Hanz Araki
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Hanz Araki


Band Alternative Celtic


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Music bridges cultures, generations"

Reviewers have called his flute playing and singing "sweet and lush and full of feeling and nuance," and "wonderfully sunny sounding," but his favorite was when Sing Out! magazine called him "one of a generation of global beat players."
Hanz Araki, 37, plays a variety of Irish flutes and currently fronts his own band, playing traditional and new arrangements of Irish tunes, but he wants his music to transcend categorization.
"I want to make this music accessible to more people," he said.
With his youthful appearance and a name that seems to ricochet between German and Japanese heritage, not even coming close to Irish, Araki is used to having to explain how he came to play music more closely associated with older people named Sean or Patrick. Or try to explain.
"It's inexplicable, really," he said, before going on to say that he had always loved the sound of flute and banjo, and the fact that Irish musicians everywhere speak the same language. A "trad" (traditional) musician can walk into any pub in the world and join the session in progress.
Araki is also a sixth generation Japanese shakuhachi flute player, following in the footsteps of his father, Kodo Araki.
Araki's musical career started at 17, when he picked up his father's flute and found he had a natural talent for the instrument, which can take years to master.
"I suppose there's a genetic disposition to playing wind instruments in the Araki family," he says, "because after four months, in August of 1988, I debuted in Shimoneski, Japan."
After finishing high school Araki moved from Seattle to Tokyo, where he spent several years playing recitals and concerts, and teaching shakuhachi at Keio University.
Araki, whose full first name is the Japanese Hanzaburo, does have Irish heritage on his mother's side, which came out during breaks from shakuhachi practice. His mother's tapes of The Chieftains were an influence, as was the not-so-traditional Irish band, The Pogues.
Araki's virtuoso talent on the shakuhachi translated over to equal skill on the Irish wooden flute and tin whistle, which are his main instruments, along with a rich tenor voice, and he became a regular on the Irish pub scene upon his return to Seattle.
For several years Araki was a member of the high-energy Irish music band The Paperboys, out of Vancouver. The group toured internationally and won a Canadian Juno Award in 1997 for Best Folk Roots album.
He has also toured the United States and the United Kingdom with the Casey Neill Trio, and most recently has played and sang in the Pogues Tribute band, K.M.R.I.A. again with Neill as well as Jenny Conlee and Chris Funk of The Decemberists.
In 2005, Araki self-released his first album, "6 of one five of the other," a collection of six ballads and five sets of instrumental tunes, co-produced with two-time Grammy Award winner Garey Shelton. His new album (also co-produced by Shelton), “Little Fires” is another collection of traditional songs and instrumentals with two contemporary songs (“Two People Blue” by The Hated and “A Rainy Night in Soho” by The Pogues) done in a traditional idiom, adding a new dimension to his repertoire.
The makeup of The Hanz Araki Band currently consists of a core group with Araki on flutes and vocals, Cary Novotny on guitar, Eddie Parente on fiddle, with Joey Abarta on bodhran.
Most recently, Hanz was invited to play a 9/11 Memorial concert in Mexico City as part of the Interdependence Day Celebration, and took part in discussions with an international group of musicians in Rio de Janeiro organized by the Future of Music Coalition. - The Beat, (N. Kitsap, Bainbridge Isl., Bremerton)

"Hanz Araki"

Hanz Araki – He is from Seattle. We had never heard of him. Then, WHAM! His album, Six of One 5 of the Other hit our desk. Araki is a terrific flute player, and a truly terrific singer. It is very rare to find a talent this good on an instrument, who also sings this well. Lots of great musicians think they sing well, and are dreadful. Not Araki. We only talked to him once. We still don’t know a lot about him personally, but what we DO know is that he has offered this amazing first album. Wow! This is a big time talent---and as we said in the full review, never mind the name, this boy can play and sing!! We love this album. We love this talent. - Irish American News


Tom May: www.tommayfolk.com
- Blue Roads, Red Wine

Casey Neill: www.caseyneill.org
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Memory Against Forgetting
- Casey Neill

