Andrew MacGregor has been playing shakuhachi since the mid-70's with a strong interest in music from the Zen Buddhist tradition. Andrew has been exploring music by contemporary Japanese composers and this CD contains works performed with Haruko Watanabe during their 2003 concert series in Australia. Haruko Watanabe is a Grand Master of Seiha Hôgaku Kai, Ikuta School and is active in a wide range of music performance beyond the Japanese music genre. Haruko has performed around Japan since 1989 and in China. She is the director of koto ensemble "Aya no Kai" and head of "Ensemble Nipponia", Ehime Branch. 1. Mizuho no uta "Poem of Japan" (1.6 shakuhachi, 21 string koto) The rice fields are green and expectations for the harvest high. Summer warms the water attracting dragonflies and water striders. Graceful golden waves of ripened rice. Sunrise over a distant mountain range. 2. Kibitaki no mori "Forest of Flycatchers" (1.6 shakuhachi, koto) Morning mist disappears; along the mountain path; birds stir with the rain; raindrops; sunlight streaming through the leaves; rustling leaves and flying birds; birds call; along the mountain path; farewell to the forest 3. Kagerõ "Shimmering Air in Spring" (1.6 shakuhachi, koto) When spring comes, young leaves sprout and the budding feelings of hope and longing fill us with emotion, shimmering like a heat wave. 4. Banshû Sankei "Three Scenes of Late Autumn" (1.8 shakuhachi, 17 string bass koto) Scene 1. A boy plays his flute after the harvest. He is engrossed, and the sound from the flute is somehow healing, penetrating the soil and rice stubble. The stooks of rice silently listen to the music. 5. Kitakaze no Toki "Time of the North Wind" (1.6 shakuhachi, 17 string bass koto) In the season of the North wind The roots of the grass lie under the ground. The breath of spring is saved for now The shakuhachi blows the cold north wind and the bass koto describes the warmth lying dormant below the surface of the ground. 6. Kumoi Jishi "Cloud Lion" (1.8 shakuhachi, koto) This ancient rhythmic melody is a favourite amongst shakuhachi players and to play it with koto is a joy. 7.Sagariha "Falling Leaf" (1.8 shakuhachi) In northern Japan the first snowfalls of autumn have arrived. Chill winds herald the coming winter, and the swirling snow and falling leaves form spirals and eddies. 8. Ichijõ (1.8 shakuhachi) Life can be joyous one moment and unexpectedly, feelings can suddenly plunge to those of deep sadness and despair. The composer expresses answers to his questions about such vagaries of life.