Shunpuu: The Beginning of Kodo One Earth Music
Shunpuu ya, toshi idakite, oka ni tatsu
A haiku by Kyoshi Takahama
(Translation: Spring wind, fighting spirit, standing thus on a hill)
When I was a student, I happened upon this haiku and, for some reason or other, it stayed with me. I used the theme of this poem to compose “Shunpuu.” The haiku is filled with determination that gives the reader a sense of bravery, and even breeziness. I hope people feel powerful and invigorated when they play Shunpuu and when they hear it.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few of my thoughts about this new initiative, Kodo One Earth Music. In the taiko community right now, there seems to be a lot of people who learn from one master or teacher. So when it comes to playing a song that someone else created, they may feel a little reluctant for reasons other than performance rights. I hope sharing pieces that anyone is free to play helps remove those invisible barriers. When we perform other people’s compositions, we can experience different values. So little by little, if taiko players exchange their values and feelings, I believe this will lead to the future development of taiko music.
You can’t talk about taiko in terms of relative merit. Just because someone’s taiko playing is technically accomplished, that doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable. And not all musical taiko pieces or performances induce strong emotions. So as taiko players, what should we do? What should we learn and share through this unique instrument? I want us all to sense, think, and discuss that together while we enjoy playing taiko. I’ve put those hopes into this piece that I’ve shared with you all.