Tag ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island’
Oct. 1. 2015
Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
October has arrived and we are enjoying sunny days with a slight chill in the air. Some decades ago, there was snowy rain in October, but I think that due to global warming in recent years, the fall season on Sado has gotten somewhat longer.
Kodo held numerous performances throughout Japan this September with the “Eternity” and “Interactive Performances” touring from Hokkaido down to Shikoku, our “Special Performances” here on Sado Island, and an array of solo and small ensemble projects, too. Each of our two tours included special projects, collaborations, and workshops, so their days have been filled with all kinds of activities.
I took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” centered around our Distinguished Members. This was the fourth year for this series. For the Autumn concerts, we had a cast of eight featuring veterans, junior members, and Maya Minowa for the first time. We gave seven performances over four days during Silver Week. The venue, Shukunegi Public Hall, was built 57 years ago and renovations have commenced this fall to strengthen it against earthquakes and restore it. We look forward to seeing the finished renewal next spring.
Photo: Damian Siqueiros
Dancers: Jerimy Rivera & Edi Blloshmi
The Interactive Performance team finished their Japan tour at the end of September and have returned to Sado to rehearse for their upcoming ballet collaboration in Montreal, “Kaguyahime.” Kodo also took part in this ballet with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal in Canada three years ago.
“Kaguyahime” is a ballet suite by the late Maki Ishii, who also composed Kodo’s signature pieces Monochrome and Dyu-ha. He wrote Kaguyahime for a ballet danced to Western percussion, Japanese court music, and wadaiko. For most of the performance, Kodo performs in the orchestra pit, but there are also some scenes where we perform on stage. The production includes a furious battle scene where the Western percussion and Japanese taiko go head to head.
Here on Sado Island, October is an action-packed month for the Kodo apprentices. On top of their usual training, they will give Interactive Performances at junior high schools on Sado, host live-in workshop Kodo Juku at the Apprentice Centre, and have the valuable experience of harvesting the persimmons, rice, and other crops they have been growing over the past months.
At the end of September, we held information sessions for prospective apprentices in Tokyo and Osaka. Some people know they want to join Kodo on stage, but they are anxious when faced with a two-year apprenticeship and wonder how they will find it training here. Of course, it’s easier to imagine if they visit the Centre before applying, but since it’s difficult for some people to come up to have a look around, we have started holding info sessions in these two main citiess in the last couple of years. Today, our applications opened for the 2016 intake. We look forward to greeting our new applicants as they step forward for this challenge of a lifetime.
In Japan, we say that autumn is the season for performing arts.
We hope to see you all soon at a Kodo performance somewhere.
June 1, 2015
Hello, everyone! I hope that you are well.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
June has begun. The sun’s rays are getting stronger and the forests on Sado are such a vivid green. I feel the power of Mother Nature through this intensity.
Until a few years ago, I spent spring traveling around Japan with the “Kodo One Earth Tour” performances, from the beginning of May until the end of June. When I would come back to Sado in June, I was always taken aback by the changes in nature between my departure and my return. As we passed through the dense gauntlet of trees to reach Kodo Village, I’d feel at home before we had even arrived.
Thanks to all of your support, May concluded on a high note after our successful “Amaterasu” performances at Shochiku-za Theatre in Osaka. Thank you very much to all of you who attended the performances. The previous encore performances were held two years ago, so this time even more young, new members joined the cast. I think “Amaterasu” provided them with such valuable experiences: they rose to the challenge of tackling new parts and instruments, and they were able to perform on stage with Kabuki luminary Tamasaburo Bando.
Around the same time, we held the fourth annual “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” near Kodo Village in the historic Shukunegi area. The cast was centered around Kodo’s distinguished members and also featured our new junior members, so there was a large age gap between the cast members (more than a generation!). These performances were a great opportunity for our junior members to learn from our senior members.
From June 10 to 15, our “DADAN 2015” performances will take place at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo. This year is the third year for Kodo to have a series of performances at Asakusa Public Hall in June. Thanks to warm local support, Kodo’s performances in Asakusa have gradually started to take root.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. May is here and it is a very comfortable, refreshing season. Flowers are bursting into full bloom and I feel so energized by spring.
As usual, April for Kodo was a time for us to hold rehearsals for the next new “Kodo One Earth Tour” production, which will premiere on Sado this November. We also rehearsed for “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and the School Workshop Performances, which resume their tours in Japan in June, as well as the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” and other projects. Much like the cycle of the nature, this is a season at Kodo when new buds emerge and grow.
