Tag ‘Eri Uchida’
Earth Celebration 2016
Minakuchi Bayashi Lecture & Demo
This year we will present a Minakuchi Bayashi lecture & demonstration at Earth Celebration! If you’re making the trip all the way to Sado this summer, I hope you’ll join us to take a step even deeper into the world of Japanese performing arts through learning about Minakuchi Bayashi, one of Shiga Prefecture’s intangible folk cultural assets. Come along to hear all about this folk art and watch a demonstration of Minakuchi Bayashi, featuring a few Kodo members, too! Then some attendees will have a chance to play Minakuchi Bayashi with us. This event will be conducted in Japanese, and English support will be provided as required.
The Kodo members who will take part in this event are busy practicing Minakuchi Bayashi in preparation for the demo and Fringe performances. We look forward to seeing you all at Marine Plaza on the second day of EC (Saturday Aug. 27) to enjoy Minakuchi Bayashi.
(PS: It’s air-conditioned so it will be cool and fun!)
Earth Celebration 2016 (Sado Island, Niigata, Japan)
Aug. 27 (Sat) 14:00–15:30 Minakuchi Bayashi Lecture & Demo at Marine Plaza Ogi (2F)
Facilitator: Eri Uchida (Kodo)
Inquiries: Kodo Ticket Service
- Tel. （Mon–Fri 9:30–17:00）Fax. 0259-86-3631
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Details: http://www.kodo.or.jp/ec/en/event/lecture/mizuguchi/
A Birthday Celebration at Berliner Philharmonie
On March 15, we gave a performance at Berliner Philharmonie in Germany, which is home to one of Europe’s leading orchestras, Berlin Philharmonic.
The theater is pentagonal and the concert hall is a sphere-like realm where the stage and audience areas feel connected. The stage is surrounded 360 degrees by seating so people watched our performance from unique angles that are rarely possible at other halls.
March 15 is cast member Eri Uchida’s birthday, so we celebrated her special day before the performance!
Lovely Eri continues to develop as a performer all the time, so be sure to keep an eye on her!
Akiko Umegaki, Kodo “Mystery” Tour Manager
Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Russia
June–July Workshop Performance Tour is Now Underway!
Our cast is back together again after the North America “Mystery” tour in winter, and the “Michi,” “Mono-Prism” and “Amaterasu” performances in spring. Every time we come back from a tour, the scenery on Sado Island has changed so much with the seasons that it never looks like we have returned to the same place. I feel the power of nature when I see these dramatic changes. It always makes me ask myself how much I have grown over the same span of time.
Our “Workshop Performance” cast had been apart working on various projects for almost half a year, but when we regrouped I think we had all become stronger and more reliable in many ways.
For our School performances, we perform in front of children who are sitting up close to us. If we tell them, “You can hear our drums even if you block your ears!,” or say “The drums make the air and the floor shake, so the sound also reverberates throughout your bodies!,” the children will block their ears and touch the floor, or even put their ears to the floor to have a listen. They all listen to our performance freely, as they please.
These sensations are something that they cannot experience through a TV or computer screen: they have to attend a live performance to experience our sound and vibrations like that. Nowadays, there is so much information available through technology and screens, but everyday on our tour I think about how important it is for people to experience and feel sensations offline, with their body and senses. I want the children to continue to do this. As I think about this, I continue to hone my own senses.
On our current tour we have spent almost 3 weeks in Matsumoto, Nagano. We perform 10 times a week, giving performances five days a week in the morning and afternoon. Everyday we learn so much from spending time with children, so it is a very fulfilling experience!
As our tour continues, I look forward to sharing our live sound and powerful vibrations with more and more people.
School Workshop Performances
July 20 (Mon), 2015 “Hello Kodo” Small Ensemble Performance, Kashiwazaki, Niigata
Dec. 28, 2014
As I visit place to place on tour with the “School Workshop Performances,” I feel the importance of greetings firsthand. At one of the schools we visited recently, each student came up to us to greet us politely one by one.
