“Glistening Rice Paddies in May” by Yuichiro Funabashi
May 10, 2016
Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences to the people of Kumamoto who have been suffering the effects of the damaging earthquakes last month and continual tremors ever since. I sincerely hope that the earth will settle right away and that their situation will improve very soon. Stories of the damage from friends and family in the Kyushu region have made us think hard about what we can do to cheer them on. By touring there as planned in the months ahead and sharing the sound of our taiko, we hope to encourage them as the recover from this natural disaster.
On Sado, it’s the season for planting rice. The paddies harden during the cold winter and when spring arrives, the earth is warmed and nourished by the sun. Then, when the time comes, the paddies are flooded with water to plant the rice. The glistening rice paddies make for such beautiful scenery. As I mentioned in my last post, this month we are rehearsing for productions for next month, later this year, and even next year. Honestly, we don’t have a lot of time during this rehearsal period to gaze at the scenery, but we all enjoy the glimpses of the beautiful rice paddies that we catch on our way to work each day.
One of the new productions that we are creating is called “Yugen”*, which will premiere in spring next year. The concept for this work is based on classical Japanese arts such as Noh theater. The creation process is moving along very, very slowly and with intensity, like a Noh actor moves on stage. So at the end of a rehearsal session, there is a unanimous sigh from the cast as we switch off our intense focus. We can already feel a sense of fulfilment from creating a truly unique new work. Each day we are learning and discovering new things from the classics of Japanese culture.
*English title TBA
Also, the cast for “Spirited Summer” are rehearsing with dedication for their July performances in Asakusa. The programme features pieces that were part of Kodo’s repertoire when our ensemble was founded. The young Kodo members are learning the pieces by focusing on the heart of the fundamentals, which requires many hours of practice from early in the morning until late at night.
This spring, we have also welcomed many guests to Kodo Village for rehearsals in preparation for our 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts in Tokyo this August.
This spring was our fifth year to hold Kodo performances in Shukunegi, here on Sado Island. The concerts during Golden Week were held at the newly renovated Shukunegi Community Hall. We presented a programme directed by Tomohiro Mitome and we thank all the people who came along to see the performances.
Kodo continues to work on a wide range of activities. Like the beautiful, glistening rice paddies, our ensemble has a firm base, but in order to grow each year we need to continually absorb many different elements.
Everyday, we are tackling new challenges head on and we hope to share signs of growth with you all at our upcoming performances.
Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble KODO