“Announcing a New 0on Digital Release” by Yuta Sumiyoshi

Hi, everyone. It’s been cold here. I hope you’re keeping well.
I’m in Tokyo at Bunkyo Civic Hall for our end-of-year concert series, but I’ve found a gap during this busy week to let you know that I’ve just released a new digital solo album under Kodo’s experimental music label 0on.

We almost had no 0on (zero on, which literally translates as “zero sound”) releases in 2023, so I’m really glad I got this album out in time. Phew! No sound was not the intention.

“Hamon” is available exclusively on bandcamp to stream and buy.
https://0on-tapes.bandcamp.com/

I hope you enjoy it!

Yuta Sumiyoshi’s 2nd Home-Recorded Solo Album “Hamon”

The sounds of shinobue (transverse bamboo flutes), marimba, and an analog drum machine weave together to create original minimal music from diverse polyrhythms.
Feel-good attack coupled with seemingly endless loops of eclectic beats.
All stitched together by shinobue melodies.
Five tracks. All recorded at home. Digital release only.

“On the ferry heading towards Sado Island, I looked over the side of the boat, down into the water.
The hull created ripples as it cut through the sea.
There I saw regularity and randomness, coexisting within continuity.
Each simple repetition, layering over and over again, producing ripple after ripple.
I felt inspired to try to create a world of sound like that.”

“The ‘Matsurine’ Tour Starts Soon” by Kenta Nakagome

Our short tour with Miyake-jima Geino Doshi-kai is about to begin. We’re heading to Hachinohe, Yokohama, Iruma, and Sakura in Tochigi, so if you’re in the area, please come and see us!

Every time Kodo performs with Doshi-kai, we create new pieces and our collaboration evolves. We would love to share our performance with you.

One of the members of Doshi-kai, Kazuhiro Tsumura, trained at Kodo Apprentice Centre with me. We were in the same cohort. Last spring, we created a piece for the two of us to play on stage.

We’ve been honing it through each performance. When I perform with Kazuhiro, it feels like we are breathing in perfect sync. I realized he is a truly one-of-a-kind friend.

It’s been almost 20 years since we first met. Who’d have thought we’d get to tour together like this with our respective groups?

I never imagined it. We have both gained a lot of experience apart, honing our sound and performing over the years. Bringing that together to create new sound and expression has been really fun.

I hope we can perform at each other’s 60th birthday gigs one day.

Our “Matsurine” performance is about upholding traditions and expressing them with creativity and simplicity. We’re bringing this powerful festival to the theater. Don’t miss it!

 

Tour Schedule

*All links lead to Japanese pages.
Oct. 27 (Fri), 2023 Kodo Appearance “Matsurine 2023” (Hachinohe, Aomori)

Nov. 1 (Wed), 2023 Kodo Appearance “Matsurine 2023” (Yokohama, Kanagawa)

Nov. 4 (Sat), 2023 Kodo Appearance “Matsurine 2023” (Iruma, Saitama)

Nov. 5 (Sun), 2023 Kodo Appearance “Taiko Festival 2023” (Sakura, Tochigi)

“Kodo Taiko School ‘O-daiko Masterclass’ 2024” by Tomohiro Mitome

Hello, everyone! I’m Tomohiro Mitome from Kodo. As well a being a performing member, I’ve recently been named as a Kodo Skills Specialist.
I’m pleased to announce that the online course I led at Kodo Taiko School from January through March this year, O-daiko Masterclass, is going to be offered again during the same period in early 2024.


The course content is split into four phases.
In Phase 1, we work on the fundamentals of fuse-uchi (upright taiko playing).
In Phase 2, we apply those techniques to playing o-daiko (the big drum).
As we progress through Phases 3 and 4, we look at stance, using your body, learning to play set phrases, and bringing it all together as you work towards your own ideal form.


When it comes to taiko, there is a broad range of drumming methods and styles, aesthetics, and schools of thought. At Kodo Taiko School, I would like to share with you one of the ways of playing taiko that Kodo has developed over the years. I want to teach you what I know and hope to invigorate you. I’m also looking forward to learning throughout the course as we all talk and discuss taiko playing.
These online courses enable free-flowing communication, which makes them an opportunity for us all to grow and boost our skills together.

 


We know some people would like to take part, but they can’t because of the noise involved or their internet setup.
There’s no need to hesitate because you don’t have a drum at home, or somewhere to play one online. During the lessons, you can use a mat or cushion instead of a drum. Please feel free to get creative and make it work for you.
If you like, you’re also welcome to video yourself between lessons, playing the tasks I give you on a taiko drum. If you send me your video, I’ll give you some feedback and advice.

 


Some of my past class participants came to Sado Island this summer for Earth Celebration. We’d only be in touch online before, and I got to meet them in person at long last.
I also got to teach some of them in person, giving them private lessons playing an actual taiko. I was so happy to see the participants coming together at our festival and to see the progress they are making beyond the course.
To take the course, you do need to have some taiko playing experience already. But you don’t need to speak Japanese: We have an English interpreter for all our lessons.
I hope you’ll take this opportunity to join me and taiko players from around the world online to learn together and expand your own circle of taiko friends.
Who’s in?

