From “Amaterasu” to “Mystery”: Part 4
Article by journalist Sachiko Tamashige
“Mystery” directed by Tamasaburo Bando
The audience may wonder what kind of idea lies behind the production of “Mystery.” To address this, Tamasaburo Bando wrote the following note prior to the opening:
“It’s hard to put into words, but I’m aiming to create a world of mystery. Across Japan, the folk arts have been handed down for countless generations. There’s a sacredness there, an air of mystery within each prayer. The drums express this, and I would like for the audience to feel it, too. I hope theatergoers will experience the same sort of otherworldly splendor that you sense in temples, shrines, and moments of discovery in the forest. I also want people to enjoy darkness: the beauty of something you come across lit by candlelight, a sense that is both vague and marvelous. Peel back the layers surrounding mystery and you find fear, humor, charm, and other varied and significant qualities. In the “Serpent Dances” that have come down from old, the defeated serpent is endowed with a surprising level of sacredness. In this performance, many things will emerge from out of the darkness. While it’s essentially a drum concert, playing as only drums can play, we’ve added plenty of visual interest. A moment of wonder means nothing unless you are actually present to experience it. Religious rituals as well as the arts have been refined over centuries, using inspiration from those who came before us. In this drumming performance, I hope that the audience will enjoy to the fullest that magical sense of space and time.”
Just before the opening, I asked the artistic director Tamasaburo the following question: “What is ‘Mystery’ all about ?”
May 6, 2014
Finale of “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island 2014: Spring”
The Kodo Special Performances began at the same time as Golden Week, our national holiday period, and many people came to see our performances every day, right up until the finale. This special concert featured the Kodo Distinguished Members, veteran members, my fellow junior members, and Kodo apprentices. I have respected the senior members of Kodo for a long time, so being able to take the stage with them and cheer on the odaiko (big drum) performers is an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.
On the final day, I was filled with emotion and I could barely contain my tears. I will play taiko harder every single day trying to follow in the footsteps of the veteran Kodo members.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone again this fall!
I hope you will come and enjoy walking around the traditional, quaint village of Shukunegi and I really hope you will come to Shukunegi Community Hall to see the next series of Kodo Special Performances!
Photos: Satoko Maeda
May 8 Workshop & Mini Live Performance in Kushima, Miyazaki
I am from Kushima City so I know the cultural hall there, Kushima-shi Bunka Kaikan, very well. When I lived here, I never imagined that one day I would appear on this stage as a member of Kodo, so today my dream came true.
For the workshop, we were joined by children from four taiko groups. At first, they looked shy taking part with new people and in front of the audience. But Yosuke led them with his unique talk and passionate taiko sound, and after a while the audience started to laugh and the participants loosened up. They played taiko with all their might, trying hard to create sound together as one.
It was a very meaningful day for me to bring the sound of a Kodo performance to the locals in my hometown.
The Second Day at Sanja Matsuri
Each portable shrine (mikoshi) was purified at Asakusa Shrine and then carried out into the town of Asakusa.
The costume is different for each district, so the atmosphere is also different.
The local children were doing their best, too!
I came across the portable shrines wherever I went.
It was such an exciting day for the locals carrying the portable shrines, and for spectators like me, too!
I also went to see the festival Sanja Matsuri at night on the first day.
The six portable shrines that were in front of Asakusa Public Hall came and went through Kaminarimon Gate.
Here comes a tengu, a long‐nosed goblin! His gold eyes are so striking.
The lanterns on the portable shrines were lit up at night and it was very beautiful.
And there were people, people and more people! The festival is in full swing!
Six portable shrines lined up in front of Asakusa Public Hall. I was not able to fit them all into one picture to show you, but I can assure you that a still photo wouldn’t do the passion and power justice!
It was my first time to see Senso-ji Temple’s large censer (vessel for burning incense) moved from where it always stands.
Inside Asakusa Shrine, three big portable shrines were waiting for their own turn.
The festival will continue tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, so I am getting more and more excited!
Safety first! They’ve prepared the area perfectly!
On May 16, a cute group of visitors came to see us at the Tatakokan (Sado Island Taiko Centre). These children are from Ota Nursery School on Sado Island.
They all listened carefully to Shinchan-sensei and really enjoyed playing the taiko. It’s hard to get your sound in sync with your friends, but when you do, it’s really fun!
Today is May 16, the first day of performances for the spring “Workshop Performance” tour!
Today we have two performances in Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. We are presenting a special programme, which includes “Heartbeat Project” piece Island of the Shining Sun.
Now, we are resting between the first and second performances. It was raining this morning and the humidity has made the tone of the hiraoke odaiko (flat, roped big drum) quite low, so we are going to retune it tightly, ready for the second performance!
Kodo Website | Heartbeat Project
May 16 Kodo Workshop Performance (Ishinomaki, Miyagi)
We gave a “Workshop Performance” at the Ishinomaki-shi Kahoku Sogo Center in Miyagi Prefecture.
Ishinomaki was greatly damaged by the 2011 Tohoku Pacific Earthquake. Kodo had held performances in Ishinomaki prior to the disaster, and we were happy to be able to perform here once more. The smiles and cheers from the audience who gathered to watch us gave us a power boost, so we put all that power into the sound of our taiko.
After the performance, an aquaintance said to us “Please do come back and give another performance in Ishinomaki.” We look forward to returning here and seeing everyone in Ishinomaki, happy and well.
Our next Workshop Performance is in Tokai, Aichi. We hope to see you there!
To present performances of the highest quality, we have intense rehearsals at each theater we visit on tour. A lot of advice and directions fly about when we rehearse together.
The performers get ready for the performances by talking about the detailed nuances of sound and movement so that they will be in tune with one another on stage.