ShamiCamp: Sapporo 2019 (A Look Back)


On May 11th/12th, Bachido hosted it’s 5th ShamiCamp (International Shamisen Workshop) in Sapporo, Japan.

Dedicated shamisen enthusiasts came from Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, USA, and Japan! Main teachers were Reigen Fujii, Kevin Kmetz, and myself (Kyle Abbott), with assistance from Masahiro Nitta.

The main theme of this camp was based on training fundamental techniques through learning ensemble compositions. (After all, even the most skilled players need to work on fundamental techniques!) Each short composition highlighted specific techniques so that players can repeatedly execute techniques while repeating the catchy melodies.

I composed all the songs specifically to make the most of the group environment. Not only did this mean creating Lead, Harmony, and Bass parts (for a full ensemble sound), but pieces incorporated syncopation which required players to be mindful of everyone’s rhythm in order for the parts to connect. It was the first time we incorporated syncopation in the curriculum, and honestly we were a bit nervous if it would be too challenging. However, we were very pleasantly surprised to find that nearly all of the attendees had acquired great skill from years of dedicated practice, and kept up very well!

As well as learning six ensemble pieces, all participants participated in composition training as well as fun shamisen partner games! Warm relationships were formed, delightful music was shared, and good times were had by all! (I think)

Wish you could’ve attended ShamiCamp? Fear not, soon you will be able to learn the same songs! By the end of 2019, I plan to release all of the written/audio materials of ShamiCamp: Sapporo to the Bachido Schoolhouse. Look forward for more!


I really wish I could have gone to ShamiCamp :slightly_frowning_face: It looked so fun.