Tag ‘Solo/Small-Group Projects’
On Stage in “RESONANCE 2014” (Roppongi, Tokyo)
Taking part in this performance was a dream of mine and it finally came true! “Resonance” is an ongoing music & art series directed by former Kodo member Kaoru Watanabe, with artwork and production by TokyoDex. I was really looking forward to joining an array of artists on stage for this unique performance, including a number of former Kodo members who have been truly flourishing as solo artists, and I was also wondering how to show my own true colors as an artist in this challenging “arena.”
The packed venue in Roppongi felt like a whirlpool of passionate energy. The performance was a glorious one-night-only battle of flair, inspiration and improvisation. It was also a chance for me to encounter a new version of myself.
Photos: Maiko Miyagawa
Chieko Kojima Appearance in “RESONANCE 2014”
I performed at “With World-Renowned Kodo: Sado, Island of Performing Arts” on Sado Island. This is a special performance series for tourists who come and stay on Sado.
For our programme, it was a cast of veteran performers with the exception of me, so I felt even more tense more than usual. As soon as our rehearsals began, I did my best to grit my teeth and try keep up with them, letting the sound of each beat they drummed echo into my core. These performances really made me think about putting my heart and soul into my sound to convey my feelings to the audience.
This performance also featured wonderful traditional Sado performing arts such as Ondeko (demon drumming and dance) Sado Okesa (folk song and dance), so I think the audience enjoyed this varied concert, which showed another side to Kodo from our usual performances.
Sep. 19 Kodo Special Ensemble Performance at Maestro Trip Around Chiba Vol. 4: Japanese Traditional Taiko
Eight of us appeared in a “Kodo Special Ensemble Performance” in Chiba. Part One was a talk by Eiichi Saito about Monochrome, a piece by modern music maestro Maki Ishii (d. 2003) composed for Japanese taiko drums that is renowned as an iconic feature of the Kodo repertoire. Part Two was a mini concert by Kodo.
It was my very first time to perform Monochrome for an audience.
I still have a lot to learn, but I was so happy to play this piece with some of Kodo’s veteran members.
Sep. 13 Chieko Kojima Solo Performance
“Yukiai” at Go no Kai – Michinoku e
In 2013, Chieko Kojima took part in a “Gonokai” five-artist performance event at Sakaguchi Memorial Museum in Niigata. This year, that popular performance unit will take the stage at Nanshoso in Morioka, Iwate.
This will be the first “Yukiai” performance in Northern Honshu. If you are in the area or fancy a trip up north, please come along!
We are waiting for you!
All the Kodo members are working very hard, preparing for Earth Celebration. So am I! I’m in the middle of rehearsals for the opening night performance!
But, I would like to take a moment now to let you all know about my upcoming activities.
“Yamazu Megurumo” Concerts
I am going to perform with local bluegrass musicians on Sado Island for the first time.
Their amazing sound and technique will create a new world for all the pieces on my CD “Yamazu Megurumo.” As the vocals entwine with their music, the songs will take on different colors and expressions. I will also add some other folksongs to the set list and I am going to have a really good time with their music!
Also, this will be the first time for me to have a chorus accompaniment at one of my concerts. I am planning a fun performance for you all, with lots of “firsts” and things I like, so please come along!
Yoko Fujimoto “Yamazu Megurumo” Concerts
Sep. 20 (Sat), 2014 Hotel Azuma, Aikawa, Sado Island, Niigata
Sep. 23 (Tue), 2014 Cafe Hitoha, Sawata, Sado Island, Niigata
Kodo Online Store [CD] Yoko Fujimoto “Yamazu Megurumo”
Appearance at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten”
On August 10, Motofumi and I performed at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten” at Tottori Civic Hall. A typhoon had just passed by, but fortunately there wasn’t much rain and wind so the event went ahead as planned.
We took part as guest artists alongside nine taiko groups from Eastern Tottori and one taiko group from Osaka.
The performance ended with a fun collaboration where all the performers sang and played a famous Japanese song, “Furusato,” and a local folk song,”Kinanse-bushi” together. This was accompanied by one of Tottori’s traditional performing arts, “Kasa Odori,” an umbrella dance, which made for an exciting finale.
