Sakugawa Chogi-San from Kombu was my utasanshin
teacher during my 2 weeks stay in Okinawa this january. He taught me the importance of knowing the true meanings of the songs and embodying the emotions which are contained in the poetry. Thus I learned about a man who had to sleep on the beach because his house was destroyed by the war. Or another one who could not see his beloved one because her parents didn't want him to meet her. Or about the female poet Unna Nabii who has a peasant background. Or about smoke fires which serve as signs for the beloved ones on the ships to navigate and find the way home safely.
Chogi-San himself learned utasanshin from his teacher Keiyu-San who is 94 years now. We went together to see him and learn from him. Keiyu-San still sung and played the songs by heart, with precision and skilled fingers. I was so honoured to learn from him. His singing and playing has such quality.
The playing of the sanshin serves as a tender, gentle accompaniment for the singing. So you can hear some soft ornaments played only with the fingers on the neck in the empty space between the singing parts. They are not playing a main role. Instead, they are kept "small", as to show humbleness towards the poetry.
Chogi-San enjoys goat husbandry. He visits his two goats before leaving the house and talks with them. On the picture with the goats you see him holding two sanshin necks.
Make sure you connect with @utasanshin 唄三線
on the fediverse or subscribe to the feed
if you want to hear more about utasanshin. Infos about the online class will follow soon.