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“My Last Tour” by Maya Minowa

We’re over halfway through our “MEGURU” Japan Tour.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

This is my last tour with Kodo.

Ten years has passed since my first encounter with Kodo, in Brazil in the spring of 2008…

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Since then I’ve made so many one-of-a-kind connections.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Maya as a Kodo apprentice

Photo: Taro Nishita

Maya as a Kodo apprentice

Photo: Taro Nishita

Maya as a Kodo apprentice

Photo: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi OkamotoPhoto: Takashi Okamoto

ロシア・日本平和友好フェスティバル(岩田守弘氏共演)

(C)テレビ朝日

Photo: Maiko Miyagawa

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

I am filled with gratitude to have found Kodo and for all the connections I’ve made ever since that first encounter. I’ll do my very best on stage for the remaining performances of the tour.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto Photo: Takashi Okamoto

 

MEGURU (Japan Tour)

Dec 15 (Sat), 2018 Chofu-shi Green Hall (Large Hall), Chofu, Tokyo
Dec 16 (Sun), 2018 Fussa Shimin Kaikan Main Hall (Mokusei Hall), Fussa, Tokyo
Dec 19 (Wed)–Dec 23 (Sun), 2018 Bunkyo Civic Hall (Main Hall), Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo

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#鼓童 #kodo 鼓童特別公演2018「道」 #蓑輪真弥 #カーテンコール #アンコール Kodo Special Concert 2018 “Michi” Japan Tour 公演スケジュール 7.14(土) 栃木県宇都宮市 栃木県総合文化センター 7.16(月) 山形県山形市 シベールアリーナ 7.18(水) 宮城県仙台市 東京エレクトロンホール宮城 7.20(金) 岩手県大船渡市 大船渡市民文化会館 リアスホール 7.26(木) 北海道札幌市 わくわくホリデーホール(札幌市民ホール) 7.29(日) 青森県八戸市 八戸市公会堂 8.01(水) 福島県いわき市 いわき芸術文化交流館(いわきアリオス)中劇場 8.03(金) 茨城県ひたちなか市 ひたちなか市文化会館大ホール 8.04(土) 群馬県伊勢崎市 伊勢崎市文化会館(大ホール) 8.05(日) 東京都小平市 ルネこだいら 大ホール https://www.kodo.or.jp/performance/performance_kodo/6786 鼓童 道 で検索! #taiko #太鼓 #drummers #wadaiko #drum #instagood #japaneseculture Photo by @takashi_okamoto on Instagram #kodomichi

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“Traveling with Taiko” by Kengo Watanabe

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Four years have passed since I became a Kodo member. Looking back, I see that all I could focus on was myself for those four years.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Where was I?
Who was coming to see our performance that day?

I thought I knew where I was and who I had met, but looking back, I probably didn’t really understand it all.

I visited many different places and encountered new people, culture, scenery, and sounds in each town.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Each and every day, we experience each place and express the sensations we encounter as sound on stage.
I think the experiences we have in each place are a very important part of traveling with taiko like we do.

 

“Taking Taiko to Schools” by Ryoma Tsurumi

Kodo’s new production “MEGURU” is on tour in Japan right now!

The director, Yuta Sumiyoshi, became a Kodo member not long before I did, so I am really interested to see how this work is received by all of you throughout Japan!

Meanwhile, I’m currently on tour giving Workshop Performances at schools throughout Japan. These concerts are mainly held as an opportunity for students to appreciate performing arts.

Our performances at schools differ from our theater performances in many ways. For one, there isn’t such a clear boundary between the stage and the audience in a gymnasium, and for two, we don’t have lighting to set the scene.

The biggest difference is the audience. At theaters, the audience is made up of people who are interested in our performance and paid to come along, but at schools, the audience is all children who are there as part of their lessons, with different feelings about being there.

I think the taiko concerts we give at schools are meaningful for various reasons.
Firstly, they provide an opportunity for children today to learn find out about a traditional Japanese instrument.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Secondly, the performances give children a chance to see people who have thrown themselves into doing something they love and pursued it as a career, which gives them an opportunity to consider their own future paths.

And for us, it’s an opportunity for new people to hear about Kodo.

These days, we can find out about anything we are interested in by searching online, but the downside to that is that if we don’t search for something, we don’t find out about it so easily. Also, we can watch and listen to anything we like on TV or online, so we tend to be easily satisfied by just watching screens.

No matter whether it’s acting, performing, or online shopping, seeing something via a screen and watching something live or in person is completely different.


I think that is particularly true for Japanese drums. No matter how good a surround system is, it simply can’t recreate nor convey the echo of live taiko resonating in your body.

