CD “Yamazu Megurumo”: An Interview with Yoko Fujimoto by Johnny Wales
CD “Yamazu Megurumo”
An Interview with Yoko Fujimoto by Johnny Wales
On March 3rd Yoko Fujimoto released her 2nd solo album ‘Yamazu Megurumo’ (Circle of Life) with Otodaiku. You can order her CD at the Kodo Online Store.
The seed for this project was when my mother in Tokyo became ill and I wondered what I could best do for her living so far away. Well, for me, that is singing. So that’s how it began, a private thing for mum.
I began to think about how life is one long continuous line from time immemorial to now. And relationships – just when you think one might be over – What?! It’s started up again! The ties that bind are re-tied. I wanted to express in song how extraordinary a thing life is, how it renews itself, carrying on in a never-ending cycle. I will be happy if – in some small way – these songs serve as a comfort and encouragement to people who hear them. Incidentally, mum is much better now.
I saw a wonderful Italian movie, “L’uomo che verrà” (The Man Who Will Come) in which an 8 year old girl and her newborn brother are left alone in a mountain village in Italy during the war. Her other little brother had died in her arms the year before and from that shock she lost her ability to speak. She resolves to do anything and everything she can to protect him. The movie ends with her finding her voice by breaking into a lullaby to her little brother. Even this tiny, seemingly powerless girl found the strength to carry on the line of life. And so it has ever been. This power that has allowed our race to continue to this day. So I wrote a poem about that. Then I learned the traditional Italian lullaby from the movie and began singing it.
As it happened last year was a very confusing time for me, there were so many changes in my life. I was even thinking about quitting singing for good. A close friend said to me, ‘Stop being confused! You have been blessed with the chance to sing with Kodo for 30 years, stop whining!’ She opened my eyes. I showed her my poem. She said, ‘You should do this! Make this into a song!’. That friend who helped is an abstract painter. I wanted to use one of her paintings on the CD cover. She asked me the name of the CD project and I told her, ‘Circle of Life’ and she said, ‘Wait there!’ and disappeared into another room. She reappeared with a smallish painting and said ‘This is my favourite painting! And its called ‘Circle of Life’ (Meguru Inochi). That settled it.
I first recorded the songs with no accompaniment and sent them to Shunsuke Kimura who laid down the accompaniment. He played fue (bamboo flute) and some Japanese percussion, and added other musicians on Tsugaru shamisen, wadaiko, 13 and 17 string kotos, world music percussion and violin. ▶ read more
“Performance at Tokyo Station for Destination Niigata Event” by Shingo Kawamura
On March 16, a special Kodo unit performed on the GranSta stage inside Tokyo Station. The venue was so lively thanks to all the people who came along, so many that they couldn’t all fit into the space to watch!
Destination Niigata Campaign “Kodo Performance” at Tokyo Station
“Rehearsals for ‘Ryugon x Kodo x Fumiyoshi x Hakkaisan’ Special Event” by Mitsunaga Matsuura
Every year Kodo’s special performance at the traditional Japanese inn Ryugon sells out. This year marks our 5th performance at Ryugon, which they are commemorating with a special event: a collaboration between Kodo and shamisen player Fumiyoshi.
The other day, Fumiyoshi came to Kodo Village to create music with us in preparation for the collaboration.
From our performance at Ryugon in 2013
Won’t you join us for a fabulous night of Kodo (taiko), Fumiyoshi (shamisen), Hakkaisan (sake), and Ryugon (inn and dinner)? A special Kodo unit led by Motofumi Yamaguchi will be waiting there for you!
Kodo Performance at Performance at Traditional Japanese Inn “Ryugon”
[Kodo Apprentice Centre] “Helping Out with the Tea Ceremony at Aikawa Hinamatsuri Festival” by Michiko Chida
On March 9, there was a Hinamatsuri Tea Ceremony at the historic Sado Magistrate’s Office site in Aikawa. This ceremony was run by students from elementary schools, junior high & high schools on Sado Island, and the 2nd-year Kodo apprentices joined the ceremony for the first time.
The apprentices were so, so nervous to show their tea ceremony etiquette in front of an audience for the first time.
“From Berlin, Germany” by Jun Akimoto
Here is a picture of our sold-out audience at Berliner Philharmonie on March 5.
They say that this concert hall has the best sound in the world and it is mainly used for classical music, so it is a great honor for Kodo to perform regularly at this hall.
“From Munich, Germany” by Jun Akimoto
The “Kodo One Earth Tour: Legend” team are in Germany now.
This is a picture of Philharmonie im Gasteig in Munich with a full house. On both March 3rd and 4th, we welcomed nearly sold-out audiences. Thank you to everyone who came to our performances.
“Today’s Rehearsal for “Art Music Japan” by Kenta Nakagome
Today we had a run-through rehearsal for “Art Music Japan.”
I’ll be playing the o-daiko for the first time in a while!
There’s a lot of energetic pieces…
… if you’re going to come along, you should be excited!
April 5 (Sat), 2014
Kodo Appearance at “Art Mix Japan 2014”
Ryutopia – Niigata Shimin Geijutsu Bunka Kaikan Theater, Niigata City
“Rehearsals for Matsurine 2014” by Tomohiro Mitome
We had rehearsals for this month’s upcoming “Matsurine” concert. This is going to be our third time appearing with Miyakejima Geino Doshikai for their concert and when we join forces, it really takes our power to another level. We are really looking forward to joining them on stage!
Mar. 23 (Sun) Kodo Guest Appearance “Matsurine 2014”
“Kodo Performance at Tokyo Station” by Mitsunaga Matsuura
Kodo will perform at a “DestinationNiigata” event
at Tokyo Station on Sunday, March 16th!
Tsuyoshi Maeda is back on Sado after rehearsals for “FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju.
Without delay, he’s straight into rehearsals for the performance at Tokyo Station.
It’s exciting to think that these pieces will echo throughout Tokyo Station.
Please drop by on Sunday if you’re in the area.
Mar. 16 (Sun), 2014
Destination Niigata Campaign “Kodo Performance” at Tokyo Station (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo)
Apr. 2 (Wed) – 6 (Sun), 2014
Tsuyoshi Maeda Appearance in “FLAMENCO Sonezaki Shinju” (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo)
“Kiyohime on Sado in Deep Winter” by Chieko Kojima
Hi, this is Chieko Kojima.
I am making a photograph portfolio of “Kiyohime” from the story “Dojoji” using the scenery of the four seasons on Sado Island. The photographer is Maiko Miyagawa, who has been taking pictures of Kodo at the Earth Celebration and of my “Yukiahi” work, etc. I am shy with new people, so I can feel at ease when I’m photographed by Maiko, who is warm and relaxed. But, the pictures all came out so cool looking.
First, here’s the winter version.
It had been fine like spring just before the shoot day, but then, it became the coldest day on Sado Island for the shoot, not by plan. I would like to share some of the pictures from our do-or-die winter photo shoot.
If you know Sado only in summer, please, come and visit sometime in the middle of winter.
Stairs at Seisuiji Temple