Tag ‘Kodo One Earth Tour’
New Release: Kodo “Kaden”
Our new album “Kaden” will be released on Dec. 21 (Wed).
“Kaden” features nine original compositions that were created especially for our four recent “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions directed by Tamasaburo Bando: Legend, Mystery, Eternity, and Chaos. In September, we captured the tracks in the latest high-resolution audio at Sony Music Studios Tokyo.
Each piece was honed on stage through numerous performances, then carefully recorded as a unique work in its own right. Each and every instrument shines with clarity thanks to the studio recording and new high-resolution sound. We look forward to sharing this album with you all.
Kodo Discography | Kaden
Kodo “Kaden” will be on sale from Dec. 21 at Kodo performance venues in Japan and Kodo Online Store.
Artist Name: Kodo
4. Toki no Ma
6. Yogiri – Asayake Gumo
9. Kei Kei
Recorded: Studio recording at Sony Music Studios, Sep. 2016.
Release Date: Dec. 21, 2016
Price: 3,240 yen (tax inc.)
Media Type(s): CD, digital download, audio streaming
Product Code: OD-018
Sales Agency: Otodaiku
Karuizawa Ohga Hall
On Saturday, we performed at Karuizawa Ohga Hall in Nagano Prefecture.
The hall is a pentagonal shape, which was apparently designed and calculated for the echo of sound inside. It is a wonderful venue.
The reverberations of our taiko were great, as was the weather in Karuizawa, so the combination of the location and day made for a really feel-good performance.
Tonight we have a performance in Iruma, Saitama.
2016 Japan Tour Schedule
Dec. 14 (Wed), 2016 Fukuoka Performance
Dec. 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 2016 Osaka Performances
Dec. 21 (Wed)–25 (Sun), 2016 Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” – An Overview
Over the past three years, the “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions “Mystery” (2013), “Eternity” (2014), and “Chaos” (2015) have intentionally excluded the most iconic symbol of the ensemble: the o-daiko, or big drum. Instead, these past three years of performances have presented Kodo’s next generation performing new compositions — a telling sign of the group’s determination to move forward. The latest production, “Spiral,” begins by taking a look back at the innovative repertoire composed under the guidance of Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando between 2009 and 2013.
The programme starts with a rousing piece, Kei Kei. The full cast takes to the stage playing taiko that are slung from their shoulders, thereby allowing the performers mobility amongst the reverberations. This captivating variation of the okedo-daiko (barrel drum) is further showcased in Phobos (2009), Mute (2013), and Kusa-wake (2013).
In Spiral, the performers are dressed in either all black or all white, their sleeveless costumes timeless and universal, sleek and subtle. The form-fitting outfits do not belong to any one culture. This allows today’s Kodo ensemble to freely express its sound without being culturally bound by their former stage attire: the Japanese knotted headband and workman’s coat, and the loincloth traditionally worn by each of Kodo’s big drum soloists.
After its hiatus in recent One Earth Tour productions, the monolithic o-daiko returns to the stage in Spiral. In this performance, the drum appears in the programme under the familiar title: O-daiko. The name “O-daiko” has been honored by Kodo since 1975, when the mighty drum first appeared in the programmes of Kodo’s antecedent group, known as Ondekoza. The taiko remains the same, but this next generation of drummers delivers a dynamic new style of performance. There is no drum cart with lanterns, no loincloths, and no cymbals or flutes. Instead, the massive instrument is flanked by its Western counterparts the timpani and bass drum, which Kodo uses to conjure deep and powerful cadences. This rhythmic universe promises to stir an audience to its very core.
The first act ends with Kodo’s timeless signature piece, Monochrome (1977). Intricately crafted by modern composer Maki Ishii, Monochrome is a thorough investigation of the tonal range of the shime-daiko, a high-pitched roped drum. This piece contrasts the simple yet wild nature of taiko performance, which is emblematic of Kodo’s direction today, as its next generation forges forward using a balance of raw power and honed skills.
The second act commences with Color (2009), which utilizes the same roped drums of Monochrome, but in a completely different way. The performers put down their drumsticks and experiment with different percussive sounds. They tap the drums with their fingernails. They rub the drums with their hands, and they throw clusters of jingling bells onto the skins of the drums. Humor reveals itself in their onstage interactions as they rhythmically hum, sigh and shout to the beat. After the entrancing intensity of Monochrome, this light-hearted approach comes as a welcome relief.
