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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Gualala Arts Presents
An evening of Japanese culture, featuring
Ensohza and shakuhachi master Riley Lee


Friday, July 10, 2009    
7:00 p.m. performance
5:00 p.m. BYO BBQ     

Gualala Arts Center
JAMI Amphitheater

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Ensohza An exciting mix of Japanese classical and folk traditions comes to Gualala Arts on Friday, July 10, 2009, in a concert featuring shakuhachi master Riley Lee and traditional folk group Ensohza. The offerings will range from sublime religious solo shakuhachi pieces to rousing folk dances accompanied by traditional taiko drums.

The evening starts at 5:00 p.m. with the barbeque fired up for a bring-your-own meat along with a salad to share. Remember to please bring your own dish and silverware set-up. Gualala Arts will only have drinks for sale. Concert will be in the amphitheater unless weather / performers want to be inside.

Concert starts 7:00 p.m. Adults tickets are $15 advance, $5 more day of performance. Youth 7 through 17 are free.

Riley Lee Riley Lee began playing the shakuhachi, the Japanese traditional end blown bamboo flute, in Japan in 1971. During the eight years he lived there, he immersed himself in its arts. From 1973 through 1977, he toured internationally as a full-time performer of taiko (festival drums) and shakuhachi with a group of traditional Japanese musicians.

His studies with traditional teachers in Japan have included such peculiar methods as practicing barefoot in the snow, running marathons, and blowing into his flute in blizzards until icicles formed at the shakuhachi's end. In 1980 he became the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of dai shihan (grand master) in the shakuhachi tradition. He completed his BA and MA degrees at the University of Hawaii, and his PhD degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Sydney.

Riley has played his bamboo flute extensively throughout Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. A prolific composer for his instrument, he has composed and arranged over sixty pieces. He has, to date, released over 30 recordings world-wide, largely of his own compositions.

The shakuhachi is an end-blown flute, first introduced into Japan from China in the eighth century. It has been used as a spiritual tool since the 15th century or earlier. The unique sound of the shakuhachi relaxes the mind and body in many ways, and subsequently aids in meditation and contemplation.

The morning following this performance, Riley Lee will give a workshop on Breathing for Health and Awareness.

Ensohza Formed in 2006, Ensohza is a minzoku-geino or Japanese folk performing ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ensohza performs music that evokes the festival spirit and character of Japan's diverse rural communities.

With lively vocals accompanied by fue and shakuhachi (bamboo flutes), shamisen (a string instrument) and the beat of the taiko drum, Ensohza transports you to Japan's mountain and fishing villages with traditional folk songs and festival dance music. Ensohza also promotes opportunities for community building through grant-funded training in folk dance and the traditional festival arts of Japan.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.