In everything we do, communication is vital, which begins with a simple greeting that can convey so much.
At the schools we visit, teachers tell their students, “Look at the person speaking as you listen to them. Look into their eyes and listen carefully what they say.”
I think that children who can greet people well also have the ability to concentrate and know when to act in a certain way or when it’s ok to relax, according to different situations.
That goes for us, too.
I used to think that Japanese manners were very strict and a pain in the neck, but someone told me that “Manners are the best way to show how you feel.” Since then, Japanese manners became very natural to me and I started writing letters, too.
Children imitate the behavior of adults, even if they do not understand the meaning of that behavior at first. Later, they will learn the meaning behind it. I think adults should understand the real meaning behind our behavior and help children to understand that individually. As I think about this, I realize that we shouldn’t just explain things to children orally, but that they also need to experience what we mean firsthand for themselves.
Children grow up very quickly everyday and I hope that we can also grow as adults alongside them.
Kodo Workshop Performance in Kunitachi, Tokyo, on Dec. 20, 2014
We, the “Workshop Performance” tour members, were welcomed by a full-house audience for the finale of our 2014 tour in Kunitachi, Tokyo.
It was the first time for 3 of our 7 cast members to take part in a Kodo School Workshop Performance tour. They were a little nervous during the rehearsals in November, but before we knew it they had become relaxed and at ease performing for the children at each school.
Children are very honest during our performances. If it’s interesting, they do not move at all, but if we lose their attention for even a moment, they start to chat. And when our sound is too loud, they block their ears. After a month of these performances, we can now physically sense the children’s reaction as we play taiko each time.
O-daiko was particularly interesting. Kenta Nakagome is very powerful and in general his taiko playing makes a very big sound, but now when he plays the big drum in front of children, you can hear gentleness in his sound.
We heard the culmination of that change in sound during our tour finale. When the first beat from the big drum echoed out, it made us feel a wonderful warmth resonate from within our bodies.
Through these School Workshop Performances, all seven of us performed face-to-face with children, and also taking a head-on look at both taiko and ourselves. During our final performance, I really felt those challenges that we had faced together.
Thank you very much to everyone who came to see our Workshop Performance in Kyoto on Dec. 7.
Dec. 7 (Sun), 2014 Kyoto Performing Arts Center Shunjuza, Kyoto City
It was my first time to direct a Kodo Workshop Performance, so I was really anxious. But the theater staff gave us such great support and we had a wonderful time working with them at Shunjuza. We had rehearsals right up until just before the performance, so it must have been physically and mentally challenging for the cast, but they all did wonderfully on stage!
While we were creating the stage lighting for this performance, I realized that even though I want to try all kinds of things as a director, the main things I want to show are people and sound.
On stage, all of us do our very best as we face the taiko drums, each other, and ourselves, head on.
I hope that this performance also creates a chance for the staff involved and the audience to discover or realize something within themselves.
As the director, I created the programme’s framework, but it is the cast and staff, and the audience, who actually breathe life in to it. I felt that physically as gratitude welled up from within me as the performance came to an end.
When I open up myself to see what others express from a neutral position, I see those expressions react with each other and create a chemical change, and the programme morphs into a world I couldn’t have imagined myself.
I still have a long way to go, but will continue to do my best. I hope you will cheer us on.
I will make the most of what I learned here today, and use it to fuel our School Workshop Performances nationwide!
*These photos from our rehearsals on Sado Island. (Photos: Takashi Okamoto)
Dec. 14 Performance at Fire-Walking Event at Fukugonji Temple
We performed at this year’s Fire-Walking Event at Fukugonji Temple in Komaki, Aichi. Unfortunately, there was bad weather on the day of the performance, but the venue was lively from early on in the morning with performances by a variety of groups and stalls selling tasty fare.
This is the second time for Kodo to perform at this event, following on from last year. Before the event started, the temple priests briefed us on the origins of the ritual. I felt so honored to be able to perform at their event, which has been held for centuries. I was determined to do my best.