That’s why we travel to schools to meet children, who wonder “What’s Kodo?” and “Is ‘taiko’ a festival?”, so they can see taiko firsthand and listen to it live. I think that is a really meaningful thing to do!

If the children who listen to our performance take an interest in taiko or our group, then I am really happy.

We are constantly striving to make each programme and performance better than ever. We always have that challenge on our minds.

But it doesn’t matter if we do something great or we do something bad if no one is interested enough to come and see what we’re doing. If no one is there to watch, we don’t know if something is good or bad.

So, we tour and perform all over Japan in the hopes of connecting with even one new person each day, hoping they be interested in what we do and want to see us again.

To our blog readers, I hope you’ll come and see Kodo perform, too! Each performance has a unique feel, so please come and enjoy yourself. I also encourage you to share your feedback and impressions with us afterwards.

OK, it’s a new day and another performance awaits!
HERE WE GO!!!

School Workshop Performances

 

[Kodo MEGURU] “Miyake” by Kenta Nakagome

Naturally, I have a real soft spot for playing O-daiko (the big drum).
But recently, I realized that Miyake (Miyake Taiko) is also very important to me.

Photo: Erica Ueda

Back when I had just become a Kodo member, I made it on to my first big tour because I was given the chance to play Miyake. For a time back then, all I played was Miyake and I didn’t practice anything else, which meant I didn’t get to perform much else.

Perhaps I realized that when I was playing a Miyake solo, I could let myself “explode,” let myself go wild.

When I was new to the group and couldn’t do anything well, Tomohiro [Mitome] and Yosuke [Oda] used Miyake as a tool to open my eyes.

Photo: Erica Ueda

Later on, there was a time when I felt a sense of failure, and wasn’t sure which way to turn. Kazu (Kazuhiro Tsumura) from Miyake-jima Geino Doshikai, who was in the same Kodo apprentice cohort as I, said “Come on, let’s play Miyake together.” And with that invitation, I went to see the Tsumura family. While I was there, drumming like crazy, I started to feel better, and more and more positive.

I also felt reawakened by the Tsumuras’ explosive sound.

Anytime I am not feeling good physically, playing Miyake makes me feel better again.

Photo: Erica Ueda

And anytime something new is about to begin, the chance for me to play Miyake seems to arise out of nowhere.

I heard Yuta [Sumiyoshi] was going to direct a production for the first time. He said to me , “Let’s do something together,” and he asked me to arrange and play a new arrangement of Miyake. That arrangement became a whole new piece, Saien, which we created as our own take on Miyake.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When I look back on my journey, taiko has trained me and guided me to where I am today.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

I feel fresh and new as we create this brand new work, “MEGURU,” but at the same time I can feel Miyake on my mind and in my bones.

Photo: Heday Masuda

Photos: Takashi Okamoto, Heday Masuda, Erika Ueda

 

MEGURU (Japan Tour)

Schedules

[Kodo MEGURU] Message from Director Yuta Sumiyoshi

Photo: Takashi OkamotoI am so happy to share Kodo’s new production “MEGURU” with audiences throughout Japan this month and next.
MEGURU means to revolve or come full circle. Based on that theme, I carefully crafted this programme from all new pieces, each created with a focus on conjuring scenery with sound.

All things in nature loop, there are no exceptions.
The sun and moon, water and life, they all revolve without exception.
All things that begin come to an end, then begin again. Beyond space and time, over and over again.
This phenomenon extends to spiritual things, too, such as souls and people’s feelings.

Photo: Koichi Kinoshita

Such cycles have turned for thousands of years, and perhaps the tales people hand down through time have influenced us unknowingly.
I’ve come to think that if people from different countries or cultures can imagine scenery in the same way, then an individual’s own memories or knowledge aren’t the only things that shape their perceptions.

So, what do we have in common?

Throughout time, I think we humans have always sought an understanding of the senses shared by all human beings, and this pursuit has continually led us into contact with the arts.
There are various artistic activities, such as art and music, but none of them are necessities for humans to live their lives.
Even so, humans throughout time have foregone sleep to draw pictures and to create music.

I too have moments when I only want to create music.
I get this feeling of wanting to give shape to something that lies somewhere within me.

I want to hear my soul’s voice.

That kind of impulse is like a tale in itself that has come around and around again. It’s also what I want to depict through this work.

I hope MEGURU will take us on a journey together in pursuit of that soul, a journey that circles imaginary scenery evoked by Kodo’s sound.
We will cherish each and every sound as we perform to facilitate this quest with our audience.

Photo: Riu Nakamura

MEGURU (Japan Tour)

Schedules


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