Rehearsals for Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri
We are enjoying the autumn sun here on Sado Island.
At Kodo Village, rehearsals are underway for the upcoming performances at Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri on Nov. 5 & 6 in Ise, Mie.
This annual event is a huge two-day taiko festival where groups from all over Japan gather to perform. Everyone spends the weekend enjoying a wide array of taiko performances. Admission is free, so please come along!
The Kodo cast for this event will be Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi, Tomohiro Mitome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Masaya Koike, and Koji Miyagi. (Yoshie Abe is rehearsing with them in this photo, but she won’t be performing at the event.)
“14th Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri”
Nov. 5 (Sat), 6 (Sun), 2016 Okage Yokocho Arcade in front of Ise Grand Shrine, Ise, Mie
Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul
On Oct. 2 we took part in an event in Korea called “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul.”
As the title of the event suggests, it was a fun day of cultural exchange with performances by artists from Japan and Korea. We were so happy to have the chance at this event to perform with Kim Duk Soo and SamulNori for Kodo’s first time in 16 years.
We prepared for this collaboration with only a few long-distance conversations, but when we rehearsed together the day before, it all came together in perfect unison.
It was a short but really fulfilling stay and experience!
Kodo Appearances at “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul”
Oct. 2 (Sun), 2016 Seoul, Republic of Korea
Oct. 29, 2015
Meet-the-Press Session for Hong Kong “DADAN 2015”
Our second day in Hong Kong began with preparations at the venue, and then we took part in a “Meet-the-Press” session this afternoon.
Our performance tomorrow will be Kodo’s first one in Hong Kong since 1986. That’s 29 years ago!
The performers will all do their best on stage in the hopes that each audience member will feel the powerful energy of “DADAN” resonate throughout their entire body.
Kodo “DADAN 2015” Hong Kong Performances
Oct. 30 (Fri) & 31 (Sat), 2015 Sha Tin Town Hall, Hong Kong SAR, China
Oct. 23, 2015
It’s a beautiful autumn day here on Sado Island! Today a group of us set off from Sado to head to Ehime where we will perform at the Ehime Prefecture Cultural Festival.
Sado’s toki (crested ibis) mascot Saddoki saw us off at the port. Saddoki is so cute with his round body and flapping wings.
Ehime, see you soon! We’re on our way!
Kodo Appearance at the 2015 Ehime Prefecture Cultural Festival
Sep. 1, 2015
Hello everyone. I hope that you are all well.
This is Tomohiro Mitome, leader of taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo.
August was action-packed for all of us at Kodo with countless rehearsals, Earth Celebration (EC), and our local festival Ogi Minato Matsuri. This particular intensity tires us in different ways than we experience while we are on tour. But just by being on Sado, we are constantly being soothed by nature, so while it is hectic, it is also an important time for us to reset and refresh ourselves before our fall tours.
In early August, we had rehearsals for our upcoming production, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Chaos,” that will premiere in November. We are receiving advice from drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara as we create this work with our artistic director, Tamasaburo Bando.
From mid-August, we moved into our rehearsals for Earth Celebration, where we have three Shiroyama Concert performances over three days. We welcomed Leonard Eto (Leo) to Kodo Village to rehearse for the Day 2 performance, “Honeymoon,” and the Day 3 finale, “Shukusai / Celebration.” Leo also helped us prepare for our collaboration with Balinese guest artist Suar Agung, worked with the Kodo members to create new music, and even taught the younger Kodo members about all kinds of things on their days off. The Kodo members learned a lot and were so motivated by Leo every day. Leo was a Kodo member in the early days of Earth Celebration and he composed the iconic Kodo pieces Zoku and Irodori, so it was a precious chance for all our members to hear his thoughts on EC, the background behind those pieces, and to talk to him about the groove, stage set up, and ways of arranging those pieces on stage. It was an intense, fruitful time for all involved.
Incidently, it is undeniable that Leo is the person who made playing katsugi okedo-daiko so popular. He is also the reason that playing hirado-daiko became so popular.
On the first day of EC, which was rainy, we gave an all-Kodo performance directed by Tsuyoshi Maeda, entitled “Kodo Night.” It is rare for thirty-three of us to appear on stage together and something that is only possible once a year here on Sado Island.