Casey Neill Trio:
- Portland West
- Skree

Paperboys: www.paperboys.com
- Molinos (Juno Award winner)
- Postcards
- Tenure

Shannon Saunders and the Splinters: www.thesplinters.com
- Yellow Book

Zak Borden: www.zakborden.com
- Whistles and Steam

Katya Chorover: www.katyachorover.com
- Off the Map

Timothy Hull: www.timothyhull.com
- Songs for Miriam and Other People

Misty River: www.mistyriverband.com
- Willow

- Early Rising
- Setanta

Hanz Araki / Finn Mac Ginty:
- Traditional Irish Music


KMTT 103.7FM "The Mountain" (with The Paperboys)
- On the Mountain 4

Wooden Flute Obsession (with various artists)
- Traditional & Modern Irish Flute Music

John Serrie / Gary Stroutsos:
- Hidden World

- Chihuly Over Venice
- Metal Gear Solid 3 (alternate ending)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Flute player/singer Hanz Araki is the quintessential world music musician,
performing a blend of traditional Scottish, Irish and English songs and
instrumentals with fierce musicianship and an original approach. Channeling
six generations of flautists, a cross-cultural tapestry is woven that begs
to be heard again and again.

Cary Novotny has asserted himself in the pantheon of Irish guitar players
with his seemingly unending energy. Varying from force-of-nature to delicate
finger-style in the blink of an eye, he makes up for an entire rhythm

Joey Abarta is one of the most gifted and versatile musicians
performing traditional Irish music and teaching on the West Coast
today. Joey's bodhrán playing is highly sought after for his precise
rythmic drive, unique style and sensitivity.

Hanz Araki
The next generation of Trad music --- "New. Fresh. Brill."

Irish flute player Hanz Araki is the quintessential world music musician. He has performed around the world with the Juno Award-winning Paperboys, The Bridies, Casey Neill and an all-star tribute to The Pogues called "K.M.R.I.A." He has played with the Seattle Symphony, the University of Washington Wind Ensemble and is featured on more than a dozen recordings and soundtracks, from feature films and documentaries to popular video games.

While his love is Irish music, his deep roots are in the shakuhachi, the traditional bamboo "Zen flute" of Japan. Hanz (short for Hanzaburo) is the world’s only sixth generation shakuhachi player, following in the footsteps of his father, Kinko Ryu Grand Master Kodo Araki V. With no prior musical training, Hanz took up the shakuhachi at age 17. Under his father’s tutelage, four months later he made his concert debut in Shimoneski, Japan. He went on to teach shakuhachi at Keio University for two years before moving back to his hometown of Seattle in 1991.

There, his American mother’s Gaelic roots came into play, and he began teaching himself Irish and Scottish tunes on the flute and whistle, inspired by the many excellent pipers and fiddlers in Seattle. His ability on the flute and his uncanny command of traditional songs with his voice quickly made him a fixture of the Irish music scene in America.

In 2004, Hanz released a solo album of traditional Scottish and Irish music with a fresh new slant, "Six of One, Five of the Other." It has been favorably received by fans and Irish music aficionados and earned him liveireland.com's Best Newcomer of the Year and KLCC's "Best Music of 2004" list. His newest release, "Little Fires" is a bold mix of traditional Celtic and modern music.

"Araki has a perfect voice for the songs, and is a wonderful, wonderful flute player. New. Fresh. Brill."
--Bill Margeson, www.liveireland.com

"He is a captivating presence both as a musician and as a singer, a prince amongst performers in traditional music"
--Sami Melilo, promoter

"The highlight this year was catching Hanz Araki. I’ve known Hanz for over
10 years. He was the only musician I’ve ever interviewed over a beer. I’ve
heard Hanz go from playing Irish flute, whistle and shakuhachi to back-up
singing and leading his own group.

He’s been great in all the groups he’s been a part of, but I’ve always known
that he was a super star.

Hearing him on that stage in the twilight was magical. Hanz sang a slow song
with his comforting, storytelling voice simply accompanied by guitar,
bodhran, fiddle, and keyboards. He also played various flutes. The outdoor
standing room audience was mesmerized."
--Byron Au Yong, composer

"His music transports me to some distant place and holds me there for an
entire performance. Hanz Araki is a modern-day master of the Irish flute and
he incorporates subtle elements into his playing style so that it never
grows stale, no matter how many times I hear it."
--Norm Johnson, Seattle-area concert promoter