The next O-daiko Masterclass starts in January 2024. It’s an 8-class course.
On Saturday November 18, we’re going to have Online Information Sessions. We hope to see you there!

Kodo Taiko School | O-daiko Masterclass with Tomohiro Mitome 2024

“Our Calling. My Calling.” by Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

When I compose, I want my pieces to inspire people. To evoke real emotions.

I want them to paint vivid images, and I want them to resonate with the audience’s hearts.

When I direct, my goal is the same.

 

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

When I was offered the opportunity to direct a new Kodo production, I set out on a quest to find what it was that I wanted to portray.

I asked myself: What do I want the audience to feel?

As I dove deeper, the same question popped up over and over again.

“Why do we, Kodo, play taiko?”

It’s easy to say that playing taiko is a calling.

But why do I, or my colleagues, play taiko as a member of Kodo? I think that’s a completely different question.

Ever since the world came to a standstill in the Spring of 2020, there have been countless times where I’ve felt like we are incredibly powerless in the face of adversity.

I’ve questioned how much we are living up to the “One Earth” mantra, without taking strong stands and courses of action on various issues around the globe.

I’ve been reminded time and time again how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to play taiko for a living, and that we shouldn’t take anything for granted.

Over these past three years, I have been asking myself the same question: “What are we doing?”

 

 

It was during this time of self-loathing and trepidation that I had the opportunity to perform in front of Ukrainian war refugees in Estonia.

This turned out to be one the most memorable moments of my career; all I wished for in that moment was to give these people hope, to offer them a moment of peace.

It was a state of pure emotion and altruism; something I didn’t know I was capable of.

It’s hard to put in words, but it was at that moment I felt I wanted to create something that was truly altruistic in nature.

Something that can inspire people, something that can have a positive effect on the world.

 

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

Whether or not I’ll be able to achieve this is a question for another time. For now, I am extremely grateful I’ve been given the chance to try.

This is my calling.

Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

 

Photo: Takashi Okamoto |Art Director: Hiroomi Hattori (COM Works)

Photo: Takashi Okamoto
Art Director: Hiroomi Hattori (COM Works)

 

Kodo “Calling” Japan Tour

Kodo “Calling” Japan Tour

Director

Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

Cast*

Kenta Nakagome, Shogo Komatsuzaki, Yuta Sumiyoshi, Koki Miura, Mizuki Yoneyama, Masayasu Maeda, Seita Saegusa, Yuki Hirata, Kei Sadanari, Moe Niiyama, et al.
*Subject to change without notice.

Kodo Performance in Asakusa 2023 “Calling”

 

“Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi 2022” by Jun Jidai

Kodo’s annual performances in Shukunegi first began in 2012, back when I was still a Kodo apprentice. The apprentices all joined the Kodo members, staff, and Shukunegi locals to get ready for the performances and it felt like creating something together from square one: spring cleaning the hall, hanging the back drops, cutting down bamboo and using it to put up the concert flags.

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi OkamotoKodo now has a decade’s worth of experiences at this place, and I feel so happy that we’re back here again this year.

There is so much going on right now all over the world, and here in Japan. It feels like we’re living our usual daily lives with chaos either close by, or all around us.

It makes me think…what can we do as taiko players?
What should artists share in times like these?

Tomorrow is uncertain, but I’ve made it to tomorrow each day thus far. So I want to keep creating and expressing myself as an artist, giving my all each day.

Photo: Erika

I want to express what it means to be born in this era, and what I’m doing with Kodo now.

I want to turn that into power that helps get us all through to “tomorrow” again.

I want to take all the moments when I laugh and feel excited and deeply moved, and pack them all into this performance with along with my gratitude.

I sincerely hope that our performances bring the joy of spring and the sounds of Shukunegi to many people.

Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi (2022)

Apr 29 (Fri)–May 7 (Sat), 2022 Shukunegi Community Hall, Ogi Peninsula, Sado Island, Niigata

Dates & Times

  • Apr 29 (Fri) 14:30 [O-daiko: Yoshikazu Fujimoto]
  • Apr 30 (Sat) 11:00 [O-daiko: Tomohiro Mitome]
  • Apr 30 (Sat) 14:30 [O-daiko: Yoshikazu Fujimoto]
  • May 1 (Sun) 11:00 [O-daiko: Tomohiro Mitome]
  • May 2 (Mon) DARK
  • May 3 (Tue) 14:30 [O-daiko: Yoshikazu Fujimoto]
  • May 4 (Wed) 11:00 [O-daiko: Tomohiro Mitome]
  • May 4 (Wed) 14:30 [O-daiko: Yoshikazu Fujimoto]
  • May 5 (Thu) 11:00 [O-daiko: Tomohiro Mitome]
  • May 6 (Fri) DARK
  • May 7 (Sat) 11:00 [O-daiko: Yoshikazu Fujimoto]
  • May 7 (Sat) 14:30 [O-daiko: Tomohiro Mitome]

Kodo Sado Island Performances in Shukunegi (2022)


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