This superb CD from the UNESCO Collection produced by Auvidis gives an overview of the range of traditional and folk music styles found in Japan. The first piece is a "naga-uta" song, accompanied by the shamisen, a three-string lute. "Naga-uta" is the style of singing used in kabuki theater. The second piece is a well-known Japanese koto duet, the koto being a table zither. The third piece is surely the most familiar Japanese shakuhachi piece, "Shika-No-Tone," the shakuhachi being the well-known Japanese bamboo flute. Listeners hear its original duet version, although it can be also performed solo. As for the folk songs, these are songs from different regions, such as the regions of Tsugaru, Okinawa, and Tokyo, and for different occasions: a mountaineer's song, a dance, a fishermen's song, a festival song, etc. An excellent CD.
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AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes