Tag ‘Yoko Fujimoto’
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”
On Aug. 12, there was a rehearsal for the Shiroyama Concert on the opening night of Earth Celebration, “UMI / OCEAN.” All the Kodo Distinguished Members will join the cast for the performance, too. Did somebody say something about a surprise piece…?!
The cast for “UMI / OCEAN” is all 32 Kodo performers, ranging from the Distinguished Members through to the junior members. It will be the first time for this cast to perform ALL together. Please join us!
From July 2014 Issue of Monthly Japanese Newsletter “Kodo”
Last March, Yoko and I visited Mr. Shigeki Hatakeyama on Sado, who taught us mat (floor) exercises during the early days of Ondekoza. Last year, his wife passed away, so Yoko asked me to go with her to light incense and offer a prayer for Mrs. Hatakeyama.
This couple always came to see our annual December performances on Sado Island together. When we visited their home for the first time, it was like a little art gallery. Their house is an old Japanese-style home, which was remodeled to make the most of the traditional style, and they have decorated it with a variety of artworks, creating a special harmony with both old and new pieces.
From the left: Yoko Fujimoto, Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Mr. Shigeki Hatakeyama
Mr. Hatakeyama was born in 1944 and turned 70 years old this year. He was a high school P.E. teacher in the seventies when he taught us. Ever since, he has made and sent a wonderful new-year card to Kodo every year. We found out he had made these with his wife. She was a also teacher, who taught Home Economics at Sado Girls’ High. After losing his beloved wife, Mr. Hatakeyama decided he had to make the art gallery that they had been thinking of opening together in the barn in front of their house. They wanted it to be a place for friends to come together. So he has been working away, establishing it with help from his friends.
In his gallery, there are some works created by Yoko and I on display. Some were made using my old bachi (drumsticks) and another piece is a picture on a large white panel, which Mr. Hatakeyama adorned with a tri-color decoration. So, this piece is a collaborative work created by the three of us. The name of this gallery is “Asa and Asa.”
Tomohiro Mitome, Kodo Ensemble Leader
Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Deputy Ensemble Leader
Yoshikazu Fujimoto (Distinguished Member)
Chieko Kojima (Distinguished Member)
Yoko Fujimoto (Distinguished Member)
Motofumi Yamaguchi (Distinguished Member)
Argentina is the furtherest country from Japan. The time there is the total opposite from day & night in Japan. There are many Japanese-Argentinean people due to its history of immigrants from Japan, and they uphold Japanese culture there with great care. We met people who love Japanese taiko, who make taiko by hand, who formed taiko groups and, of course, who play taiko. They all started playing taiko without any teachers. I was very impressed by their attitude towards taiko.
CD “Yamazu Megurumo”
An Interview with Yoko Fujimoto by Johnny Wales
On March 3rd Yoko Fujimoto released her 2nd solo album ‘Yamazu Megurumo’ (Circle of Life) with Otodaiku. You can order her CD at the Kodo Online Store.
The seed for this project was when my mother in Tokyo became ill and I wondered what I could best do for her living so far away. Well, for me, that is singing. So that’s how it began, a private thing for mum.
I began to think about how life is one long continuous line from time immemorial to now. And relationships – just when you think one might be over – What?! It’s started up again! The ties that bind are re-tied. I wanted to express in song how extraordinary a thing life is, how it renews itself, carrying on in a never-ending cycle. I will be happy if – in some small way – these songs serve as a comfort and encouragement to people who hear them. Incidentally, mum is much better now.
I saw a wonderful Italian movie, “L’uomo che verrà” (The Man Who Will Come) in which an 8 year old girl and her newborn brother are left alone in a mountain village in Italy during the war. Her other little brother had died in her arms the year before and from that shock she lost her ability to speak. She resolves to do anything and everything she can to protect him. The movie ends with her finding her voice by breaking into a lullaby to her little brother. Even this tiny, seemingly powerless girl found the strength to carry on the line of life. And so it has ever been. This power that has allowed our race to continue to this day. So I wrote a poem about that. Then I learned the traditional Italian lullaby from the movie and began singing it.