For the next piece, the stage darkens for the beautiful and captivating Ake no Myojo (2012). Female performers in flowing black skirts take to the stage to drum, sing, and dance as they spin in a perpetual state of sound and motion. Afterwards, the melodic bamboo flutes in Yuyami (2013) create an indescribable sense of nostalgia, which leads directly into the brand new piece, Ayaori (2016). An exploration of the myriad sounds of the odeko-daiko, Ayaori utilizes the performers’ dexterity and a range of drumsticks to conjure sharp and rich tones while deftly weaving them into a coherent whole.
The finale arrives as the title piece, Rasen, which means “spiral.” Rasen features eight performers, the main soloist playing a large flat hirado drum. Surrounding him are seven performers on nagado (long) taiko, okedo (barrel) taiko, and timpani. This powerful octet produces rhythms of complexity and precision while revealing the rich variety of drumming techniques that Kodo has discovered during its evolution. To compose Rasen, Tamasaburo Bando brought a range of Kodo performers into the creative process. Fresh newcomers joined young up-and-coming performers and core soloists, as well as veterans whose careers span some three generations with Kodo.
As the title suggests, Rasen is a whirling helix depicting the evolution of Kodo through its decades of rich history. Phrases from exemplary pieces such as Yatai-bayashi (1973), Miyake (1982), and Tomoe (2003) transport the audience from era to era. It’s a soaring journey through Kodo’s past and into its future. As the strong winds of change blow through the ensemble, this climactic finale shows Kodo’s unwavering footing. The ensemble fully acknowledges its thirty-five year history — all while clearly proclaiming its intention to look to the future.
When Tamasaburo Bando assumed the role of Kodo artistic director in 2012, he vowed to raise the artistry of taiko performing arts. The Spiral programme boldly demonstrates that his goal and his vision have manifested themselves in full.
2016 Japan Tour Schedule
Dec. 14 (Wed), 2016 Fukuoka Performance
Dec. 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 2016 Osaka Performances
Dec. 21 (Wed)–25 (Sun), 2016 Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
A Visit to Shiretoko Goko Lakes
I visited Shiretoko Goko Lakes the day before our “Spiral” performance in Abashiri, Hokkaido.
Surrounded by nature, the peace and quiet there felt so good.
Luckily, I didn’t encounter any bears!
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” Performance Details
Oct. 5, 2016
Hello, everyone. I hope you are all well.
The rice harvest has nearly finished here on Sado Island and the crops are drying on racks. We look forward to tasting the newly harvested rice very soon. One of the luxurious perks of living in a rural area is eating locally grown rice, and I have to say that Sado Island has particularly delicious rice!
Our “Spiral” and “Interactive Performance” tours are currently on the road in Japan. I encourage you to go along to experience these energetic performances at a venue near you. Both casts are largely made up of young performers. Everyday they work so hard to deliver better and better performances, so I am sure they will return to Sado Island even stronger after their efforts on these tours.
While the main tours have been on the road, I have been on Sado Island and performing in various places, too. Last weekend, I went to Korea with a select Kodo ensemble, which was Kodo’s first time there in 16 years. It was a whirlwind schedule, just three days and two nights, and we went there especially to perform with Kim Duk Soo and SamulNori at “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul.” It was inspiring to see so many Japanese and Korean artists performing in one place. At the end of the festival we all came together for an exciting, climatic finale.
Next I’m off to Vietnam for our debut performances there next week. This will be the 49th country where Kodo has given performances. We look forward to being reunited with EC 2016 guest artists Bac Ha and the other friends we made during our visit in February this year. We will perform at a music festival in Vietnam and we look forward to new encounters and further cultural exchange.
Our trip to Vietnam promises to be a great opportunity to learn more about the history and background of local musicians and our recent collaborators, as we found out last year after Earth Celebration when Kodo visited Suar Agung in Bali, Indonesia. It will give us all a chance to deepen our mutual understanding. In a few years time, perhaps we can invite guests from various countries back to EC on Sado Island for further collaborations, too.
Kodo tours regularly throughout, Europe and North America, but in recent years we are also enjoying the increasing number of opportunities that arise for us to perform on other continents, too. In the past year, with our performances in Hong Kong, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, and next in Vietnam, we are traveling to new places and drawing on new inspiration. I am sure this will lead to each member, and our entire group, creating broader, deeper forms of music and expression, which we look forward to sharing with you all.
At Summer’s End
Here on Sado Island, the late-August Ogi Port Festival signals the end of summer each year.
