Tag ‘Tamasaburo Bando’
Apr. 4, 2016
The Joyful Buds of Spring
It has just been announced that Kodo Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando has been awarded not only the Japan Art Academy Prize but also the Imperial Prize. We would like to express our sincere congratulations to Mr. Bando. All of Kodo is truly grateful for the extremely valuable time we continue to spend under his direction.
April on Sado Island is a season for festivals. Each village is practicing demon drumming (onidaiko) to prepare for their local festival, so we can hear the sound of taiko deep into the night all over the island. After a long winter, spring on Sado is colorful and beautiful. I hope you will come and see the great scenery and joyful buds and blooms for yourself during the upcoming “Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi” this Golden Week.
Kodo is spending this month and next focusing on rehearsals and creating new material for various programmes that we will present over the year ahead. We are working with our artistic director and a range of visiting guests on our 35th anniversary concerts as well as our next One Earth Tour productions, “Spiral” and “Yugen.” We look forward to sharing many new works with you, so I hope you will look forward to seeing them, too!
Last month I went to Brazil with Kodo on our first tour there in eight years. Having just hosted the Soccer World Cup in 2014 and with the upcoming Olympics, I was expecting Brazil to be brimming with energy, but the economic situation in Brazil is not favorable and their political world seems to be in turmoil with problems relating to the president and so on. Despite the challenging economic and political climate, we were greeted with boundless energy from our audiences and we were given many opportunities for exchange with samba teams and Japanese Brazilian communities, which were such precious, rare, invigorating experiences.
Brazilians are cheerful and big-hearted and I will never forget spending time with them, feeling the passionate heat at traditional samba meets, and the moments when the Kodo performers became one with our audiences. Also, I clearly remember the inquisitive nature of people in Brazil, demonstrated through all the questions about Kodo and the roots and significance of taiko during our many interviews and discussions. Brazilians live in a nation with a long history of immigration and I felt their strong interest in other cultures. This experience gave me a new opportunity to reflect on my own roots as well as my future path.
Brazil is 12 hours behind Japan and while we were there it was 20 to 30 degrees hotter. Giving performances on the other side of the world, I felt a unique heat that radiated from the passionate, energetic people we met there. As we left Brazil, we vowed to return there again.
Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble KODO
Opening Performance of New Production “Chaos”
After four years of ideas and creation, at long last we held the premiere of “Chaos.” The first performance here on Sado Island, where Kodo is based, precedes a nationwide tour with this new work. On Sado, there are many people who have watched Kodo for decades since the very beginning, so when we present new programmes here we are nervous to see if they will be accepting of our latest work. We set up in the theater, add lighting to the new production, and welcome its first audience. I have come to realize that as the performance begins, I find myself thinking about the next production as I watch it. I wonder how far we can broaden the scope of the Kodo group. When I think about the possibilities, I get excited and know I will lose sleep for days with that on my mind.
Kodo 35th Anniversary Production “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos”
Watch on YouTube▶https://youtu.be/qGCmnpbdRHo
Our next production directed by Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Chaos,” will premiere in November 2015.
This performance promises to share brand new forms of taiko music through a daring, liberating concept that incorporates drum kits and even taiko drums made from tires.
The debut tour will begin on Sado Island before visiting Fukui, Toyama, Niigata, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okayama, Aichi, Kanagawa, and Tokyo.
For further details, please visit our website.
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!
June 21, 2015
We have just finished our “DADAN 2015” concert series in Tokyo and now we are straight back into our “Eternity” tour around Japan.
“DADAN” is an explosive, pulsating, non-stop hard-hitting performance. “Eternity” is performed with control and fine attention to detail. These two performances are so different, and by performing both of them back to back, we can feel just how far our range of expression is broadening with time.
Tamasaburo Bando, our artistic director, said he wanted this production to express the workings of nature. Personally, I think that nature is inherently perfect and beautiful and, as a consequence, the “Eternity” performance is an extraordinarily beautiful production.
I want our audiences to enjoy just being in the same space as our performance. I want it to make them feel good. Please come along and experience the natural realm we create in “Eternity.”
“Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Eternity” Japan Tour (June–July, Sep.–Oct.)
[June–July] Kanagawa, Saitama, Gunma, Chiba, Osaka, Nagano, Kyoto, Ehime, Hiroshima
[Sep. Oct.] Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi, Yamagata, Iwate, Akita, Shizuoka, Aichi, Hyogo, Tottori, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kagoshima
May 2015 Osaka Shochiku-za Theatre, Osaka City
Photos: Takashi Okamoto
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Cast: Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo (Masaru Tsuji, Yuichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Yosuke Oda, Masayuki Sakamoto, Kenta Nakagome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Eri Uchida, Mariko Omi, Yosuke Kusa, Maya Minowa, Shogo Komatsuzaki, Akiko Ando, Yuta Sumiyoshi, Tetsumi Hanaoka, Kosuke Urushikubo, Jun Jidai, Koki Miura,Shunichiro Kamiya, Ryoma Tsurumi, Kengo Watanabe), former members of OSK Nippon Revue (Konoka Morino, Kokoro Kaai, Yui Suzumine, Kurara Miou)
*The role of Susano’o was performed by Yosuke Oda & Mitsuru Ishizuka as a double cast.
