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Shibaten Spirits: Music For The Soul
All images used with permission from Shibaten Spirits

What do you get when you cross a didgeridoo, a djembe drum, foot bells, gongs, cymbals, and chimes?  The music of Shibaten Spirits, of course!  This untidy-sounding mélange of multicultural instruments is brought together in captivating harmony by one man who lives to share his music with others.  Meet Shibaten, originally from Osaka, Japan, but frequently traveling to play in front of audiences around the world.  While his style is difficult to describe and best experienced directly, it could be called spiritual world fusion music.  There is a strong tribal dance component to many songs which appeals to something primitive in all of us, judging by the spontaneous jigs that often break out amongst the audience at Shibaten’s performances.  Children especially, lacking the social inhibition that hinders many adults, seem to respond with joyful gyrations that fairly personify the sound of the didgeridoo.  Perhaps this is one reason Shibaten is so passionate about playing on the street – a profession called “busking”, and the most direct way for musicians to reach their listeners.

Shibaten started busking around 2005, after the period of travel and speculation about one’s life purpose that many people go through in young adulthood.  Having played bass as a teenager, he had a good feel for music and rhythm but stopped playing for awhile to explore the countryside of Japan.  Later his adventures would take him to Australia, America, and countries all around Asia, while he worked odd jobs to support these journeys.  Eventually, he began to consider doing work he really enjoyed and went back to making music, this time using instruments he had heard in other cultures and taking his one-man show on the road to more than 30 countries so far.  Thus he has combined his two loves, music and travel, into one perfect career.  Besides busking on the streets, Shibaten also plays at music festivals, spiritual gatherings, ceremonial rituals, health retreats, and even conducts musical workshops.

Although he incorporates many instruments, the star of a Shibaten Spirits show is the didgeridoo, a wind instrument developed by the aboriginal peoples of Australia.  Didgeridoos are traditionally made out of termite-hollowed wood branches, and depending on length and playing technique, can produce a wide variety of sounds including droning reverberations, humming sonorous tones, and even imitations of Australian bush animals via the player’s vocalizations of clucks, whirrs, and calls funneled through the tube.  The didgeridoo is a natural medium for focusing the mind to reach different orders of consciousness through sustained vibratory sounds, similar to what is done with Tibetan singing bowls or the famous “Om” chant.  By varying the speed and tempo of his music, along with which percussion instruments and vocalizations he chooses to include, Shibaten can create compositions that range from meditative introspections to foot-stomping jams that make it hard for listeners to sit still. 

Shibaten uses a technique called “circular breathing” to sustain notes indefinitely on his didgeridoo.  It requires the player to breathe in through the nose while simultaneously breathing out through the mouth.  This makes his live shows captivating to watch, along with the amazing coordination he displays playing several instruments at once, often with all four limbs moving independently to produce different components of the rhythm.  Although Shibaten often plays with eyes closed in a focused, apparently semi-meditative state, a key component of his philosophy is outreach to others.  This may take the form of talking to live audiences between songs while they sign his guestbook, leading workshops for children, posting copious photos of his travels and concerts on his MySpace page, sharing the stage with taiko drummers or other musicians, or instructing students in musical healing and meditation.

As enjoyable as his mainstay of live performance is, it’s worth listening to the Shibaten Sprits albums as well, available on CD through CD Baby (cdbaby.com).  The recorded medium allows for additions to his standard didgeridoo and percussion formula, for example overtone/throat singing, nature sounds, and tribal chanting.  The albums also feature occasional tracks with Shibaten singing and playing acoustic guitar, in relaxing soulful melodies that bring to mind a hint of Hawaiian style folk songs.  And being that Shibaten never stays in one place for very long, the CDs provide a lasting taste of his work to sustain listeners until he returns again for the next live show.