In August this year, we accomplished two great feats. At our 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts, we performed three diverse programmes over three consecutive days at Suntory Hall under the direction of Tamasaburo Bando. The wonderful acoustics of Suntory Hall echoed with the sounds of taiko and orchestra, while dynamic music and dance filled the hall with electric energy.
The performances commemorated Kodo’s 35 years of history, and also the past sixteen years spent working under the passionate guidance of Tamasaburo Bando. These performances were also a fitting “first step” into the future for Kodo.
The week after our celebrations at Suntory Hall, our annual festival “Earth Celebration” took on a brand new challenge by shifting its focus to Sado Island as a whole. Thanks to the support of many people, the festival was able to offer a wide array of events and activities all over Sado.
This year EC did not feature its symbolic Shiroyama Concerts. Instead, with events such as Kodo Village Concert (directed by Kenta Nakagome), EC Theatre (directed by Masayuki Sakamoto & Mitsuru Ishizuka), and Kodo Fringe Performances (led by Eri Uchida, Yosuke Kusa, & Yuta Sumiyoshi), this year the Kodo members were able to spend more time wholeheartedly enjoying the festival with people from Sado and afar, with more freedom for spontaneity and experimentation than we have had in recent years.
With great changes come a lot of hurdles, but I felt each Kodo member make the most of their unique talents to rise to this new challenge, and new buds of creativity certainly bloomed. I felt growth as the festival expanded to encompass the whole island for this summer celebration of the earth.
Both the Suntory Hall concerts & Earth Celebration took a great deal of time and hard work from rehearsals through to the actual events, and the look of fulfilment on the performers’ faces was a sign that they had all gained so much from these experiences, as did I. Kodo currently has time for rehearsals, a place to rehearse, and range of instruments to seek the sound we want to create. For us as performers, these conditions are irreplaceable assets. I think we owe this wonderful environment to everyone who has lent Kodo their support and guidance to date, to our audience, and to our staff. We are grateful to you all.
Without a moment to rest, the Interactive Tour and Kodo One Earth Tour “Spiral” have already set off on the road in Japan. We have small ensemble and solo projects underway, too, which like our tours will take the many things we gained through our experiences this summer on the road and pour them into our sound. We also look forward to bringing the new experiences we gain around Japan and abroad over the next months back home with us.
Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader
Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral
Sep. 1, 2016
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” Tour Sets Off!
This morning, it felt like autumn weather had arrived as we set off on our Japan tour with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Spiral,” given a farewell taiko serenade by some of the members remaining on Sado.
We look forward to seeing you all at theaters all over Japan soon!
Performances in Tama, Tokyo (Sep. 17 & 18)
After Earth Celebration and Ogi Minato Matsuri, today the cast of new production “Spiral” had their final pre-tour run-through rehearsal. The first domestic tour of this work is about to begin!
“Spiral” premiered at Suntory Hall on Aug. 19 as one of Kodo’s 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts. Next, we look forward to sharing this performance with audiences in 36 cities nationwide from September through December. Please come along to see us at a theater somewhere soon!
“Spiral” Premiere at Suntory Hall (Photos: Takashi Okamoto)
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” Japan Tour
Aug. 8, 2016
We are rehearsing for our new production, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Spiral” at Kodo Village. The programme weaves both classic Kodo pieces and brand new pieces together. I think our audiences will really enjoy this performance.
One of my favorite pieces is “Yuyami,” which almost drifts through a dark landscape on stage.
I look forward to seeing you all at Suntory Hall for the premiere of “Spiral” on Aug. 19.
“Spiral” will tour throughout Japan from Sep. through Dec. this year, so I am also excited to share this programme all over Japan soon!
Kodo 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts
The next generation of Kodo will take a bold step forward into new frontiers with three mid-summer night concerts in Tokyo.
*Tickets on sale now for Aug. 18 & 19.
*Aug. 20 performance is SOLD OUT
*Commemorative Concert Sponsors: Suntory Beer Limited, Onkyo & Pioneer Innovations Corporation, POLA INC.
