Regular Events

Masaaki Aoyama

Shakuhachi & Overtone Singing Workshop in Harajuku    → Japanese

We Welcome People From All Countries!!

Learn a natural relaxing way of breathing by using the bamboo.

The traditional Japanese Shakuhachi has deep connections with Zen Buddhism. It is also an instrument with a lot of natural harmonic overtones.
Breathing into a natural bamboo will make your breathing softer and slower. The feedback of your breath from the bamboo will relax you. Open a dialogue with the bamboo by concentrating on your breath.

You can sing two Voices at once!

The method of overtone singing that we teach are based on the traditional method of Tuvan throat singing (Khoomei) practiced in Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Tuva, and Siberia.
Khoomei emphasizes the harmonic overtones in your vocal chords. You can sing like a whistle over your normal voice, and at the same time. By gently moving your tongue and your mouth cavity, you can sing beautiful overtones.

What is "Hocchiku Shakuhachi"?

The Hocchiku Shakuhachi that we use are a large bass Jinashi Shakuhachi, which are all natural bamboo on the inside of the bore, unlike the bore of a modern Jiari Shakuhachi which are completely shaped with layers of plaster to produce a more even modern sound, the Hocchiku Shakuhachi produces a more deep sound emphasizing the natural material of the bamboo.
Its sound is filled with natural overtones, and will relax your body and soul as in meditation.

What are harmonic overtones?

Overtones are the elements which determine the timbre of the tone. Sounds which are rich in overtones can move your body and soul. You will learn various ways to use your throat by studying the throat singing method as taught in Tuva.

  • Every 4th Wednesday, every month from 19:30-21:00
    Please check the homepage for any changes in schedule.
  • Charge: 3000 Yen
  • We will prepare shakuhachis for those without an instrument. The shakuhachi will be rented to you for free. We welcome complete beginners!
  • It is also possible to buy a handmade shakuhachi from Masaaki Aoyama.
  • → Reservations & Information
    Email is preferred because on busy performance days, the staff may not have the time to pick up the phone.
  • → What are harmonic overtones? (YouTube)
Masaaki Aoyama
Khoomei singer, performer of overtone music, Komuso (Hocchiku) Shakuhachi player.
Began studying the guitar, when he was 12.
Became a member of the group, Baions. Baions means overtones in Japanese, and this group emphasized the use of overtones in their music.
Baions won Second Prize at Khoomei Contest in Tuva.
Started studying Hotake Shakuhachi with Akira Okuda.
Left Baions in 2004. Formed Kamihibi King (a duo group making music with emphasis in overtones) with Kotaro Azumaya. Also performs as a singer-songwriter, singing Khoomei songs in Japanese and performing the Jinashi shakuhachi. He also handcrafts his own shakuhachi instruments.
→ aoyama masaaki diary (Japanese)

Photo:Masaaki Aoyama


Ayuo Workshop & Live Solo Performances of Open Tuning and Alternate Tuning Guitar    → Japanese

Tuning a guitar to a chord is called Open Tuning Guitar. It virtually turns the guitar into a new instrument, letting you play exciting sounds which are impossible in a standard tuning (EADGBE). There are also many alternate ways to tune the guitar to create complex sounds without straining your fingers.

Blues guitarists, Hawaiian slack key guitarists and many guitarists of traditional European and Latin American guitar music have used open tunings and other forms of alternate tunings to create their own unique sounds. Joni Mitchell, Nick Drake, Richard Thompson, Keith Richard, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine are among the well known players, who have created great music with open tunings.

And yet it is not at all difficult to play.

Joni Mitchell, who had weakened left hand due to polio that she had in her childhood, became one of the greatest to develop open tunings for the guitar. Open tuning allowed her to form the chord shapes she couldn't have played otherwise. Complex Jazz chords feature prominently in her open tuning guitar, and she went on to play with many legendary Jazz performers such as Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheney, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius and many others with her ubique method of tuning and playing the guitar.

Many guitarists can create a more larger, deeper and vibrant sound by tuning down their guitars. Joni Mitchell, who is said to have used no fewer than 57 tunings often compared it to a full orchestra.

There are still only a few players of open tuning and alternate tuning guitar in Japan, and Ayuo is one of its unique performers. Ayuo has performed open tuning guitar on many major albums since the 1970s.

Ayuo's Workshop & Live Solo will start with a 30-minutes solo performance after which he will teach a a one new song in a group lesson.

On June 12, 20017, Ayuo will teach Syd Barrett's song "Late Night" in Ayuo's own arrangement. The guitar is tuned CGDFGC. This tuning is used both in Celtic and Hawaiian guitar nusic.

On July 4, 2017, Ayuo will teach Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. This song was also made popular by Janet Jasckson., This is in Open D tuning (DADF#AD) with a Capo to turn it into an open E.

Ayuo will be inroducing many different types of alternate tunings in future workshops.

Beginners are welcome!
None of the songs chosen are difficult to play.
Those who just wish to come and listen are also welcome

Ayuo was raised in New York City, and speaks perfect English.

Please bring an acoustic guitar or nylon string classical guitar. There are no amps for electric guitars. Even very cheap guitars can sound good in open tuning.

Ayuo is a professional musician, composer, lyricist, vocalist and guitarist. Ayuo has over 18 solo albums released in Japan and the US, mostly on major labels such as Epic-Sony, JVC Victor, and others. Ayuo was educated in New York City, and during his childhood, met and talked with many artists, writers and musicians, such as Yoko Ono, Toru Takemitsu, Yukio Mishima, Shuji Terayama, Tadanori Yokoo, Seiji Ozawa, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Donald Richie, and was influenced to start writing poems and stories, and later to set them to music.
Solo albums by Ayuo were released from 1984 onwards on Epic-Sony, JVC VIctor, MIDI Records, Tzadik, Zipangu, Seoul Records, Belle Antique, FOA Records, PSF Records. Ayuo has worked with the producer David Lord (producer for Peter Gabriel, XTC and others), the guitarist-composer Carlos Alomar (band leader of David Bowie's band from the late 1970s to the late 1980s and composer of the hit song "Fame"), and the producer musicians John Zorn and Bill Laswell and many studio musicians who regularly perform with Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Elton John and others.
Most of these CDs can be seen and bought on Amazon by searching the name Ayuo. Reviews of Ayuo's CDs in English can be seen in the following link:
A detailed profile and discography can be found in English on the following wikipedia page:
A detailed profile and discography can be found in English on the following wikipedia page:
Ayuo's interviews of well known musicians such as Bill Brudford (King Crimson, Yes) and John Cale (Velvet Underground, composer of Andy Warhol's films) in English can be seen here:
Ayuo composed music for many NHK TV documentary programs and TV commercials "Border Line", directed by the award winning Korean-Japanese film director, Lee Sang-il in 2002, features music performed alone by Ayuo. In the 2013-2014 season, the English contemporary dance company toured England with a 20-minutes dance composition with music composed by Ayuo, performing in halls such as Sadler's Wells Theatre.


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