On their website (and here translated by Goggle), you can read all about their activities, and discover the instruments Suzuki makes and sells : percussions, Kalimbas, "shala-shalas" and... nose flutes.
The particularity of Kiyoshi's instruments is that they all use a funny, colored and recycled supplementary percussion system : flattened beer caps used as little cymbals! Even the On-lak nose flutes (おんらく) wear their little beer cap, coming from a Japanese, Indonesian, Hawaiian, Indonesian... beer bottle.
Mr. Kiyoshi very gently answered my questions :
- When did you begin to make nose flutes, and why ?
I began to make them about 5 years ago.
I think ... the nose flutes is "a barrier-free musical instrument". It is a communication tool, so funny and so amazing !
- How did you get the idea of adding beer caps, and why ?
The cause of that is the sound object "Okan Shala-shala." ”Okan Shala-shala” is a Kiyoshi's original item. The Japanese meaning of "Okan" is beer caps. It's a like a tambourine, and makes a sound of good noise.
- What is the meaning of the name "On-Lak" ?
We are a husband and wife unit. Kiyoshi is a musician (Percussion & Kalimba player). Tommy is a designer.
Our unit name is "On-Lak Ichiba".
The Japanese' meaning of "On-Lak" is "music".
"On" meaning is sound.
"Lak"means "enjoy, comfortable, etc."
The Japanese meaning of "Ichiba" is "market (PARCO)".
We enjoy music !!!
The On-lak nose flute
I tried to find to get one by the past, but did not succeed because the one I looked for was on Amazon.co.jp, and without a Japanese postal address, it is not possible to order from this seller. But recently, I had the luck to become friend with ShowNoseFlute, this young, fine and gentle hanabue player, and we decided to make a exchange of nose flute, since he was interested by some western ones.
So, thanks to Show, I received my first On-lak. And as a greedy collector, looking for info about it, I finally discovered the original On-lak website, and was able to... order more! (very easily, sending a english email with my colour choices at info[at]kiyoshism.com, and paying with Paypal).
The On-lak is a vietnamese type nose flute, as we know them, made in quite good grade rosewood (some show the very recognizable light-dark patterns), and, as we already know, are very playable with a nice sound (some difficulties, though, for noses with hard cartilage coming low under the base of the nose, because of the position of the air entrance on the flute).
« Sandwich the nose flute between thumb and middle finger, and put the index finger on the crown cymbals. Fit nose on dent of the top (see photo). »
So, the right use is to shake and tap cymbal, according to your skill and imagination, with the index, while you blow the flute. Or you can use it as a flute only, and then use it as a shaker. Let's say the percussive sound is not very loud, as you can expect from a single beer cap smashing a small piece of wood, but for a solitary playing or before a microphone, the okan will do the thing!
You can hear the okan effect in this recording by ShowNoseFlute, in which he uses different nose flutes : the percussion sounds come from his On-lak flute.
And I made a little stupid and quick video for you (and you already know that I'm not a good player...) :
So, if you look for a funny and original nose flute, just choose the colour you like for the cymbal and for the cord, and ask Mr. Kiyoshi!
The Kiyoshism website
The Kiyoshism website (translated by Google)
Orders at info[at]kiyoshism.com (replace [at] by @, for sure)
The On-lak Ichiba Youtube channel (many kalimba and performance videos)
Kiyoshi Suzuki Facebook page
Sachie Tomioka Facebook page
On-lak Ichiba on Twitter