For the Love of Music: The Artistry of Morishige Yasumune of Tokyo, Japan

Morishige Yasumune

Morishige Yasumune

The notes are stretched long and low…searching…winding…moaning…dropping down into uncertain depths…

Suddenly: Quick-quick, high note!

Silence.

The piano takes over, low keys: “Dong! Dong-dong! Vibration…stretched out…then: Dong!”

Hands slapping wood.

“It sounds like someone is walking through the woods and they’re scared,” observes my fourteen-year-old son.

Sabrino Sollazzo of Milano, Italy: “He’s telling a story by sound and mind pictures. Oh, it makes me feel free!”

The inventive and enigmatic musicianship of Morishige Yasumune.

“I always try to concentrate on only the sound itself—what I am making with my instrument…
I think that the best condition for improvisation is to play without thinking, just feeling and doing. Similar to meditation.”

Improvisational guitarist, Jaakko Savolainen (Alvari Lume) of Finland: “I think that an instrument when it is played long enough, becomes a part of the musician’s personality, soul, the way of seeing oneself.”

Jaakko Savolianen

Jaakko Savolianen

Yasumune: “Between the instrument and me…once in a while…deep smooth conversation.“

Savolainen: “Music turns out a natural way of breathing and seeing the environment. You really start feeling the sound through your body. For me, it is important to feel the sound on my fingers and let it go through myself. The touch of the sound is so very important. I hear this in Morishige’s playing too…”

Yasumune: “In Japan, we had huge tragedy on 3/11. So many people died, and so many people lost their family, friends, house, and job. And huge number of people have been also attacked and scared by invisible dangerous radioactive materials still. I have talked with my friends who are artists and musicians. We are feeling that something completely changed after 3/11 for us.“

“I don’t have a quick answer for how we should create beauty in such hard times. I do think this is a good opportunity for us to think more deeply about why we play music, create art. I think it may be about relationships between people. How we encourage a person who is in trouble. I decided to stop having gigs for a while because of my father’s sickness. I can’t say exactly when I will be able to play music in front of the people again; but I think this will be good time to think about art and music more deeply.”

Savolainen: “I have great respect for Yasumune’s culture. But in my eyes, now should be the most important time to make music.
To let the heeling power live and breath.”

*               *                *

Further Notes:
Morishige Yasumune studied at Shizuoka University, and lives in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
His album, “Morishige Yasumune,” is available through the combustus store.

Jaakko Savolainen’s “Alvari Lume” album is available through Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/alvarilume
He currently is recording his new album of improvisational guitar solos, this one featuring new ideas the artist has been exploring, among them a way of synchronizing rhythm with breath.

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10 comments on “For the Love of Music: The Artistry of Morishige Yasumune of Tokyo, Japan

  1. I have always turned to music during hard times. Easier for me to loose myself in sounds than in words. Interesting, highly quotable, exchange between Jaakko Savolianen and Morishige Yasumune. Glad to have the information about their albums.

    • I’m definitely the same way Barbara! As much as I adore words, there’s nothing quite like music’s power to take us to the place deep inside and beyond. The impossible feels suddenly possible, the insurmountable and unsurvivable become not nearly so oppressive when one is rocked by the vibrations of music!

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