wonderful examples. For its focus on the Meian-ryu it is to be particularly praised, since it gives a clear picture of what this style is about for a Western audience too often palmed off with "world music" discs which give us little help in understanding the sounds we hear. And unlike many such offerings, this session has been beautifully recorded.


Ueli Derendinger joue de la flûte, et uniquement dans ce disque la flûte japonaise dénommée Shakuhachi ... En Europe, rares sont les musiciens adeptes de cet instrument, car il nécessite une étude approfondie dans son milieu géographique (le Japon) et une attitude d‘ésprit et de corps liés obligatoirement à son histoire. Clive Bell est en Grande-Bretagne le spécialiste, et en Suisse on trouve donc Ueli Derendinger. Ce dernier a enregistré 9 thèmes d‘une beauté mystique inédite, 8 tirés de la tradition MyôAn (lumière - ténèbres) et un de sa propre composition. Musique étonnante parce que l‘instrument ne connaît plus de limite et qui peut être apprécier par tous, y compris les athées de mon acabit.


SAN‘ YA - wonderful CD!!!


Il flautista Ueli Derendinger ha studiato a Basilea e in Giappone, dove si è familiarizzato con il shakuhachi, un flauto giapponese di bambù conosciuto dal sedicesimo secolo e strettamente legato allo sviluppo del buddismo zen ... Grazie a Ueli Derendinger, che qui interpreta otto honkyoku (canti zen originali) e suona una delle sue composizioni, quest suoni aerei, che non erano mai usciti dai templi zen, sono ormai alla portata di tutte le orecchie. 


San‘ ya es un catàlogo de piezas japonesas tradicionales para shakuhachi interpretadas por el suizo Ueli Derendinger, uno de los mejores conocedores europeos de esta flautas, la cual estudiò, posteriormente a la travesera, en Basilea y Osaka. El sonido, particularmente melancòlico, de la „flauta sagrada japonesa“ en sus diferentes modelos, se recoge en piezas de distintas trdiciones niponas: Taizan, Nezasaha-Kimpu, Fataiken, asi como el tema San ,Ya es original del templo Echigo-Myôan. Y un tema proprio, 6954.