The sound of meditation
The shakuhachi is a Japanese bamboo flute which originally comes from China. Adopted by Japanese monks, it became an instrument for meditation and breathing training. The traditional solo pieces are called honkyoku.
Besides the religious music, the sound can evocate nature and express deeper feelings.
The shakuhachi is also played in chamber music with koto and shamisen and in modern and contemporary music with Western instruments.
Hélène Seiyu 聖 優 Codjo started to learn the shakuhachi with Daniel Seisoku Lifermann in the French association "La Voie du Bambou".
Since 2006, she regularly follows the masterclasses given by Fukuda Teruhisa 福田 輝久, head of the school Hijiri-ryū (Sainte-école) and Hijiri-kaï 聖会 ensemble.
In January 2013, she got from Fukuda Teruhisa an assistant-master teaching and performing diploma (Jun Shihan) with the name Seiyu 聖 優 (holy kindness) and in November 2015, she was awarded the master (shihan) diploma.
Hélène lives in the Netherlands where she gives lessons and workshops in her home place Nijmegen, as well as Dojo’s in Rotterdam, Tilburg and Eindhoven, as well as concerts throughout the country. She has been performing solo or with Japanese and/or Western music instruments in various European countries. She was invited to perform and teach at the World Shakuhachi Festival in London (2018), the International Shakuhachi Festival in Prague 2019 (Czech Republic), the European Shakuhachi Summerschool in Veijle (Denmark 2017) and in Paris (France 2015).
In October 2017, Hélène created the Hijiri Shakuhachi Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of the shakuhachi. Through its dedication the foundation aims to increase the use of the shakuhachi in the performing arts, stimulate and increase the level of the practice of the shakuhachi in either traditional and modern music and help transmit its tradition by organising workshops, lessons and concerts, stimulating tape and video recordings, and more.
The spirituality of the shakuhachi is essential for her. She regularly plays in Zen centres and for people with dementia and other mental illnesses to relieve the stress in these patients. She likes to bring the shakuhachi music into other places besides concert halls.