Posts by Kodo Members
On Tour with ‘DADAN’ in Brazil
Kodo is back in Brazil for the first time in eight years. The opening night of the “DADAN 2016” tour was held at Teatro Alfa in Sao Paulo.
Eight years ago I saw Kodo here and it was that performance that led me to join Kodo. It was at this very theater and on the same stage. When the “DADAN” performance began, I slipped back in time to eight years ago and I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage.
The reaction of the Brazilian audience was just like last time. Kodo received a full standing ovation and everyone was so excited.
Before the opening night of “DADAN,” we gave a smaller-scale performance in Rio de Janeiro with a cast of five, including myself. We presented a programme that shared Kodo with the audience in a clear way by featuring introductions about Kodo and the Kodo Apprentice Centre, as well as some information about traditional Japanese culture.
I took on the challenge of speaking Portugese as the MC! The whole cast did their best to introduce themselves in Portugese, too, which I think brought us much closer to the audience. The one hour performance flew by!
Taiko is really popular in Sao Paulo and I led a workshop there for experienced taiko players. The participants had such a pure, eager look in their eyes. I was reminded of the passion that people in Brazil have for taiko, all the way over here on the other side of the world from Japan. What I was able to share with them was the importance of the sound of every single beat and how fun it is to create a groove with others. It was a very bountiful four-hour workshop.
Surrounded by the sound of Brazilian taiko for the first time in eight years, I could feel our “common language,” beyond any language barrier, and the unique timing we share when we reunite and play taiko as a team, as one. I recalled my original intentions and felt the significance of continuing on my path with taiko.
When I was in my second year as a Kodo apprentice, Yoohey Kaito from Sao Paulo was a first year in the Apprentice Programme. Yoohey is helping Kodo as an interpreter on the 2016 tour and he is such a huge help with so many other things related to our performances in Brazil this year, too.
Now we are off to Rio de Janeiro for “DADAN” performances there. The “DADAN” team will do their best to leave the sound of Kodo resonating here in Brazil, on the other side of the world from Japan.
Kodo “DADAN 2016” Brazil Tour
I had just graduated from the Kodo Apprentice Centre when I took part in the previous Mystery tour in North America. I didn’t know which way was up on my first tour and everyone else helped me so much. This time I will be able to focus even more on my performance and I want to show just how much I have grown as a performer over the past year on stage.
We will visit ten countries with different cuisine, culture, people… I wonder what kind of countries await me? I am excited to think about every day of the tour. My goal for this tour is to grow as a person.
I will perform with all my might, and with my heart, for everyone awaiting us in Europe and Russia.
Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Russia
Thank You for Attending the “Chaos” Tokyo Performances
Thank you very much to everyone who came along to see our “Chaos” performances in Tokyo at the end of last year.
Our concerts at the Bunkyo Civic Center were the last ones of our month-long tour, which started on Sado Island in late November.
In this programme we drum on tires for some pieces. Towards the end of the tour, the covers on the tyres were getting softer so we re-covered them in Tokyo.
These tires are featured as instruments and the new covers gave them a new lease on life. I had to think about their durability while trying to get the sound I wanted from them, so I played the tires by trial and error everyday.
In “Chaos” we play Japanese drums and various other instruments, so we have to consider the best sound to make with each instrument to fit in with the other sounds. This meant we couldn’t just play taiko in our usual manner. Instead, we sometimes mute the reverberations and weave delicate sounds together.
While it was chaotic, somehow it was indeed a feel-good performance for us. There was no plan to create sound in time or make sure you were in time or in sync with someone or something else. So even if someone came along with an unusual element, we would meld together just by feeling and being in that moment.
We want to hear each other’s sound in the best way, so naturally, I feel that we all head towards harmony together.
We gave five performances in a row at Bunkyo Civic Center as the tour finale. Thank you very much for coming. I am truly grateful to have been able to perform in front of so many people everyday.
Special Feature in the Financial Times, UK “Japan’s Kodo drummers”
“Chaos is aptly named, but this is chaos of the most scrupulously organised kind. It is an exhilarating performance that leaves both drummers and audience breathless and a reminder that there is simply no substitute for the visceral thrill of experiencing the powerful cumulative resonance of these drums played in person.”
“Chaos” will tour throughout Japan in June and July 2016. Details will be announced on our website in early February.
Hello! I am Mizuki Yoneyama, one of Kodo’s junior members.
I spent the past six weeks or so on tour with the “Kodo Interactive Performance” programme.
Throughout the tour I experienced many things with my heart and senses: the air and scent of each place, the colors and sounds, and new connections with people who we encountered at the many schools and theaters. I want to find out more and more about so many things through wadaiko… like discovering pure sound, natural communication and, personally, how to be completely upfront.
Dec. 3, 2015
“Chaos” in Niigata Today
Today we have our Niigata performance of “Chaos”! The first time I ever saw a Kodo performance was here at the Niigata Prefecture Civic Center. I hope everyone who comes along to see us today in Niigata thoroughly enjoys our performance! We are waiting for you all at the theater!
