Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert 

Tsunami Relief Benefit - Ron Korb
Fukushima tsunami benefit concert
Ron Korb performed at the Tsunami Relief benefit fundraiser called "Gambaro Japan". There was a wide array of talent raising money for the Japan relief effort including Cuban musicians, a Japanese shamisen player and some classical musicians. The devastation in Japan has been very deep and ground radiation levels are still high in Fukushima. My friends living in Tokyo all report that the mood is still rather sombre and now that all the bright neon lights have been turned off it doesn't look as lively either. After the accident the government announced it was decommisioning all nuclear facilties and now only two of the 50 commercial reactors in Japan are still operating. However, minister of economy now is saying they want to open it up for review. Protest continue every Friday night outside the official residence of the prime minister in an effort to put an end to nuclear power in Japan.
RK played some selections from his Japanese Mysteries CD and related some of his stories of travelling in Japan.. Photo by Sachi Kikuchi.

Guo Flutes 

guo flute office
David Guo, Pearly and Ron Korb in the Guo offices in Taichung.
In 2010, I visited Guo Flutes in Taichung, Taiwan. This innovative company was founded in 1988 by the two Guo brothers Geoffrey and David making conventional concert flutes. Now they focus primarily on instruments made from a composite material they developed called Grenaditte. The instruments with all their components, including the body, keys, and levers are all injection moulded. Even the pads are made of silicon. My father is a mould maker so I can appreciate the challenges they must have faced in designing and manufacturing these instruments. A remarkable thing about these instruments is their weight. They seem to weigh nothing. The original idea was to help a flutist friend of theirs that, due to an injury, found it difficult to play a flute of standard weight.

The Guo flutes are partly futuristic and partly inspired by the historic wooden flutes of Rudall and Carte. Like wooden flutes the keys contact the body of the flute directly without any raised tone holes. Because the flutes are injection moulded they can be cast in any color. White, orange, black, silver and their most popular color amongst teenage girls – PINK!!!

Their main business is making C open holed concert flutes but they also make G flutes as well as piccolos and a bass flute. They also make head joints that fit onto any Boehm system flute. The flutes come with these very light, durable aluminum cases that I think they should make into a side business. They are like a little road case for a flute.

guo concert flutes
 Guo concert flutes
They lent me their black Grenaditte model to try in concert. The sound doesn’t have any of the shrill quality of metal in the upper register but it doesn’t really sound like wood either. It is definitely unique. I would have liked the opportunity to record with them to hear the sound objectively. Guo flutes blow very easy and the silicon pads seem to respond lightning fast.

While I was practicing I had a little revelation. I noticed that the flute required practically no tension particularly in the fingers. It relaxed my hands and I found that when I switched back to my silver flute I played with less tension as well.

Unlike Elton John, I love Taiwan

Back in 2004 Elton called a group of Taiwanese reporters waiting at Taipei airport "Rude vile pigs,...Do you know what that means? Rude vile pigs. That's what all of you are." Unlike EJ, Taiwan is one of my favorite places to visit and play. This Island nation is just slightly bigger than Lake Ontario yet is one of the most important technology and manufactering hibs in the world. Warm friendly people are everywhere and there is evidence of the old country style Taiwanese and the urban modern Asia in every city and town. I have spent a couple weeks here and performed at 8 venues and appeared on radio.Here is a shot of our first show in Hsinchu. This concert was just flute and piano. Israeli pianist Oren Dashti was my accompanist. 
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