Shibaten Spirits music is enticing on many levels, whether you enjoy its powerful dance and cultural fusion aspects, its spiritual qualities that complement meditation and yoga, its electrifying live street music energy, or just want to listen to something different.  There’s nothing mainstream about Shibaten Spirits, and this is what’s so inspiring -- not only regarding his music, but his way of life.  Though some would scorn those who play music on the streets for money, Shibaten courageously follows his muse to do what he loves, without compromising his art to conform to cultural or societal expectations.  Yet he avoids the lower part of this road that could lead to misanthropy or isolation, instead transcending language and cultural barriers by teaching, sharing, and bringing joy to others wherever he goes.  With gentle independence, humble appreciation, and the energy of love imbuing his performances, Shibaten appears to thoroughly embody the great Ghandi quote, “My life is my message.”  Or perhaps Shibaten says it best himself:  “No heart, no music.”



Live at Free Times, 2007

This Earth, 2008

Sound of Journey, 2011

Wedding Bells!

Our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to our friend Shibaten Spirits in meeting and declaring the love of his life, Aimi!

Wedding date and time:

11-11-11, at 11:11 am (Australian Time)

His official Announcement/Invitation:

Dear Friends,

After spending 13 years of my life travelling , finally I am fortunate enough to meet the love of my life Aimi. Aimi has a beautiful and very pure spirit.

I will like to announce that on Nov 11th 2011 at 11:11 am { Austalian time } Aimi and I will be married .Our wedding is very intimate and simple for only the two of us and will take place at the Coogee bay in NSW Australia.

I would like to invite you all to join us with your spirit for this very special day!!

So, here is a very simple plan☆

Date: 2011.11.11

Time: 11:11AM

Where: Wherever you are!

How long: 1 minute

What's needs: One Love

Please join us by lighting a candle and observing 1 minute of silence and by sending us your love vibration.

If you can't light a candle because of your situation, it's okay! Please send us your love vibration in your thought:)

I have met thousands and thousands of people in my travels and each of you are absolutely my treasures.

Without your love support, I could not be here to play music today. I sincerely appreciate all your support and the love you have shared with me ♥

Infinity love to all ♥


These are time for you my friends around the world!

Sydney 11:11AM / 2011.11.11
Perth 8:11AM / 2011.11.11
Darwin 9:41AM / 2011.11.11
Tokyo 9:11AM / 2011.11.11
Osaka 9:11AM / 2011.11.11
Toronto 7:11PM / 2011.11.10
Vancouver 4:11PM / 2011.11.10
Chicago 6:11PM / 2011.11.10
New York 7:11PM / 2011.11.10
Los Angeles 4:11PM / 2011.11.10
Miami 7:11PM / 2011.11.10
Honolulu 2:11PM / 2011.11.10
Mexico City 6:11PM / 2011.11.10
Buenos Aires 9:11PM / 2011.11.10
Santiago 9:11PM / 2011.11.10
Auckland 1:11PM / 2011.11.11
Singapore 8:11AM / 2011.11.11
Bangkok 7:11AM / 2011.11.11
Chiang Mai 7:11AM / 2011.11.11
London 12:11AM / 2011.11.11
Paris 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Dublin 12:11AM / 2011.11.11
Copenhagen 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Madrid 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Barcelona 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Lisbon 12:11AM / 2011.11.11
Milan 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Rome 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Berlin 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Warsaw 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Budapest 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Istanbul 2:11AM / 2011.11.11
Athens 2:11AM / 2011.11.11
Amsterdam 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Brussels 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Oslo 1:11AM / 2011.11.11
Helsinki 2:11AM / 2011.11.11
Cairo 2:11AM / 2011.11.11
Cape Town 2:11AM / 2011.11.11
New Delhi 5:41AM / 2011.11.11
Kathmandu 5:56AM / 2011.11.11
Hong Kong 8:11AM / 2011.11.11
Taipei 8:11AM / 2011.11.11
Seoul 9:11AM / 2011.11.11
Kuala Lumpur 8:11AM / 2011.11.11
Jakarta 7:11AM / 2011.11.11
Manila 8:11AM / 2011.11.11







日時:2011年11月11日 午前11時11分(日本時間、午前9時11分)







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