Premiere Tour Throughout Japan
Nov. 24, 2015
Japan was getting ready for winter when we boarded the plane for Bali and the heat that greeted us here was way beyond what I had imagined. Our first performance is Negara went well and we have just arrived in Denpasar. The staff in Negara gave us such a warm welcome and I was so grateful everyday while we were there.
In Bali, my five senses are bustling with sensations I have never experienced before, but it is somehow nostalgic here and the nature and people remind me of Japan. The roots of our cultures feel very close even though they are somewhat different in form.
Suar Agung really set the Shiroyama Concerts on fire at Earth Celebration in August. It is hard to find the right words just yet to describe our first performance in Bali, but I can say that when their groove surrounded us on stage, we felt that they had turned the heat up even further…
We are counteracting their heat with a powerful freshness, like the wind on Sado Island, which we hope will resonate with Suar Agung and the audiences.
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery”
Europe Tour Begins Late Jan. 2016!
It’s not long now until our tour around Europe with “Mystery” begins on Jan. 30, 2016.
This production was very well received in Japan, but because it features so many elements of Japanese folk arts, the first time we took it abroad I was honestly anxious to see how our audiences would react to it. Earlier this year we set off on tour with “Mystery” in the USA and Canada and our entire cast was so surprised… because we received standing ovations at every venue.
In particular, when we gave back-to-back performances at BAM in New York, word of mouth created a huge demand for tickets and people were waiting for cancellations to come and see us. We were very happy to feel such warm acceptance of our culture as we traveled throughout North America with this production.
That was just two countries… and next we are taking “Mystery” to several countries in Europe.
I’m sure the reaction to our performance will differ from country to country. Also, we perform at more concert halls than regular theaters in Europe, so we have the added challenge of adapting the programme and performance to suit each venue.
I hope to take my performances in Europe to new heights, facing each one anew with all my might. I will make the most of my experiences to date performing “Mystery” in Japan and North America.
Since March, the cast of “Mystery” has been split up to work on all kinds of different tours and projects. When we reunite for the Europe “Mystery” performances, we will bring new inspiration and energy with us from those experiences. We look forward to sharing the unique realm of darkness and light that “Mystery” creates on stage with everyone in Europe soon.
Also, if you’re planning to visit Europe in early 2016, please come and see us somewhere during your travels!
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Mystery” Europe Tour
Oct. 29, 2015
Hello Hong Kong!
We have safely arrived in Hong Kong for the “DADAN” performances! The last time Kodo visited anywhere in China was 15 years ago in 2000. This is my first time ever in Hong Kong and I have been really looking forward to this trip.
But our schedule is rather tight… tomorrow we have to unpack our instruments and load in to the theater, then we have a press conference and rehearsals, then two performances… so that only leaves a short amount of free time today to enjoy Hong Kong.
So, as soon as we got off the bus from the airport and checked in to our hotel, I was straight back outside and leapt on the subway. I started my sightseeing from the southern end of Nathan Road and zigzagged my way north.
I saw lanes of pubs filled with spirited old guys, a chic shopping area like Omotesando (in Tokyo), a market packed with stalls on the street, and such amazing neon signs. I felt such great energy coming from the city and its people.
It was a brief outing, but it was great to feel that pulsating side of Asia. I’m invigorated and will do my best for our performances!
Kodo “DADAN 2015″ Hong Kong Performances
Oct. 30 (Fri) & 31 (Sat), 2015 Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong SAR, China
This year Echigo Oyashirazu Taiko, a local taiko group in Itoigawa, Niigata, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Kodo was invited to join them for a special performance to commemorate their milestone year.
Around 50 people took part in the performance, ranging from elementary school children to adults. All of the performers took the stage for the finale to play a festive piece together. It was my first time to perform with other taiko groups and I offered them my sincere congratulations by performing from the bottom of my heart. The whole theater was filled with so many smiles and such loud applause.
The elementary school children, who belong to a group called Koshirazu Taiko, performed with all their might and the adults performed with such power. They all had such wonderful smiles. It was such a special occasion and I am so grateful that I got to take part in it. Thank you for having us, Echigo Oyashirazu Taiko! I wish you and Koshirazu Taiko all the best for your future activities!
Kodo Appearance at “2015 Taiko Festival in Oumi”
Oct. 11 (Sun), 2015 Oumi Sogo Bunka Kaikan Kirara Hall, Itoigawa, Niigata
Oct. 27, 2015
We’re Off to Hong Kong for Kodo “DADAN 2015”
Hello! I’m Reo Kitabayashi, one of Kodo’s junior members. This is my first time posting on the Kodo Blog.
Today we set off from Kodo Village to head to Hong Kong for the “DADAN 2015” performances. I’ve never been abroad, so this will be my first time!
I’ll play with all my might on Oct. 30 & 31 at our two performances in Hong Kong.
Kodo “DADAN 2015” Hong Kong Performances
Oct. 30 (Fri) & 31 (Sat), 2015 Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong SAR, China