“Performance in my Hometown Area, Kagawa” by Yuta Sumiyoshi
I was still a junior member the last time I came to Takamatsu in Kagawa on the “One Earth Tour.” In those early days, I was just frantically playing taiko, clinging tight to every lesson the Kodo members were teaching me. So coming back to Kagawa to perform again, about two years on, made me wonder deep down how much I have grown as a performer since last time.
I had the opportunity to write some of the music for the production we are presenting this time, “Mystery.” I write songs using fragments of pieces I composed when I lived in Kagawa and mixing them with new inspiration that came to me after I moved to Sado Island. Through this production, featuring these pieces, I hope that others can see how much I have grown and how much change I have been able to embody. I also hope people can sense something constant in me, a base within me that doesn’t change.
Before I went to Sado Island (to become a Kodo apprentice), I played taiko every day with my childhood friends, somewhat uncertain about the right way to play. I left my childhood friends, went to Sado Island alone to join Kodo, and now I’m playing taiko professionally.
After the performance in Takamatsu, a teacher, who has watched over me growing up since I was really young, said to me, “No matter how great of a pro taiko player you’ve become, your songs still haven’t changed since you were a junior high school student. Even if the melodies and rhythms are different, your taste remains throughout the composition. It’s nostalgic and I’m happy about that.” To have someone who had worked on polishing my musicianship for over 10 years say those words to me, I was so happy I could cry and at the same time I felt determined to aim even higher and work to become a person that everyone to whom I am indebted would be proud of.
Our performance in Kagawa was a chance for me to feel the warmth of my home region, and to take a new look at my own hopes and intentions.