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Riley Lee. Shakuhachi player since 1971. Grand Master since 1980.
Music by Riley Lee
Riley Lee is one of the most prolific and probably one of the best Western shakuhachi players, having recorded more than 30 CDs. Several in one series dedicated to traditional Zen music for solo shakuhachi.
“As peaceful and enchanting as a sunset’s afterglow on a cloudless summer evening, the gentle music of Riley Lee stirs a warm, caressing breeze that calms the spirit and stills the mind.”
Most of Riley’s music is on Spotify.
Listen to some popular tracks
Members have access to over 50 recordings of Chikuho honkyoku as taught to me by the second head of the Chikuho lineage, Sakai Chikuho II, min’yô (folksongs) and a number of other pieces.
Acess to fingering charts and Notations for all beginner exercises
Learn to play the Shakuhachi
In order to play shakuhachi honkyoku (Zen Buddhist pieces), one must make them ‘one’s own’. In order to do this, one must, paradoxically give them away.
I teach whenever and wherever possible. I am based in Sydney Australia, however I am on tour several times a year
Check my schedule. If I am in a location near you and you don’t mind coming to me, it’s likely that I can fit in a lesson with you.
About Riley Lee
Riley Lee first went to Japan in 1970 to work at the World Expo in Osaka. He began playing the shakuhachi in 1971.
He is the recipient of two of the oldest and most venerated lineages of traditional shakuhachi, which can be traced back to the Zen Buddhist komusô, or “priests of nothingness” of the Edo period in Japan.
In 1980, he became the first non-Japanese to attain the rank of dai shihan or Grand Master.
Riley’s music is meditation. He frequently gives benefit concerts for Zen Buddhist groups worldwide. His music has been used worldwide in yoga and tai chi classes, and by massage, acupuncture, and other bodywork therapists. Many of his albums are particularly valued by mothers and mothers-to-be and by their midwives and others working in pre- and post-natal care.
What others say
Lee’s sound is so astonishingly pure: it aches with the sadness of loss and the sadness of wisdom, pulses with the joy of being alive and whispers of an elegance almost too exotic to be true.
Affecting, moving, admirable, the performing techniques involved, especially the breath control, defy belief
…atmospheric, even spell-binding music, Echoes of eternal time…haunting
He is, by any standards, a remarkable musician with an amazing command of fractional inflections of tones, achieved with a wide range of finger and breath attacks on every note. …. Beautifully evocative sounds
Lee could serve as any performer’s model in his ability to capture the attention of his audience immediately and straightforwardly
..a superb musician and an innovative and prolific composer. The shakuhachi is a transcendentally beautiful instrument and Lee’s playing has an emotional and meditative power which overwhelms his obvious technical expertise
Riley Lee’s tonal control is inescapably uncanny. Most assuredly a master-player of the shakuhachi
Outstanding eloquence on the shakuhachi
Lee’s shakuhachi music has an unusually soft, lyrical sound, which offers a feeling of meditative beauty
Strangely haunting… seductive
His natural musical sensitivity combined with a carefully nurtured technique make him an exciting and delightful performer
Riley Lee played…with unutterably subtle sensibility