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Shakuhachi - One Man's Meditation| 11mins
Director: Michael Hobbs | Producer: Michael Hobbs
Focus Years: 2012 | Country: New Zealand
Subject Tags: belief, consciousness, culture, evolution, ideas, new zealand, oceania, system designs
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
The shakuhachi is a Japanese bamboo end-blown flute, which has a rich culture and history associated with it. One blind New Zealander from the Bay of Plenty has developed his own relationship with bamboo, the shakuhachi, and its music. Kelvin Falconer walks through his bamboo groves with tall shoots of bamboo towering over him. The bamboo is littered with beautiful hand-made terracotta tags that Kelvin has made to know for how long each culm has been growing. Once he finds a suitable shoot, he proceeds to patiently craft the bamboo using only his senses of touch and hearing. At a glance, shakuhachi appear to be simple instruments, but the understanding and skill in shaping even a basic flute is something that requires Kelvin to have an acute knowledge of the physics of sound and the finesse to fine-tune each unique culm of bamboo. Through playing the shakuhachi, Kelvin is able to develop a calmness that he describes as "meditation through sound and breath." By watching him craft a flute from beginning to end we are witness also to a craftsman putting his all into every detail. Kelvin shows us that the shakuhachi is a tool that can bring calm and focus to distracted and stressed minds. His flute becomes a metaphor for what we make in our own lives, and through his craft he transcends his perceived disability and the limitations of blindness.

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Michael Hobbs

New Zealand


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