On Our Travels
Hello, everyone. I hope you are all well.
In the past couple of years, Kodo has had more chances than usual to visit countries outside of Europe and North America. This year we gave performances in Vietnam, Brazil, and Korea. Last year we performed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Eastern Russia.
I visited three of these countries this year with Kodo:
- Brazil, just before the Olympic Games,
- Korea, which has a sense of distance from Japan these days that is not geographical,
- and Vietnam, whose considerable economic growth is being likened to that of our nation during its post-WW2 rapid economic growth period.
These concerts came about through rather challenging processes, unlike our established tours in Europe or North America, but the experiences we gained by spending quality time in these places with local people were all invaluable and rich. Above all, I was able to feel the power of performing arts and music, which bring people together for exchange that leads to mutual understanding.
While I am traveling, I have much more time to read books and articles than when I am at home on Sado Island. Some of my fellow Kodo members are also book lovers, so I often see people reading on the road as we travel from place to place. (Others listen to music, tap their drumsticks, watch performance videos, and so on.) Every day, I like to look through the newspaper, which is a habit I’ve somehow kept up since childhood.
On the road, one of the ways I enjoy my travels is by making a point of reading local newspapers and content related to the places we visit. This year I went to Brazil and Vietnam, so I read well-known travel journals by Kotaro Sawaki and Takeshi Kaiko. As I traveled from place to place, I wondered, “Is this the place he was talking about in his book?” If I have free time, going to a bookshop makes me feel refreshed. I am shocked to see that my bookshelves at home have suddenly become packed, but I think buying things that you like is a little investment in yourself. It enriches your soul. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself. When I buy and read books, I feel gratitude to everyone connected to their creation.
Less than two months remain in 2016 and we still have many places to visit on our travels.
As always, we will bring the “fruits” of our tours with us back to Sado Island, then set off again on further travels.
Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader
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.
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