“Making Taiko Music Become More Everyday Music” by Yuta Sumiyoshi

Making Taiko Music Become More Everyday Music

That’s what we had in mind when we launched this project, “The Heartbeat Laboratories.”

Even though many people know taiko from the music that accompanies Japanese festivals, and modern taiko performances, I think only a small number of people have heard the everyday sound of taiko.

For most Japanese people, taiko isn’t an everyday instrument.
I think that’s because people have stereotypes about taiko that they can’t push aside.

There’s “Japanese style background music,” which uses taiko and Japanese instruments. Many people think it only suits a particular type of scene, right?

In order to overturn that notion, we have to share a completely new genre of taiko music.

We can do that by not sticking to taiko alone, but by including Western instruments and electric instruments, and exploring a new ensemble beyond the limits of every type of music.

Some people may say, “That’s not taiko.”

To which I say, what do you think “taiko” is then?

For example, is it something composed in the Edo Period? Heian Period? Jomon Period?

Are you saying it’s taiko if it was created at a certain time?

And Kodo’s original instruments—Hibiki, Shime-jishi, and Kanade—they are Japanese drums, so are they “taiko”?

If you think about these questions and more, I think you’ll notice that the concept of taiko is more vague than you might think.

In every era to date, instruments have been continually improved to create the sound and musicality we want to conjure.
It’s the same for all instruments, not just taiko.

If people restrict the possibilities for taiko, by jumping to conclusions based on the fixed image they have of this instrument, then taiko music has no future.

That said, if we become bound by a Western sense of music, then we can’t escape from being labeled “Japanese style background music” either.

All we can do is keep creating deep-rooted, avant-garde music with Kodo’s identity at the heart of our sound. If we do that, I believe it will lead us to find new possibilities for taiko music.

We’ve decided to release new music for everyone’s listening pleasure, as well as for creators across a range of genres to use in their own creative works.

We hope Kodo’s new music will be used in films and other video productions, commercials and installations.

We hope to make taiko music become more everyday music.

Kodo will continue to share new taiko music with the world. Watch this space!


We’ve just released two digital albums: Kodo “Alatane” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2!:クラッカー:
Available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music now!

The Heartbeat Laboratories
“Alatane” Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Featuring: Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

◆Spotify
“Alatane” Vol. 1
“Alatane” Vol. 2

◆Apple Music
“Alatane” Vol. 1
“Alatane” Vol. 2

◆Amazon Music
“Alatane” Vol. 1
“Alatane”Vol. 2 

Note: Kodo plans to make these available to creators later this year.

My Kodo Discography Pick 09 | Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga: prism rhythm (Album)

Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

I hardly knew anything about Kodo before I joined, and for me “prism rhythm” is an album that broadened my understanding about taiko.
In particular, Sayagi-uta and Kuyurage are pieces that still inspire me.

Taiko as music. This is taiko music that will stand the test of time 100 years from now.
This album feels like a guide that Kodo’s senior members left for my generation.

 

 

Album | prism rhythm

↓Listen to sample tracks
https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/sicl10003_en.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_7.html

 

My Kodo Discography Pick 07 | Issei Kohira: Kaden (Album)

Issei Kohira

Hi, everyone! How are you doing?
I’m Issei Kohira, a member of the Kodo ensemble.
Each member is introducing a Kodo CD or DVD they recommend, and I’ve chosen “Kaden,” an album released in late 2016.

It features pieces mainly from three Kodo One Earth Tour productions: Eternity, Chaos, and Evolution.

Eternity featured compositions that depicted vivid scenes, while the music in Chaos emerged from blending taiko and drum kits—East and West. Evolution showed Kodo’s journey to date lead to the creation of new Kodo music. This album combines the best of these three works.

When I became a junior member four years ago, Chaos was my first tour with Kodo. And I took part in the recording of Arrive, Toki no Ma, and Kukai—all three Chaos pieces on the Kaden album.
I was so new to the ensemble that I didn’t know which way was up, down, left, right, forward, back, or otherwise. So I mostly recall being in a hurry to keep up. (lol)
But I also remember feeling happy that I was going to appear on one of Kodo’s albums as a performer.

Personally, I recommend the track Toki no Ma!
Why, you ask?
Because I have a six-second solo on it! (lol)
Please have a listen and see if you can find my solo! (lol)

As you can see, for me, this CD packed with memories.
If you already own it, I hope you’ll listen to it again after reading this blog. And if you don’t, I hope you’ll add it to your collection so you can experience and enjoy a range of new sides to Kodo’s music.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say I truly appreciate your kind support and words of encouragement over the past few months. I’ll keep working hard, preparing for the day Kodo can tour again.
Thank you, everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon!

 

Album | Kaden

↓Listen to sample tracks

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/od018_en.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_82.html

My Kodo Discography Pick 08 | Mizuki Yoneyama: One Earth Tour Special (DVD)

Mizuki Yoneyama

The DVD I recommend is “Kodo One Earth Tour Special.”

Especially, the piece Furyu.

I went to see this performance live at Setagaya Public Theatre when I was an elementary school student. When I saw Tsubasa Hori—a female performer who has since left the Kodo—performing in Furyu, I remember seeing the look on her face, in her eyes, and her presence on stage and thinking, “I want to join Kodo and perform on stage with this woman.” I found that dream then and there.

For me, this is a production that greatly shifted the course of my life.

 

DVD | One Earth Tour Special

↓Find out more (Japanese webpage)
https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/sibl1_ja.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store (English)
http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_138.html

My Kodo Discography Pick 06 | Taiyo Onoda: Legend (DVD)

Taiyo Onoda

 

On 2013, “Kodo One Earth Tour: Legend” came to the university I was attending. This was the first time I saw Kodo live. The three back-to-back O-daiko (big drum) performances were highly memorable. I could not make out who was performing since I watched from the third floor, but I remember thinking, “just how many performers are back stage on standby in their fundoshi (loincloth), waiting for their turn…?”

At that time, I was just working on my odaiko solo, so I practiced and composed it by recalling impressions and memories of the performance. Two years later, “Kodo One Earth Tour 2015: Mystery” came to the U.S., and I bought this Legend DVD at the venue without hesitation. I watched it many, many times. This production deeply impressed me and showed me that Kodo has some of the best odaiko performers.

 

DVD | Legend

↓Watch trailer

https://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/od009_en.html

↓Buy at Kodo Online Store

http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_76.html

 


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