Getting Ready for Earth Celebration
Earth Celebration is about to begin and we are rehearsing with all our might!
Usually we are all off on different projects and tours, so summer is always a special time of year for us because we all come together at the Kodo Village Rehearsal Hall to create sound together, work hard together, and perform on the same stage. This year will be the last EC that centers around the Shiroyama Concerts, so while it’s sad to see the end of an era, it’s all the more reason to give it our all! We hope you all come and have a ball with us! I hope we can make EC 2015 a special turning point that leads to bright new horizons!
See you all at Shiroyama Park!
We began our rehearsals for Earth Celebration on Aug. 8. Today we are practicing for the “Kodo Night” performance that will be held on Aug. 21.
With so many Kodo members in the rehearsal hall at once it got very lively in seconds.
We hope you’re all looking forward to EC as much as we are!
EC is about to begin!
After this photo was taken, my icecream fell off the stick.
※Of course, I put the stick and wrapper in the trash can!
I was captured by ninjas at Matsumoto Castle!
We performed at the Taiko Drum Festival at Matsumoto Castle and many of the elementary school children we met during our recent School Workshop Performances in Matsumoto came along to see us. It was so good to see them all again! We had a great time. Thank you very much, everyone in Matsumoto!
Kodo Guest Appearance at “The 28th Annual Taiko Drum Festival at Matsumoto Castle”
“Earth Celebration 2015” tote bags are now in stock! These bags feature the first ever EC logo designed by illustrator Seitaro Kuroda and come in six different colors. This practical tote has convenient inner pockets and fits A4-size folders with room to spare.
These bags are currently available from the Kodo Online Store and at the Sado Island Taiko Centre. Of course, you can also purchase them at EC in August (if stocks last)!
We only have a limited number of each color, so order soon to avoid disappointment!
“Earth Celebration 2015” Tote Bags
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/171.html (Japanese store webpage)
For orders in English, please contact the Kodo Online Store by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Orders can be shipped to 120 countries around the world.
Visit to Bali
Leonard Eto, Kinu Watanabe of the Japan Foundation, Makoto Shimazaki (Chairman of Kodo Cultural Foundation) and I visited Bali, Indonesia, in order to explore the possibilities for our upcoming collaborative performances at EC (for the first time in 18 years) and also for future Kodo performances in Bali. For Leonard and myself, it was our first trip to Bali in 20 years, but the moment we felt the warm, humid air of the tropics, we were overcome by nostalgia and everything felt familiar again right away.
Our reunion with Suwentra, the leader of Suar Agung, also felt so natural… it was as if no time had passed at all. We spoke fondly of our memories together, and continued our recent conversations about this year’s performance at EC without reservation.
The next day, we went to Nugara, the western region of Bali where their headquarters are located. There, Leonard led rehearsals with Suar Agung, keeping in mind the vision of Mitsuru Ishizuka who is directing the performance “Shukusai” on the final night of EC. It was indeed a fruitful visit.
Behind the Scenes, Episode 2
The fourth piece on the “Eternity” programme is called Seiten. It is a solo piece composed by Masayuki Sakamoto, which he performs using one okedo-daiko (barrel drum).
Sakamoto worked alongside Mr. Yasuo Asano, the company president of taiko maker Asano Taiko, to create the particular okedo-daiko that he plays for this piece. It was developed through trial and error and has a special feature: the ability to tune each head separately. Kodo is really particular about sound and the Asano Taiko craftsmen have tremendous skills, so the combination of their fine attention to detail produced this special drum.
Recorded: Live at Bunkyo Civic Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on December 21–22, 2014.
Price: Blu-ray: 6,000 yen (tax inc.) / DVD: 5,000 yen (tax inc.)
Kodo Discography http://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/index_en.html
Kodo Online Store
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” Japan Tour (Sep.–Oct.)
