The Shamisen Experience

On Saturday, August 22, Hanayagi Dancing Academy – Hawaii Foundation was honored to present ‘The Shamisen Experience,’ featuring Grand Master Kineya Sakichi VII along with top artists from the Kineya School of Nagauta and Shamisen Japan and HDAHF students. Most pieces were classical but there was also a special Hawaiian-Japanese fusion piece in honor of “our host culture.”

The shamisen is a traditional Japanese three-string instrument with a slender, un-fretted neck and a rounded rectangular body covered with skin to amplify the sound of the strings. Its three strings though traditionally made of silk are most often now made of nylon. The lowest string passes over a small hump at the ‘nut’ end creating a characteristic buzz known as sawari, much like the jawari sound of a sitar. One coaxes music from the shamisen with a large weighted plectrum called a bachi. More photos here.