As it happened last year was a very confusing time for me, there were so many changes in my life. I was even thinking about quitting singing for good. A close friend said to me, ‘Stop being confused! You have been blessed with the chance to sing with Kodo for 30 years, stop whining!’ She opened my eyes. I showed her my poem. She said, ‘You should do this! Make this into a song!’. That friend who helped is an abstract painter. I wanted to use one of her paintings on the CD cover. She asked me the name of the CD project and I told her, ‘Circle of Life’ and she said, ‘Wait there!’ and disappeared into another room. She reappeared with a smallish painting and said ‘This is my favourite painting! And its called ‘Circle of Life’ (Meguru Inochi). That settled it.
I first recorded the songs with no accompaniment and sent them to Shunsuke Kimura who laid down the accompaniment. He played fue (bamboo flute) and some Japanese percussion, and added other musicians on Tsugaru shamisen, wadaiko, 13 and 17 string kotos, world music percussion and violin. ▶ read more
The Yura River that runs below our house in Wachi is a beautiful green, clean stream. But Yoshikazu Fujimoto says that it was remarkably more beautiful before they built dams on it.
Here’s some stories from our life in Wachi from late January onwards.
Yoshikazu always walks for an hour everyday along the road around the mountain by the river. Recently, I’ve been walking there everyday for 50 minutes. Yoshikazu sees monkeys almost everyday. I haven’t encountered any yet. Apparently they make fun of females and do bad things to them, so I don’t want to meet any!
The runner in this photo isn’t a monkey.
Sometimes when he sees one on the road, he greets them by saying hello or hey there.
Cradled by the rich sounds of musician and producer Derek Nakamoto, this collection of lullabies is an endless flow of gentle, clear, echoing melodies. Though sung in Japanese, these songs transcend borders through a universal language of heartfelt emotion.
To purchase this album, please click one of the links below:
- For orders in Japan only Kodo Online Store (In Japanese) http://www.kodo.or.
- For international orders CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/
- On iTunes https://itunes.apple.
Yoko’s second solo album is about to go on sale (March 3), but if you haven’t got your copy of her solo debut album, why not order it now?
Have a listen to all the tracks here: http://www.otodaiku.co.jp/
Watch interviews with Yoko about each song here: (in Japanese) http://www.otodaiku.co.jp/
Kodo Online Store
Yoko Fujimoto Concert
Terakoya Tasuku Bunko 10th Anniversary “Hana no Utena no Sado Jowa”
Mr. and Mrs. Yamamoto, who have been supporters of Kodo for a long time, invited me to give a performance to celebrate the anniversary for their private library, “Terakoya Tasuku.” I will share a nostalgic, enjoyable, fun, bittersweet and mysterious world of songs with everyone who attends. Please join us!
Now, it’s almost spring. I am trying to arrange my schedule to perform in many places, starting from this venue.
I look forward to seeing you on Sado or somewhere else soon, so I’m planning various opportunities to sing, with excited vigor at times and soothing tones at others.
April 26 (Sat), 2014 Start: 15:00
Terakoya Tasuku Bunko, Sado Island, Niigata
Performance Details: http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20140426yoko_ja.html
Yoko Fujimoto’s second solo CD will be available from the Kodo Online Store from March 3, 2014.
For orders in English, please email the Kodo Online Store. Email: email@example.com
For orders in Japanese, please visit the Kodo Online Store website:
1. Kaza-guruma [Pinwheels] (Kindergarten song from Meiji Era)
2. Ororo Pinne (Ainu folksong)
3. Hana no Warabe-uta: Sado no Warabe Uta [Flower Nursery Song: Sado Nursery Song] (Song: Masaji Homma / Music: Yoko Fujimoto)
4. Martina’s Lullaby (Music: From Italian film “L’uomo che verra” (The Man Who Will Come) / Song: Yoko Fujimoto)
5. Hoshi to Tanpopo [Stars & Dandelions] (Song: Misuzu Kaneko / Music: Yoko Fujimoto)
6. Minori-uta [Harvest Song] (Amis Harvest Song, Taiwan)
7. Hinei Ma Tov (Jewish hymn / Japanese song: Yoko Fujimoto)