Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Maybe an audio clip of Swanee River WON'T help you sell a shakuhachi
This Ryozan 1.8 flute, which sounds quite capable with "so-so" looks has been on Mejiro's used website for a year or more; price reduced from about 130,000-Yen to below 90,000-Yen, etc. etc. They just can't seem to move it.
The sound clip is Stephen Foster's black-face minstrel song Old Folks at Home (better known as 'Swanee River').
Maybe this song, advertised as an "Ethiopian Melody" when it was published in 1851, is just not the image best associated with a mystical zen Kinko shakuhachi?
Way down upon de Swanee ribber (river)
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation
And for de old folks at home.
All de world am sad and dreary,
Ebry where I roam,
Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home.
(Although this song may sometimes be performed with "modern" lyrics that some claim to be more sensitive racially, the song's original lyrics, included here, had been adopted officially as the lyrics of Florida's state song. — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Folks_at_Home)