In 2003, I made my frist flutes !

A retrospective of 20 years walking on
my ‘bamboo way’

In spring 2003, back from my first big trip in India where I felt in love with the Bansuri, I harvest some bamboos in France and awkwardly try to build my first side-blown bamboo flutes.

During the next 4 years, bamboo flute making is always nearby during my journeys with tools in my backpack first and bicycle bags later supplementing the small incomes from street music playing in search of a simple self-sufficient nomadic lifestyle.

May 2003 in Varanasi India
21 years old, dreadlocks and colourful clothes !
The cabin in the woods
where I lived and made my flutes
inspired by the sound of the stream and birdsong.
Photo Alexa Brunet – Habitants Atypiques

In 2006, willing to improve my skills, I settle down by the Loire valley on a family wasteland where I decide to dedicate myself to the study and experiment of flute making.
What was then just a hobby becomes a path.

Atelier Chikudo, my ‘bamboo way’, was born at this time and became official when I set up my own business in 2009.
At the time, I was exhibiting my instruments at world music festivals and other instrument-making fairs, and diversifying my production into around fifteen models; often traditional bamboo flutes and sometimes bamboo versions of instruments usually made from other materials.
During these years of experimentation and study, the flutes and their music have allowed me to nourish my taste for travel in a different way.

Around 2009, I came across the Shakuhachi in the course of my research and was immediately attracted by its very Japanese combination of rustic simplicity and technical refinement.
Despite my experience, the early days were tedious, with no one to show me neither how to play nor to make it…
Gradually, I got into the strange music of this instrument and discovered a growing interest in Japanese culture in general.
So in 2010 I set off on a 3-month cycling trip, covering more than 3,000km of Japan from north to south.

cycling on the lush
island of Yakushima
Japan 2010

I soon came up against the limits of studying the playing and making of shakuhachi on my own. After another 6-month (honeymoon?) cycling trip (2012) and the arrival of my first kid (2013), I decided to join a newly-formed shakuhachi group with the master Gunnar Jinmei Linder, whose reference book on Honkyoku I had been studying on my own.

In 2014, I moved with my family to Figeac, took part in my first European shakuhachi gathering in Prague and decided to devote myself exclusively to making and studying shakuhachi.
A large number of projects and the arrival of a second child (2015) meant that I had to work at a fairly slow pace, but being slow by nature, that’s fine by me!

I had to wait almost 10 years before finally returning to Japan (during winter  2019), this time for a trip focused on shakuhachi studies and harvesting Madake bamboo for my creations.

I’m now continuing to deepen my connection to Japanese culture through my travels, my study of shakuhachi and the language, and in a certain quest for aesthetics in my everyday life.

It’s a beautiful path that my ‘bamboo way’ has taken; it nurtures things that are quite profound and allows me to feel that I belong in this modern world in which I see so little of myself…

And I couldn’t have achieved this without the support of all those who have accompanied me and all those who have put their breath into my instruments.

Thank you all.

Madake harvests
Kyūshū – December 2019

What better way to celebrate these 20 years of love for what has become much more than just a job, my Ikigai, than to set off once again on a great cycling trip with our two children and, as always, with music as the means of sharing and meeting new cultures!