Friedrich Lips

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 Saturday, August 18, 2018 09:10 
Song for

Song for “Water-buffalo” — the original poem and song

01 Poem read by Wendy Poussard

02 Song played by Suigyu (Water Buffalo) Band


Like a Water Buffalo — for accordion solo

Friedrich Lips

03 Poem in Russian

04 Bayan solo

Instrument: Pigini-Mvthos

Recorded :1996 at the Concert Hall of the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music in Moscow. Russia Sound engineer: Pjotr Kondraschin at the KonClaRec studio

Recording: Valerij Lebedew

Editing: Natalija Meyerzon, Ruslana Orechnikova


Mie Miki

05 Poem in Japanese

06 Accordion solo

Instrument Giovanni Gola (Hohner)

Recorded: May 2000 at Länna Church, Sweden Balance engineer/Tonmeister: Dirk Lüdemann

Producer: Dirk Lüdemann


Elsbeth Moser

07 Poem in German

08 Bayan solo

Instrument: Jupiter 1954 Moskau

Recorded: December 10th, 2004 at Tonstudio, Musikhochschule Hannover, Germany Tonmeister/Balance-engineer: Ulrich Katzenbergcr

Recording director: Ulrich Katzenberger


Matti Rantanen

09 Poem in Finnish

10 Accordion solo

Instrument: Pigini-Sirius 1998

Recorded : August 27th, 2004 at Church of Nummi. Finland

Sound and editing engineer: Pekka Vesanen

Twenty years have passed since Yuji Takahashi's "Like a Water Buffalo" for accordion solo was composed. At the composer's special request the piece was not published. Copies of the manuscript traveled "from hand to hand" everywhere, and the work became deeply loved and played by many accordionists all over the world. We can say, the seeds of this music "Like a Water Buffalo" were sowed, they made a remarkable growth throughout the world.

Who were the first to sow these seeds? Especially four accordeonists came to mind: Friedrich Lips (Russia), Elsbeth Moser (Switzerland), Matti Rantanen (Finland) and Mie Miki (Japan). These four had grown up in completely different environments, in different cultures and climates, they mastered instruments of different systems with their own particular repertoire and style of interpretation, teaching at music academies in Moscow, Hanover, Helsinki and Essen.They had grown up with different mother tongues and under different star constellations (Scorpio, Aries, Aquarius, Virgo) in the four different elements (water, fire, air and earth). They are the four who enjoyed the work of planting, watering, giving sunshine and cherishing these special seeds.

One spring day in 2003 I had a dream: these four accordionists on one CD, playing "Like a Water Buffalo" by Yuji Takahashi and reciting the poem "Song for 'Water-buffalo' " by Wendy Poussard in their own mother tongues. Could this dream come true? The responses of Friedrich Lips, Elsbeth Moser and Matti Rantanen came immediately, they all agreed with great enthusiasm.Of course I was very interested in the origin of these seeds, the poem "Song Mr 'Water-buffalo' " by Wendy Poussard. Mr.Yuji Takahashi and Mrs.Mie Yamaki searched for the poet and kindly asked Mrs. Wendy Poussard to recite the original poem herself.

Eighteen months passed after the original proposition was made. The unique CD was performed with Wendy Poussard reciting her poem "Song Mr 'Water-buffalo' ", with the Suigyu (Water Buffalo) Band. performing Yuji Takahashi's original song, and with four soloists, playing the same wonderful music in their own distinct styles,making this CD epoc-making in the history of the accordion.

Once it was a dream. Now it is a reality.

Special thanks to Yuji Takahashi, Wendy Poussard, Mie Yamaki, Friedrich Lips, Elsbeth Moser, Matti Rantanen, Takashi Sakurai, Gen-ichiro Yagyu, Mirei Takahashi and Akiko Miki.

Mie Miki

Landgraaf, December 26th 2004

(translated by Akiko Miki)



Song for “Water-buffalo”

Words are born

of the people's fears.

Music grows

from the people's tears.

The sound of freedom

can's be defined,

but when I hear it

I know it's mine.



Singing a song together

walking down the road

we don't have long.

We're hot and cold,


stop and go.

but the song ploughs on

like a water-buffalo.


Our brothers' freedom

is torn away.

Our sisters' sorrow

is every day.

Our hands reach out to them.

Though love is strong

we cannot touch them

so we sing their song.


A song's a question

                                                                     and a memory.

                                                                      There is not limit

what a song can be.

The memory's meaning

depends on you.

The question's answer

is what you do


Wendy Poussard


Like a Water Buffalo (1985)

Water buffalo is a friend of peasants in Southeast Asia for centuries, although in these days they are being replaced by the tractors "the iron water buffalo".

We took the name for our band we formed to introduce Thai protest songs in 1970s against military dictatorship. Australian poet and activist Wendy Poussard visited our home one day and wrote the poem for the band to which I composed a melody.

This melody and the accompaniment inspired by the sound of wooden cowbells water buffalos hang from their neck are turned into a piece for accordion solo when Mie Miki asked me to write music of heart for her instrument. It was in 1985. And I asked her to give the music to anyone who wanted to see the score. As a song reachs the ears behind the prison walls, handed down from musicians to musicians, may this music transmit the sound of freedom.

[The music of "Like a Water Buffalo" is found on It is free to download, copy and give to friends.]

Yuji Takahashi



  Last update of page shown: April 30, 2009, 22:08 

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