Kodo Cultural Foundation Project: “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” Live-in Workshops
O-daiko & Ogi Matsuri Daiko with Yoshikazu Fujimoto
From Jul. 3 through 5, I led a “Kodo Juku at Fukaura Schoolhouse” live-in workshop for eleven participants. The group was made up of men and women of various ages from all over Japan, as well as four people from overseas who came along to play taiko for the first time. It was such a mixed bunch: the youngest participant was 17 and the eldest was 68 years old! We had four workshop sessions in all: Day 1 afternoon, Day 2 morning & afternoon, and Day 3 morning. I used these sessions to teach them O-daiko, where they face the drum and beat it, and Ogi Matsuri Daiko, where they drum standing side-on to the drum, plus a further two pieces. It was tough for them to learn all the different rhythms to play, but they all worked hard and managed to get through each piece. They came together as one, and I was so happy! I breathed a sigh of relief.
On the first day we had a BBQ outside, and I poured my heart and soul into making my specialty egg dish, dashi maki tamago, for them all to enjoy.
The other day after our performance in Kimitsu, Chiba, some of my fellow Kodo members and I went to visit Ranjo-san.
Ranjo-san is a bamboo flute maker who has been crafting the flutes that Kodo uses for many, many years. Apparently, there has recently been a rise in the number of people who have started playing the shinobue (Japanese transverse bamboo flute). And some 9 out of 10 of those newcomers play a bamboo flute made by Ranjo-san. Ranjo’s name is so well-known these days amongst shinobue enthusiasts, both throughout Japan as well as abroad. I am truly grateful that he helps me choose bamboo flutes to play that suit me the best. Then he gives me advice on how to play them.
Each flute is made from a living being: bamboo. The girth, thickness of the bamboo, and size of the holes may look the same for each instrument at a glance, but each one is completely unique.
Ranjo-san taught me that the most important thing to think of when you choose a flute is what kind of sound you want to create with it.
I am one of several shinobue players in the Kodo ensemble. So, what kind of sound do I want to share with our audiences? In other words, what kind of feeling do I want to convey to our audiences through my sound? I thought about that long and hard. The other members with me also thought deeply as they picked up each flute and played it to see what kind of sound they could create.
Please come along to see “Kodo One Earth Tour: Eternity” so you can hear the sound of our ideas and emotions through Ranjo’s flutes.
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” Japan Tour (June–July, Sep.–Oct.)
[June–July] Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Chiba, Osaka, Nagano, Kyoto, Ehime, Hiroshima
[Sep. Oct.] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kagoshima
Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi
On July 10, my second album “Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi” was released at long last! Thank you for your patience and support, everyone.
For this album, I didn’t limit myself to playing Japanese songs since I play a Japanese bamboo flute… I decided to include a wide range of songs that I like, ranging from Russian folksongs to American sprituals, from my own originals to Uyghur folksongs.
I invited Mikio Tsuji (eleven-string alto guitar), Yumi Nogami (piano & vocals), and Yoshie Abe (tategoto [vertical koto harp] & vocals) to collaborate with me on the album. They are all such unique performers and they shared their talents without restraint. I chose my bamboo flute, either makobue or shinobue, especially to suit each song… but actually, I really had no choice but to play a shinobue for many of the pieces to suit the delicate tones of Mr. Tsuji’s guitar and Ms. Abe’s harp.
Just like on my first album, the last track is kind of like a bonus track, so to speak. I dedicated this track to the late Akira Nino, the pianist who performed on my debut album. I thought the lyrics of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” sounded like his inner monologue during his life, so I chose this piece for him. When you listen to it, when the lyrics say the word “Lord,” please think of the word “Music.”
By the way, here’s the word on the street:
“Music these days is all downloadable, cheap and convenient.”
“Not at all, it is better to buy a CD that spins and have a cover to hold and read.”
And here’s what I say:
“One or the other, or both, I don’t mind… just please listen to the music.”
Discography | Ikkan Fugetsu Vol. 2: Tomoshibi