Korokoro is a Japanese onomatopeia, but also the name of a traditional technique in shakuhachi playing.
While composing the piece, I researched all aspects of this instrument, from how to actually construct a shakuhachi from bamboo to the playing of the instrument, often working together with Dozan Fujiwara who commissioned this work.
When writing for a particular instrument, I always have to search for one sound which attracts me very strongly. In order to ‘meet’ the right sound I spend hours looking for it, sometimes with the musician. As soon as I discovered the sound of the korokoro playing technique, I knew this was the one. Also, Dozan told me that traditionally korokoro is only a decorative technique, and it would be quite unusual and even strange from a traditional point of view if I obsessively used it as the main sound of the piece. That’s when I knew what I had to do, which was to construct the whole piece based on korokoro, and even go as far as calling the piece Korokoro.
Dai Fujikura (Edited by Alison Phillips)