09. April 2009

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche

Shomyo Genryu: "Sound of the Buddhist Mantra" / Mamoru Okuno: "otozure vol.4"

Shomyo Genryu
Shinko Sano (Shomyo/voice); Sujin Shishido (shomyo); Chushin Minami (ensemble founder and director/ Shomyo); Chishi Hashimoto (shomyo, hichiriki/gagaku instrument); Ryoushou Ikegami (shomyo, ryuuteki/gagaku instrument); Mahito Kawai (shomyo, ryuuteki/gagaku instrument); Hiroshi Nakagawa (direction, bansuri/gagaku instrument

Mystical syllable.
Shingon—mantra in Japan.
Sutra—the Buddha’s doctrine.
Passed on through oral tradition.
Buddha was born together with music.
Shōmyō: unisonous monk singing in Japan.
Harmony results from the overtone oscillations.
WA, harmony, develops between singers and audience.
KEI, respect, applies to music in tune with the nature of being.
SEI, purity, is brought into the hearts through the ritual of music.
JAKU, simplicity, sounds from little melodies and calm musical fluency.
Listening to the Shōmyō singing means not to be aware of any differentiations.
For the listener, Shōmyō singing does not generate any identification with the music.
Shōmyō does not move the listener’s spirit and soul and so each sound returns to its origin.
At the very beginning people imitated the mysterious sounds coming out of rock caves.
The singings imported from China were faithfully fostered and cultivated in Japan.
From an occult science Shōmyō developed into a religious musical ceremony.
For the Buddhists, Shōmyō became a ritual, for their singers, meditation.
For some time, Shōmyō fell silent, the singing was not celebrated.
Isolated from other musical streams Shōmyō kept its originality.
Today, the Shichiseikai monks have taken up the immemorial melodies.
The monks keep alive the rituals and sutras of the Chion-in temple in Kyoto.
The main temple of the Jōdo-shū stands where the founder Hōnen fasted to death.
From the Chion-in temple the Shichiseikai monks carry Shōmyō singing into the world.
With their singing, they are going to clear the listening hearts during Lenten time in Krems.
The stretched Shōmyō tones and their oscillating overtones calm down the listener’s mind.
Shōmyō listens to the inner rhythm of the heart and dissolves everybody’s sense of time.
The Shōmyō’s tonal system switches between five-tone scales and a seven-tone system.
Five, seven, five: the laws of the Shōmyō tones resemble the metrics of the Haikus.
The notation of the Shōmyō made of straight and curved symbols is the Hakase.
The symbols’ shapes, the speech sound and the syllable quality are cosmic.
The first and most significant symbol is the A, the source of all vowels.
In it, all the other sounds, as well as body and soul are contained.
The monks dedicate their whole lives to the Shōmyō singing.
“The voice, near or far, can be heard at all times…
can be heard by what comes and goes.
Listening is beyond thinking…
and reaches beyond
soul and body.”

Supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan

improvisation / otozure vol.4
Mamoru Okuno (Japan) (electronics, diverse …)

ZEN is timeless. The 1977-born Japanese Mamoru Okuno bases his sound installations in philosophic and spiritual spheres and develops them on the basis of Japanese musical traditions, in improvisations and in connection to electronic technologies. The musician, who used to live in London and studied the jazz piano in New York, resides for three months in Krems as AIR program scholarship holder and Composer in Residence, also to hold music and sound workshops with local high school students. During the festival Imago Dei he will transfer the millennia old musical ceremony, which the Shichiseikai monks from Kyoto are going to present, to contemporary sound worlds.


In Cooperation with

© Shickisekai

© Shickisekai