Adrian Freedman plays the shakuhachi, ancient Zen flute of Japan. The shakuhachi has a unique and powerful sound that draws the listener into a place of intense stillness and of pure musical beauty.

Adrian’s shakuhachi recitals are held in a peaceful, candlelit atmosphere, with Japanese temple incense and temple bells. A mood of deep silence is held between the individual pieces. The programme features classical Zen pieces interspersed with Adrian’s new compositions and improvisations.

Some of the classical shakuhachi pieces are serenely meditative and picturesque, such as Shingetsu (Heart Moon) and Shika no Tone (Call of the Deer), while others are more powerful and dynamic, such as Yamagoe (Mountain Crossing) and Daha (Breaking Waves).

Adrian’s own pieces reflect something of his broader musical journey, incorporating elements of Celtic music as well as free improvisation with extended techniques – from ancient roots to new flowerings.

Within the sound of the shakuhachi we can hear living nature… the cry of a soaring bird… wind playing with the leaves in a bamboo grove… an empty bell ringing in a still morning – and all expressed with great depth and nuance of feeling.

The interweaving of subtle sound and silence creates a magical soundscape – the shakuhachi connecting on a profound level with the heart, and opening up the listener to a sense of inner stillness that is sometimes difficult to find.

The shakuhachi has an ancient history, going back well over a thousand years. It has strong links to Zen Buddhist contemplative practice. Within this context the shakuhachi was considered as more of a spiritual tool than a musical instrument.

To read more about the shakuhachi and about Adrian’s shakuhachi journey:

A Shakuhachi Journey

Adrian has recorded two albums featuring solos shakuhachi music:

Music on the Edge of Silence

Music on the edge of Silence is a deeply contemplative mixture of traditional Japanese pieces and original compositions by Adrian Freedman

Shakuhachi Album As I Breathe Front Cover listen|Album As I Breathe Back Cover|Album As I Breathe MoonPainting Original Artwork by Noriko Moonbird Features|Flute Player paiting by Noriko Moonbird Projects

As I Breathe

As I Breathe features new music for solo shakuhachi, interspersed with tracks that feature Japanese musicians Esoh and Ema (yangqin and erhu) as well as Neil Davey (bouzouki), Heather Golding (voice) and Rebecca Jackson (cello).

Two short films of Adrian playing solo shakuhachi in Kyoto, Japan:

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