As evening drew nearer, the temperature went down steadily. A bell was sounded at 5 o’clock and we started our performance right there in the bell tower. They kept ringing the bell during our performance. The sound of our taiko echoed out nicely far and wide– perhaps that is because the tower was built so that the sound of the bell could be heard at every corner of the village?
After that, we performed on the main stage right in front of the spot where the fire-walking ritual took place. It was colder than I had expected… so cold that any of our skin not covered by clothing hurt intensely. Surprisingly, that painful chill actually cheered us on.
For O-daiko, Kenta Nakagome was playing on the front of the big drum and it looked like his back was giving off steam. You could tell from Yuta Sumiyoshi’s drumming on the back and Tetsumi Hanaoka’s chappa (cymbal) playing that they were getting into the spirit of it, too.
We started to play Yatai-bayashi as the fire was set alight. I think our performance sounded a little bit different in front of the firey blaze and smoke.
However, no matter how much heart we put into the performance, it was freezing cold! I did not feel cold during our performances, but I seemed to be shivering so much, and that caused a lot of muscle pain deep inside my body which hit me the next day.
This ritual tells of the horror of all-consuming fire, but at the same time, I learned the horror of the opposite: coldness. The power of nature is beyond our own. This experience made me reflect on the way I spend my time in winter: I realize that if you stay wrapped up too warm in winter, you become a weaker human being!
The “School Workshop Performance Tour” members are all doing well!
Kodo Workshop Performance Tour
The current Kodo Workshop Performance Tour has a brand new cast and programme!
Here’s a message from first-time programme director Eri Uchida and the cast. They’re looking forward to seeing everyone on their tour for some fun with taiko!
Next Public Performance:
Taiko Experience Corner during a School Workshop Performance
Nov. 22 (Sat) TV Appearance
Nippon TV “Kokoro Yusabure! Sempai ROCK YOU”
Kodo will appear during a wadaiko special on Nippon TV’s “Kokoro Yusabure! Sempai ROCK YOU” this Saturday from 23:00. If you’re in Japan, we hope you’ll tune in!
Nippon TV “Kokoro Yusabure! Sempai ROCK YOU”
Broadcast Date & Time: Nov. 22 (Sat) 23:00–23:30
Featured Kodo Members: Yosuke Oda, Masayuki Sakamoto, Eri Uchida, Maya Minowa, Kosuke Urushikubo, Jun Jidai
Program Website: http://www.ntv.co.jp/rockyou/kokoro/2014/11/post-125.html
*Date and time are subject to change without notice.
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Mystery”
An Interview with Eri Uchida by Johnny Wales
Eri Uchida was born in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan and is in her sixth year with Kodo. She specializes in taiko but also sings, plays shinobue (bamboo flute) and dances. Here she discusses with Johnny Wales Kodo’s newest production “Mystery” and working with Tamasaburo Bando.
Our new main stage performance is called “Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery.” It is directed by Tamasaburo Bando. The pieces were written by Kodo members and are almost all new. For me, the principal difference between his first One Earth Tour production “Legend” and the new Mystery is that in Mystery the women are featured more than ever before. In traditional Kodo performances the programme usually builds up to Yataibayashi and O-daiko so the audience leaves the theatre with a lasting impression of the male performers. I think this performance leaves an equally feminine impression. In the early stages of production we worked out a lot of the business for ourselves. At first we thought, ‘Is this going to work on stage?’ I think there is more theatricality in this performance than usual.
I have two pieces in Mystery, Harewataru (meaning “clearing skies”) which is a piece with mainly flute and taiko, and opening up the second act is a piece I composed called Chit Chat. I wanted to express the feeling of girls just having a good chin wag, so the curtain opens to a scene of the women playing and laughing together.
About a year ago Tamasaburo asked us all to submit ideas and compositions for consideration on the theme of ‘mystery’. I had never composed anything before but submitted some pieces anyway and what do you know? They made the cut! It has really made me want to compose more in the future. I discovered that in order to create something that expresses yourself, you don’t have to over think it. However to make something really good I have a lot of studying to do.