“My First Tour” by Sunao Maehama

My First Tour

Photo: Yasuhiko Ishihara

Nice to meet you, everyone. I’m Sunao Maehama, a Kodo junior member. Kodo’s “Evolution” tour in China is my very first tour.

Photo: Yasuhiko Ishihara

Passing over Sado Island and Kodo Apprentice Centre on the way from Niigata to Shanghai.

Within a week of becoming a junior member earlier this year, I heard which performances I had been cast in for the year ahead. That was when I found out that my first international tour would be in China. I also learned I would be appearing in “Ake no Myojo,” a taiko, song, and dance number.

Photo: Yasuhiko Ishihara

Rehearsing “Ake no Myojo” at Shanghai MISA

Each junior member is given distinct challenges. One of the challenges listed for me was expressing my femininity. One of the senior Kodo members told me that Ake no Myojo puts the spotlight on female performers and requires femininity.

In this piece, you move while carrying and playing a taiko drum. So if you don’t create a stable axis with your body, it doesn’t look good. You have to synchronize the timing of the loud and quiet tones of the drum with the movements of your body. It requires precision. I received all kinds of advice from the senior members, such as keeping my legs close together when I pivot.

Photo: Akiko Umegaki

Rehearsals before opening night in Shanghai

On opening night, I was really nervous but I gave it my all. I think left everything I’ve learned to date on the stage.

Photo: Akiko Umegaki

“Evolution” opening night in Shanghai

As I write this, so far I’ve only performed twice on this tour. Something I have noticed and constantly feel when I perform with Kodo is what it’s like when the sound you create resonates in the bodies and hearts of others.

I am still very new to the ensemble and I’m desperately trying to keep up with everyone. I’ll do my best at our Guangzhou and Beijing performances, too!

Photo: Yasuhiko Ishihara

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution” China Tour

Schedule

“Excited to Share ‘Michi’ with You!” by Yuichiro Funabashi

It’s April and in Japan that means the start of a new business and school year. I’m sure many of you have had a fresh start in a new environment this month.

We’ve recently finished our North America “Evolution” tour and Interactive Performances in Japan and returned to Sado Island. Right now, we are busy preparing for our upcoming tours and concerts this spring, as well as future works.

From May, we’re going to be touring with “Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Michi” throughout Japan for the rest of the year.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

It’s going to be a soul-stirring, invigorating two-hour program featuring Kodo standards such as Monochrome, Miyake, O-daiko, and Yatai-bayashi. As director, I’ve also included some of my favorite classics like The Hunted and HITOTSU, and we’ve created some brand new numbers, too!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

We’ve reworked and refined the content since last year, and we are already looking forward to seeing it evolve with each performance on tour.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The cast ranges from senior to junior Kodo members who all bring their own unique sound and energy to the stage. I really hope you’ll come along to see “Michi” at one of the many theaters on our tour to experience this rousing program firsthand.

Photo: Erika Ueda

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Michi” Japan Tour

Schedule

“The Excitement I Felt Back Then” by Kengo Watanabe

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Miyake is a very important piece to me. My life as a taiko player wouldn’t be the same without Miyake.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

It was watching Kodo play Miyake that made me want to join Kodo.

I first saw Miyake when I was a high school student. I watched the performers push themselves to their limits, brimming with masculine fighting spirit. I thought they were beyond cool!
I’ll never forget that sensation of trembling with excitement from deep within.

Now, I’ve been given the opportunity to play the center position in Miyake.

The excitement I felt way back then… I wonder if our audiences feel like it now.

I really want to give them that sense of excitement, so I will practice harder and harder. I’ll keep giving it my all.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Michi” Japan Tour

Upcoming Performances

Kodo “Legacy” Now Available on DVD!

Photo: Erika Ueda

We hope you’ll add this performance to your home theater collection.

It’s a complete non-stop concert experience, all 94 minutes! So sit back and enjoy it as if you’re right there in the audience.

Released: May 24, 2019
Price: 4,860 yen (tax incl.)

See here for details.

Available now at Kodo Online Store in English and at Kodo performances in Japan.

“OK!!!” by Yuta Kimura

We carry out detailed checks before each performance.
We check the position of our equipment, our drumsticks, the tuning of the drums, and so on…
When everything is in position, we say “Pre-Set OK!”

Photo: Yuta Kimura

One of the things I really like about Kodo since entering the group is that everyone handles the drums with a great deal of care.

Everyone pays attention to the condition of the skins, of course, but Kodo performers also wipe the drums before the performance so they look beautiful when we take the stage.

Photo: Yuta KimuraOne of the more senior members once told me, “Be prepared for anything that could possibly happen.”

No matter where I am, what kind of venue, or who is coming to watch us perform, one thing is constant: I make sure I always do a thorough pre-performance check so I can deliver my best performance.

Photo: Yuta Kimura

We still have many places left to visit on our North America tour.

We want our sentiments to reach the audience through our sound.
With that in mind, we carefully prepare for every performance until we can say with confidence:
“Pre-set OK!!!”

 

Photo: Yuki Hirata

 


 

Coming Up Next:

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution” North America Tour


 

“Extra Challenges” by Issei Kohira

Our “Evolution” North America Tour is gradually nearing its end. We are all doing well.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

This time, I have the added challenges of playing chappa (cymbals) and bamboo flutes on stage, as well as taiko.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Considering baseball player Shohei Otani is called a two-way player for pitching and fielding, perhaps I’m a three-way player?
It sounds presumptuous for me to say that, but I am grateful for this rare opportunity.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

I have a lot to work on for each different instrument, and I need to work on my mindset and how I use my body, too. I don’t want to tackle any of these challenges half-heartedly. As I focus on each challenge, I am acutely aware that becoming a good all-rounder is not an easy goal.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

However, I do have feelings of fulfillment. No matter what instrument I play, I will keep doing my best each day and hope I can connect with our audiences.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

We’re into the second half of our tour now. Along with my energetic, smiling colleagues, I’ll continue to give it my all as we share Kodo’s sound with the people of North America.

I’ll keep doing my best!

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution” North America Tour



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