On the second night, we performed a concert called “Honeymoon,” directed by Leonard Eto. The first half featured Jegog ensemble Suar Agung and the second half was performed by Leonard Eto with Kodo. Suar Agung play bamboo instruments, cymbals, and drums, and the sounds they create really suit the natural outdoor setting of Shiroyama Park.
For me, the second half was a programme that brought back great memories of Leo’s artistic direction. How we set the scene on stage, the solos, ensemble pieces, and taiko, taiko, and more taiko. The programme really grabbed the audience and drew them in, as did Leo in his red Kodo coat!
The final concert, “Shukusai / Celebration,” was directed by Mitsuru Ishizuka. All three artists came together for an energetic, electric finale.
It had been a few years since we last welcomed a guest artist from overseas to the Shiroyama stage, so it was the first time for many of our youngers members to experience an international collaboration. It was such a great chance for us all to experience these collaborations together, to get caught up in a whirlpool of sound, and stimulated in new ways. Thank you very much to everyone who joined us at EC for these concerts!
This year marked the end of an era for Earth Celebration, which will no longer be centred around concerts at Shiroyama Park. However, EC will continue and next year’s festival will take place from Aug. 26 through 28, 2016. Details about the new look EC will be announced in May 2016. In 2017, Earth Celebration will celebrate its 30th anniversary, so we are already looking forward to celebrating that milestone with everyone.
At the end of August, on the 29th, we took part in our local festival, Ogi Minato Matsuri. As a festival taiko group, we pulled a taiko cart around the streets of Ogi, going from door to door playing taiko to show our appreciation to the town and all its people. It’s a special occasion where we get to take part in a local festival and various performing arts as locals.
From September, the “Eternity” tour and the “School Workshop/Interactive Performance” tour are back on the road and touring throughout Japan. Here on Sado, we are preparing for the Special Performances in Shukunegi centered around our distinguished members, which will be held Sep. 19–22.
See you all somewhere soon!
Hello to all our supporters! It’s been a while since I posted on the Kodo Blog.
How are you all doing?
On Sado at night we can now hear crickets chirping as the season changes from summer to autumn. At the end of summer, we always enjoy taking part in our local town’s port festival, “Ogi Minato Matsuri.”
Ogi Minato Matsuri is a festival in Ogi Town, where Kodo is based, that features lion dances, portable shrines (mikoshi), folk songs and dances, festival drumming, Sado Onikenbai (demon sword dance), samba and more, all going from door to door throughout the town.
During this festival, you can see a side of Kodo that you don’t see when we perform on stage at theaters as we interact with all the locals. Next year, Ogi Minato Matsuri will take place straight after Earth Celebration for two days. Please come along!
I was captured by ninjas at Matsumoto Castle!
We performed at the Taiko Drum Festival at Matsumoto Castle and many of the elementary school children we met during our recent School Workshop Performances in Matsumoto came along to see us. It was so good to see them all again! We had a great time. Thank you very much, everyone in Matsumoto!
Kodo Guest Appearance at “The 28th Annual Taiko Drum Festival at Matsumoto Castle”
Aug. 29 Ogi Matsuri Daiko
Every year after Earth Celebration, the local festival “Ogi Matsuri” winds up the summer season.
During the festival, the Kodo members and apprentices take part by pulling a taiko cart around the streets of Ogi, going from house to house to play taiko as a sign of our appreciation to the townsfolk who look after us all year long.
Since I left the Kodo Village dormitory to live in Ogi, every year the Kodo cart also stops by my house to play taiko. As the thunderous roar of Kodo’s taiko gets closer and closer to my house, it makes my heart beat louder, and it’s a bit heartstopping, too… our sound certainly packs a punch!
In any case, our summer ended well again this year, thanks to everyone in Ogi. THANK YOU!!!
April 1st, Sado’s Festival Season is About to Begin!
First up is the village of Suginoura in Akadomari. Lucky them, they were blessed with great weather for their festival this year! The indigo blue sea is right in front of you when you are in their village and you can almost feel the sea in your body just by standing there.