The audience was smaller than expected due to the typhoon, but performances were really amazing. I saw the first-half of the event from a seat in the audience and I felt a great connection between the audience and the stage. What’s more, it reminded me that it is not just taiko technique that moves people, but that simplicity is also key.
I would like to send a round of applause to all the performers and staff at “Inaba Wasaiko no Saiten.” Thank you for giving us the chance to appear at your event as guest artists.
The day before the event, I led a taiko and shinobue (bamboo flute) workshop. I was happy to receive this gift: my very own Kasa Odori,/span> umbrella. We took a commemorative photograph with Mr. Murakami, the director of the hall (left) and Mr. Misawa (2nd person from the right) from Oshu Taiko.
Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi Guest Appearance at “Inaba Wadaiko no Saiten”
Performance at “Hakusan-maru Matsuri” Eve Festival
The “Hakusan-maru,” a large gallant ship from the final years of the Edo Era, is resident at the Sado Ogi Folk Museum in Shukunegi on Sado Island.
On July 26, Kodo gave a performance on the eve of the annual festival held in its honor, “Hakusan-maru Matsuri,” right in front of the ship! Isn’t she grand?
Thank you very much to everyone who came along!
July 26, 2014
Rehearsals for Sado Festival “Kozan Matsuri”
Today it is so sunny here on Sado Island. We’re in the middle of our rehearsals for tomorrow’s performance at festival “Kozan Matsuri,” trying to compete with the sun in terms of energy!
It’s one of our limited number of chances a year for people on Sado Island to see us perform, so we drum and drum, dripping with sweat in the summer heat, in preparation for the concert without caring at all about the blisters on our hands!
Please come along to see us tomorrow in Aikawa!
Performance at Kozan Matsuri 2014 on Sado Island
On July 27, Kodo performed at Sado’s annual summer festival “Kozan Matsuri.” Usually we appear in an event featuring just Kodo followed by fireworks, but this year Negicco, Chie Ayado, and Kiyotaka Sugiyama also made appearances.
Kodo’s performance took place at Aikawa Gymnasium in front of a large audience of around 1,500 people.
Due to unstable weather conditions, the fireworks display was postponed until the next day, but the festival crowd was suitably enlivened by the “explosion” of taiko beats and the confetti that burst out from Mariko Omi’s fans.
Hanayui Hawaii Tour
I visited Hawaii with the “Hanayui Hawaii Tour”!
On May 31, we were reunited with Faye Komagata and her husband at the theater in Honolulu. We’ve been friends since the early days of Kodo.
On June 2, I left the 3 girls (Chieko, Yoko & Mitsue) and went to Hawaii Island by myself. There, I taught taiko workshops from 5pm on June 2 and 3.
I stayed at James McCully’s house. He runs an orchid nursery, so he showed me around inside. I played the music for demon sword dance Onikenbai on my bamboo flute.
I also enjoyed sightseeing around Hawaii Island with the young members of Puna Taiko.
With Kenny & Chizuko Endo at the airport. They looked after us for our performance and workshops in Honolulu.
On June 4, I joined the three Hanayui girls on Maui Island as planned. We performed with the children of Zenshin Daiko and we gave a workshop there, too. Everyone had a lot of fun and did their best!
Macadamia nut fields as far as the eye can see
Now I am back in Japan and later this month I am going to perform with Kazuaki Tomita in our “Fujimotomida” Concert.” I will do my best. I hope to see you all at the theater.
Yoshikazu Fujimoto will join Kazuaki Tomida of Uchigumi for their first ever two-man taiko performance. They first met 37 years ago when Tomida joined Kodo’s antecedent group “Sado no Kuni Ondekoza” and it was Fujimoto who helped with his initiation, teaching him the basics of taiko. Don’t miss this special chance to see them perform together!
June 20 (Fri), 21 (Sat), 22 (Sun), 2014
Tiara Koto Sho-Hall, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Appearing: Yoshikazu Fujimoto (Kodo), Kazuaki Tomida (Uchigumi)
Doors Open:30 mins. before each performance.
Start: June 20 (Fri) 19:00 June 21 (Sat) 17:00 June 22 (Sun) 15:00
Ticket Outlet: Tiara Koto Ticket Service Tel. 03-5624-3333