Earth Celebration 2014 EC Theatre
Rehearsals are moving along for EC Theatre “Kodo Dai Ginjo: Seasoned Quintet.” They really work carefully to create both the programme and their sound for it.
EC Theatre | Kodo Dai Ginjo “Seasoned Quintet” http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/en/eventinfo/ectheatre/
Aug. 24 (Sun) Start: 14:30 Venue: Ayusu Kaikan, Ogi, Sado Island, Niigata
Join us for this EC Theatre concert performed by 5 veteran Kodo players, well trained and matured musicians who relentlessly seek new musical horizons. This matinee performance takes place in small venue where the audience can be close to the performers and can experience the passion of the music and the musicians.
Upon returning from our summer vacation, we had rehearsals for “Daichi / Earth,” the Shiroyama Concert that will take place on the second day of Earth Celebration 2014.
The booming sound of the taiko echoes to your core. It really is a festival of the earth, just like the title suggests.
It’s only 2 weeks until EC begins and everyday we are working on contents to get it ready for the stage.
On July 26, “Earth Celebration” was introduced as a “Must-see event” on the BBC World News program, “The Travel Show.”
Aug. 7, 2014
On August 1, we had rehearsals for the Aug. 24 Shiroyama Concert finale “Shukusai / Celebration.” The artistic director for this performance is Yosuke Oda and his ideas are taking shape.
The “Shukusai” performance will feature both guest artists BLUE TOKYO and DAZZLE. It is going to be a power-packed concert with all of the performers and instruments sharing the same stage!
The finale for Earth Celebration will be a colorful extravaganza! We hope you’re looking forward to it!
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
In July, the weather was mostly sunny despite it being the rainy season here. However, there were also heavy rain and flood warnings and landslides ocurred in some areas. Thank you to everyone who expressed their concern for our safety.
As for our tours, the “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” Japan tour members returned to Sado after two and half months on the road and the Kodo “DADAN” Europe tour members left at the beginning of July, gave performances in Spain and France, and have now safely returned to Sado.
Now, it is August.
August means it is time for our annual festival “Earth Celebration” (EC).
This year Earth Celebration will be held for the 27th time. The first evening’s Shiroyama Concert “UMI / OCEAN” will feature the entire Kodo group, from its youngest performers to its veterans. For the second night’s concert “DAICHI / EARTH,” Kodo has invited “BLUE TOKYO.” For the third night’s concert “SHUKUSAI / CELEBRATION,” Kodo has invited two groups: BLUE TOKYO and “DAZZLE,” as well as drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara as a special guest. We will hold concerts for three-days.
The Shiroyama Concerts, EC’s main concert events, take place up on the hill in Shiroyama Park’s lush green surroundings. A star-filled sky and the chirp of cicadas complete this natural outdoor arena. This is one of the only chances you get each year to lie back on the grass and watch Kodo perform outside.
Concerts are not the only focus of Earth Celebration. You can watch the pre-event Noh performance and take workshops to learn taiko, Sado traditional performing arts and dance. You can experience the history, nature and culture of Sado through “Exploring the Charm of Sado Island” activities, watch free Fringe Event performances, and enjoy the international food and goods at Harbour Market. These are just some of the many things that will be on offer at the festival!
This year, EC Theatre is back on the lineup. I will be taking part in this small ensemble performance, called “Kodo Dai Ginjo “Seasoned Quintet.” We have been rehearsing and rehearsing and it will be a special performance, a programme only possible by a small group of us in an intimate venue! We hope you can come along!
So, I hope you will join us for all of EC, not only the main concerts. Please come along for the full three days to thoroughly enjoy all that the festival has to offer.
During the festival, people from all over Japan and all around the world gather in the south-west corner of Sado Island, the Ogi Peninsula where Kodo is based. During the three days of festivities, I hope both repeaters and first-timers alike will enjoy their summer stay on Sado in their own way, at their own pace. We want to have a good time with all of you!
Please come to Sado Island this summer and experience our outdoor concerts for yourself. We are looking forward to seeing you here.
Earth Celebration Shiroyama Concerts 2014
CBS News “Taiko Drummers of Japan”
On Aug. 3, Kodo & Earth Celebration were featured on CBS News “Sunday Morning.”
Check it out!
July 31, 2014
Earth Celebration Shiroyama Concerts
Rehearsals for Day 2 “DAICHI/EARTH”
Today we are having rehearsals for the Aug. 23 Shiroyama Concert “DAICHI / EARTH,” directed by Tsuyoshi Maeda. The rehearsal hall is filled with new sounds and interesting ideas. The artistic direction is really going to make the most of the outdoor concert atmosphere.
Before long, the guest artists will join us on Sado for rehearsals. I can’t wait to see the performance at Shiroyama Park!
Performance at “Hakusan-maru Matsuri” Eve Festival
The “Hakusan-maru,” a large gallant ship from the final years of the Edo Era, is resident at the Sado Ogi Folk Museum in Shukunegi on Sado Island.
On July 26, Kodo gave a performance on the eve of the annual festival held in its honor, “Hakusan-maru Matsuri,” right in front of the ship! Isn’t she grand?
Thank you very much to everyone who came along!
July 26, 2014
Rehearsals for Sado Festival “Kozan Matsuri”
Today it is so sunny here on Sado Island. We’re in the middle of our rehearsals for tomorrow’s performance at festival “Kozan Matsuri,” trying to compete with the sun in terms of energy!
It’s one of our limited number of chances a year for people on Sado Island to see us perform, so we drum and drum, dripping with sweat in the summer heat, in preparation for the concert without caring at all about the blisters on our hands!
Please come along to see us tomorrow in Aikawa!
From July 2014 Issue of Monthly Japanese Newsletter “Kodo”
Last March, Yoko and I visited Mr. Shigeki Hatakeyama on Sado, who taught us mat (floor) exercises during the early days of Ondekoza. Last year, his wife passed away, so Yoko asked me to go with her to light incense and offer a prayer for Mrs. Hatakeyama.
This couple always came to see our annual December performances on Sado Island together. When we visited their home for the first time, it was like a little art gallery. Their house is an old Japanese-style home, which was remodeled to make the most of the traditional style, and they have decorated it with a variety of artworks, creating a special harmony with both old and new pieces.
From the left: Yoko Fujimoto, Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Mr. Shigeki Hatakeyama
Mr. Hatakeyama was born in 1944 and turned 70 years old this year. He was a high school P.E. teacher in the seventies when he taught us. Ever since, he has made and sent a wonderful new-year card to Kodo every year. We found out he had made these with his wife. She was a also teacher, who taught Home Economics at Sado Girls’ High. After losing his beloved wife, Mr. Hatakeyama decided he had to make the art gallery that they had been thinking of opening together in the barn in front of their house. They wanted it to be a place for friends to come together. So he has been working away, establishing it with help from his friends.
In his gallery, there are some works created by Yoko and I on display. Some were made using my old bachi (drumsticks) and another piece is a picture on a large white panel, which Mr. Hatakeyama adorned with a tri-color decoration. So, this piece is a collaborative work created by the three of us. The name of this gallery is “Asa and Asa.”