This May, we will hold encore performances of “Amaterasu” at Shochiku-za Theatre in Osaka. “Amaterasu” premiered in 2006, and we also held popular encore seasons in 2007 and 2013.
This production is a rare opportunity for Kodo to collaborate on stage with our artistic director, Tamasaburo Bando. This year, we welcome back guest artist Harei Aine and look forward to sharing a new version of this performance with our audiences. In this production, we convey the story of a famous Japanese myth using the myriad sounds of Japanese musical instruments, ranging from raging gods, using the powerful roar of the taiko, to one scene where “eight million gods” gather for a party.
The party reaches its climax with a dance by a goddess called Ameno-uzume (performed by Harei Aine), which leads to the appearance of the dazzling sun goddess, Amaterasu, who emerges from the heavenly rock cave. That moment creates such a powerful wave of energy that even as performers on the same stage, we cannot help feeling moved by it as we play our taiko. It is a truly precious moment. I hope you won’t miss the opportunity to see this performance live!
“Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring” Finale Tomorrow!
Thank you very much to everyone who has come along already to see the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring.” There are just two performances to go: TOMORROW! We hope to see you there!
Apr. 26, 2015
Our popular annual concert series, “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” started with a bang (don!) yesterday on April 25. We also welcomed a large audience today, from all around Japan as well as from overseas.
The remaining performances will take place from May 2 through 5. This is during Japan’s public holiday cluster known as “Golden Week.” If you’re on holiday or visiting Japan, it’s a great time to come to Sado Island. You can even get to Ogi with ease thanks to the new fast ferry service “Akane,” departing from Naoetsu Port.
The Special Performances, centered around Kodo’s Distinguished Members, take place at Shukunegi Community Hall, a retro playhouse in the heart of the traditional village of Shukunegi. This picturesque settlement is classified as one of Japan’s “important traditional building preservation areas.” We hope you’ll come to enjoy spring on Sado with Kodo and taiko this week!
Here’s a message (in Japanese) from cast members Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Chieko Kojima, telling everyone about the programme.
▶Watch on Youtube https://youtu.be/NX8F05OyoTQ
“O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule for ‘Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring'” by Kodai Mazaki
O-daiko Triple Cast Schedule
We are pleased to announce the schedule of one of the highlights of the upcoming “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring”: the triple cast for O-daiko (the big drum). Each performer’s style is so unique! We hope you will come along!
Apr. 25 @14:45 Tomohiro Mitome
Apr. 26 @11:00 Eiichi Saito
May 2 @14:45 Yoshikazu Fujimoto
May 3 @11:00 Eiichi Saito, @14:45 Tomohiro Mitome
May 4 @11:00 Yoshikazu Fujimoto, @14:45 Eiichi Saito
May 5 @11:00 Tomohiro Mitome, @14:45 Yoshikazu Fujimoto
*Please note that this cast & schedule are subject to change without notice.
In 2015, our schedule is action-packed with an array of performances in Japan: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity,” Kodo Special Concert “Michi,” “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” encore performances of “Amaterasu,” “DADAN 2015” performances in Tokyo, and of course, “Earth Celebration on Sado Island.” Also, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” will tour in North America in early 2015. We hope to see you all somewhere soon!
Kodo 2015 Special Concert “Michi”
Ever since our ensemble’s first encounter with Tamasaburo Bando over a decade ago, Kodo has set its sights on new heights of expression. In this performance, we will present our quest for many years, a special “world of taiko,” through an array of Kodo’s signature pieces from the nineties.
Mar. 19 (Thu)–20 (Fri), 2015 KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theatre Main Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Director: Motofumi Yamaguchi
Appearing: Kodo (Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, Tomohiro Mitome, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Kenta Nakagome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Rai Tateishi, others)
Programme (TBC): Zoku, Jang-Gwara, Chonlima, Michi, Shamisen, Monochrome, Miyake, Sankan Shion, Yamauta, O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi
Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2015: Spring
The Special Performances, centered around Kodo’s Distinguished Members, take place at Shukunegi Community Hall, a retro playhouse in the heart of the traditional village of Shukunegi. This picturesque settlement is classified as one of Japan’s “Important Traditional Building Preservation Areas.”
Apr. 25 (Sat), 26 (Sun), May 2 (Sat)–5 (Tue/Public Hol.), 2015 Shukunegi Community Hall, Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island, Niigata
Appearing: Kodo (Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Chieko Kojima, Motofumi Yamaguchi, Eiichi Saito, Tomohiro Mitome, & others)
“Amaterasu” will return for encore performances in 2015 at Osaka’s Shochiku-za Theatre!