For ticket orders in English, call Ticket Space Tel. 03-3234-9999 (Mon–Sat 10:00–12:00, 13:00–18:00)
Aug. 18 (Thu) First Night ‒Deai‒ (Encounters)
Featuring: Kodo, New Japan Philharmonic
Conductor: Tatsuya Shimono
Aug. 19 (Fri) Second Night ‒Spiral‒
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Aug. 20 (Sat) Third Night ‒Hisho‒ (Soaring) <<SOLD OUT>>
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Featuring: Kodo with guest artists Blue Tokyo & Dazzle
Preview on YouTube https://youtu.be/
Only three weeks remain on our current “Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Chaos” Japan Tour. This production is a rather experimental performance and I have heard a range of feedback, both positive and negative. So, while it is towards the end of the tour, I thought I would take the time to talk about my feelings towards “Chaos” and share them with you all.
I play the drums, a Western drum kit, in this performance. Do you think I wanted to play the drums?
Well, honestly, I was really reluctant about it! (lol)
I am not sure whether reluctant is the right choice of word, but anyway, from the beginning I had this constant feeling of “We are taiko players, so why are we playing the drums?” That feeling got in my way and it stopped me from getting into our drum rehearsals properly. I was wondering if I should be playing the drums at all and I had a kind of restlessness that wouldn’t go away.
We learned to play the drums little by little, starting our practice about three years before the premiere of “Chaos.” But it took ages for me to be able to feel like, “OK! Let’s do this!” and to really put my all into it.
The biggest change in how I felt came one day during our drum practise. I think it was about six months before “Chaos” premiered. Yosuke Oda, Masayuki Sakamoto and I were side by side pounding the drums furiously. Drummer Tetsuya Kajiwara was yelling out the count for us, “One! Two! Three! Four!,” and we just kept on beating the drums with all our might. The sweat poured off us. We lost ourselves in the drums, just pummelling them relentlessly.
Then, that night after the practice, I noticed for the first time that the air in the rehearsal hall felt the same as when we have been practicing Yatai-bayashi non-stop, which is a traditional Japanese festival taiko piece as well as an iconic Kodo stage piece. It’s also the first thing that all Kodo apprentices learn to play during their training.
After we play Yatai-bayashi non-stop, a faint ringing lingers in our ears and a slight heat and smell of sweat lingers in the air.
When I noticed that sense, I thought: “It’s the same…”
The act of pounding something furiously. Perhaps it is the hunting instinct that lies deep within all human beings. When we face the taiko drum, that overwhelming primal urge to pound it arises from deep inside. It’s not an emotion like anger, it’s an instinct. It’s like a roar within you.
The feeling of your soul stirring and trembling.
At last, I felt that sense, that roar, when I was playing the drums. That roar that emerges when I play taiko.
I am Japanese, I am a taiko player, but this sense is deeper than that. It is part of my identity as a human being.
Well, I’m not really sure which words I should use to express what I’m feeling, but I can say that I felt this sensation intuitively.
So, getting back to the topic, some people see “Chaos” and say, “Why don’t you just play taiko?” Actually, I have always played taiko thinking that it was the right instrument for me.
I think everyone has a set idea about what taiko is, or should be. Not only taiko players, but also our audiences have a set idea about what they expect when they hear the word “taiko.” Taiko is an instrument created by using the trunk of a tree that is centuries old and covering it with animal hides. So it has a lot of life force and history within it. Whether it is on the surface or otherwise, as I said, the person who beats it will feel their soul stir. But I think most people take that for granted and don’t really give it a second thought most of the time.
So for us, beating an instrument for this performance that is not a Japanese taiko drum has led to many new realizations… and questions like these:
If we pound drums with plastic heads… can we convey the same soul stirring roar? Can we move people with our drumming, without the power of our taiko drums?
I think it would be great if we could do the same thing a puppeteer does on stage.
You may look at a puppeteer and think: Why do you use a puppet? You are a human, and humans can express many different emotions and move so fluidly. So you could express yourself better without the puppet.
But by expressing yourself through a puppet, something that is lifeless and inorganic, you are pushed to tap into the essence of your expression to make the puppet come to life so you can convey your intentions to the audience.
So I hope we can do the same thing using drums instead of taiko for this performance. By pounding the drums instead of taiko, I hope that we can tap into the soul and “roar” behind our drumming. I hope that it will become even more apparent to our audiences.
Of course, it’s not all about pummeling the drums like a maniac. By learning to play the drums and practicing hard, I have learned many new things related to music and technique that I would not have felt or discovered if I had continued to only play taiko.
When I perform on stage in “Chaos,” I try to put all these feelings, and everything I have learned through this production, into each performance.
We still have a few performances left on this tour and I really hope you will come along to see this production live on stage. I hope we can stir something deep within our audiences with our drumming, regardless of the instrument.