Special Appearance: Harei Aine (Former Takarazuka Revue male role star)
Kodo’s “DADAN 2015” performances in Asakusa begin on June 10! Join the all-male cast of thirteen powerhouse Kodo performers for a pulsating ninety minutes of non-stop action. We’re waiting for you all at Asakusa Public Hall!
“DADAN 2015” Rehearsals (At Kodo Village in April)
Photos: Takashi Okamoto
Director: Tamasaburo Bando
Performers: Yuichiro Funabashi, Mitsuru Ishizuka, Yosuke Oda, Masayuki Sakamoto, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Jun Jidai, Koki Miura, Shunichiro Kamiya, Ryoma Tsurumi, Kengo Watanabe, Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, Hayato Otsuka, Reo Kitabayashi
*Cast subject to change
Ticket Sales Update:
June 10 (Wed): SOLD OUT. Door sales will not be available.
June 13 (Sat), 14 (Sun): Advance ticket sales have concluded, doors sales TBC.
Door Sales Info: Door sales will not be available on June 10 (Wed). For all other performances, door sales are TBC. If available, tickets will be on sale at the venue from 30 mins. before doors open (1 hour before the performance starts).
Kodo “Eternity” Blu-ray & DVD Released Today!
Kodo “Eternity,” on Blu-ray & DVD, is on sale from today! We hope you’ll add a copy to your home theater collection. It’s exclusively available from Kodo Online Store and Kodo performance venues.
Recorded: Live at Bunkyo Civic Hall, Tokyo, Japan, on December 21 & 22, 2014.
Price: Blu-ray: 6,000 yen (tax inc.) / DVD: 5,000 yen (tax inc.)
Kodo Discography http://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/index_en.html
Kodo Online Store
“Eternity,” the Origin of Kodo and Taiko –Part 4–
Original Japanese Article by Koichi Imai (Freelance Writer) ● Photos by Takashi Okamoto
Accumulated Knowledge and Experience: Harnessing Knowledge Towards New Discoveries, Kodo Style
Kodo members not only harness the power and allure of the taiko, they find something new that transcends the taiko itself, and it is this indescribable experience that they share with the audience. That is a depiction of “eternity.” Once again, they revert to their purest selves as they face the taiko. After taking the time to analyze the taiko in all of its sounds and possibilities, they discard everything they know and start all over again in search of something new. In “Eternity,” the O-daiko (big drum), which used to be a requisite symbol of Kodo that typically marked the climax, never even appears on stage. But I do not find this the least bit strange. In its stead, various taiko conjure a wealth of other expressions, some of which do not sound like taiko at all. That is what makes a strong, tenacious taiko performance stand out and lets the performers move us. At the same time, I feel the amazing power of Kodo’s accumulated history, methodologies, experiences, and environment spanning over thirty years. One of the group’s challenges is also to find new meaning in these things.
“We have been trying all manner of things since Tamasaburo (Bando) became our artistic director, no matter what people said,” explains Masayuki Sakamoto. “I hope that people come to consider what we do as a whole as a ‘Kodo performance,’ not to label it as new or old. I hope that we can find our voice equally in traditional pieces as well as fields such as contemporary dance.”
“Eternity,” the Origin of Kodo and Taiko –Part 3–
Original Japanese Article by Koichi Imai (Freelance Writer) ● Photos by Takashi Okamoto
“What is Wadaiko?”: This Simple Question Opens Doors to New Possibilities
The second half of “Eternity” also started with the orin gong. This perhaps acts as a charm to transport the audience into another world. An ensemble of chappa (small cymbals) and bells are played at the opening. Four performers slip out of the ensemble to begin dancing in an arrangement that feels at once ancient and contemporary. They invite the audience to enter another dimension along with the mysterious melody of the chappa and gamelan (Indonesian percussive instruments).
Transported to another dimension, you encounter Takibi (composed by Yosuke Oda). It is a very unique piece, which will shatter your established ideas about taiko. Five performers trace the rims of the taiko with their drumsticks as they draw circles, tapping them as they go around. It is in using every element of the taiko like this that they are able to create sounds and rhythms beyond traditional taiko. At risk of being misunderstood, I would almost say I feel like I am at a “Stomp” performance, in which the players use brooms and metal drums as musical instruments. I can’t believe that I am listening to the taiko. It is well known that Stomp was heavily influenced by Kodo, and it is in this moment I understand that Kodo represents one of the top percussion performances in the world and the taiko has tremendous possibilities.
“When I thought of ‘eternity,’ I felt the need to travel backward in time,” explains Yosuke Oda. “Eternity spans not only into the future, but also the past. So I tried to imagine taiko before its present playing style was established and decided not to use common taiko rhythms. Some people today may say that what we are playing is not ‘taiko,’ but no one knows how the instrument was actually played in ancient times. The idea of ‘common’ taiko playing was made after a basic taiko style had been constructed.”
Oda arrived at this idea through his experiences in “Legend” and “Mystery,” once he had grasped what the Artistic Director, Tamasaburo Bando, was hoping to achieve. Tamasaburo’s ideas could be similar to those that he applies in Kabuki, not only as a traditional performance, but also as a modern form of expression. When Oda, who is a core figure in the Kodo ensemble, comes up with such a liberated idea, it is bound to have great influence on other members.