May 3 (Sun)–26 (Tue), 2015 *No performances on May 7 & 14 Osaka Shochiku-za Theatre, Osaka City
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Appearing: Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo
Special Appearance: Harei Aine
Kodo “DADAN 2015”
“DADAN,” meaning “drumming men,” was designed by Tamasaburo Bando as a simultaneously raw and refined performance that features solely young male Kodo performers in a bold exploration of percussion instruments. We hope you will join us for the ever-evolving DADAN performances in June 2015, exclusively at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo.
June 10 (Wed)–15 (Mon), 2015 Asakusa Public Hall, Taito Ward, Tokyo
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
※Pre-orders available at the Dec. 19–23 performances of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Eternity” at Bunkyo Civic Hall, Tokyo.
Earth Celebration 2015
The Shiroyama Concerts, outdoor festival Earth Celebration’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. What better place to celebrate the earth?
Aug. 21 (Fri) -23 (Sun), 2015 Ogi, Sado Is., Niigata
Further details will be announced in May 2015.
Dec. 1, 2014
Hello, everyone. This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
It’s December now and there is some snow up on top of Sado’s highest peak, Mt. Kimpoku. However, the end of this year is somewhat warmer than usual.
While it may be a little early, I would like to take the time now to look back over this past year for Kodo.
At the beginning of 2014, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend” set off on its European tour while soloists & small-group projects held performances around Japan.
In spring, we had “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” performances, a “Workshop Performance” tour, and “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” as well as various small-group projects, all here in Japan.
In June, we held “Mystery” performances for five days at Asakusa Public Hall in Tokyo. It was our second time to give a series of performances there and once again, it was a great success. This time, we were able to deepen the bond between Kodo and the locals in Asakusa even further. We really appreciate their support.
In July, the School Workshop Performance tour members performed “DADAN” in Europe, which featured new pieces in a power-packed programme. We have been running two separate tours simultaneously for some time now, but this was the first time for us to perform two programmes directed by Tamasaburo Bando at the same time. This experience gave both the Kodo members and staff new-found confidence.
Then in August, we had our summer festival “Earth Celebration” here at home on Sado Island.
On the first night, all 32 Kodo members appeared on the Shiroyama Concert stage together. Ranging from junior members to Distinguished Members, this is the largest Kodo cast to ever take the stage at one time. The number of Kodo performers has been on the rise in recent years, but it is very rare for us to all perform together. The newest members brought their youthful energy, the veteran members brought their well-honed skills, and from the rehearsals to the stage, we all had a great time learning from each other and stimulating each other creatively.
It was wonderful to reaffirm our connection through taiko, regardless of generation. I think the audience must have felt the depth of our 30+ years of history through our performance.
On the second night, we welcomed guest artist “BLUE TOKYO,” a group of highly-trained, physically-honed rhythmic gymnasts.
On the third day, we were joined by guest artist “DAZZLE,” a creative dance ensemble, and former “Blue Hearts” drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara. Through these collaborations, we aimed to create new fusions and forms of expression, beyond any particular genre.
In the fall, we had some cast changes before setting off on two domestic tours: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery” and the “School Workshop Performance” tour. Here at home, we held more “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island,” featuring our veteran members, who also gave performances around Japan as soloists or with small-group projects. Fall marked the final performances in Japan for production “Mystery.” Thank you very much to everyone who came along to see it! Next, this production will tour around North America in 2015.
In November, the members regrouped to rehearse for two new productions: “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” and a newly-directed “School Workshop Performance” tour. On Nov. 20, “Eternity” had its premiere performance on Sado Island.
All of the pieces featured in this production are brand new and a high-level of performance technique and expression is required of the entire cast. Audiences will surely feel first-hand the brand new step than Kodo has taken in stage expression through this programme.
Both of our year-end tours will last for a month. When we are at a theater near you, please come along to see us! We look forward to sharing our new programmes with you all.
I’m sure this is a busy time of year for you, too, but I hope that you can take some time to relax and enjoy ending your year with us and the sound of our taiko.
Many people came to see Kodo’s performances at Shukunegi Community Hall this fall. The performers created a colorful world on stage with a joyful atmosphere to suit the harvest season. Thank you all for coming along!
After each performance, the performers played taiko outside to farewell the audience. The sound of taiko echoed out clearly, high into the sky.
Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014: Autumn
Oct. 2 (Thu)–Oct. 5 (Sun), 2014 Shukunegi Community Hall, Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island, Niigata