“My Composition for the New Kodo Taiko School ‘Body Mechanics for O-daiko Expression’ Course” by Kenta Nakagome

I wanted to share some of my preparation and ideas for the upcoming Kodo Taiko School course I’ll be teaching from April: Body Mechanics for O-daiko Expression with Kenta Nakagome. Applications close very soon, so if you’re planning to take part, please sign up by March 31 (Japan time).

When I started planning this course, we decided I should create an O-daiko piece that everyone can play together. So I’ve been working on that since last year. As I travel the world, I’ve been thinking about the imagery for this piece. I wanted it to be something people who gather from a range of different places could all have in mind as they play, and something that was fun to play together.

I love the sea. When I’m on Sado Island, I’m always looking at the sea.

And when the towns I visit on my travels have a beach or river, that makes me so happy. I feel really good when I think about how the sea and rivers here and there and Sado Island are all connected. When we send the O-daiko to Europe for our tours (I’m in Europe now), we use sea freight. The ship sails across different oceans to foreign lands, far, far away from Sado Island, and I get to play that taiko. It makes me think that the world feels connected by the power of water. When I was reflecting on that, I thought I’d like to try turning water journeys into sound.

Another theme of this upcoming course is the body, which is made up of a lot of water, too.

Water ties people to nature and land.

During this course, the participants will tune into the unique characteristics of their body and channel the sound of a drop of water from somewhere in the world that flows into a river and takes its own journey out into a vast ocean. I’m already excited just thinking about the sound that awaits us based on that idea.

My composition notebook. I add drawings as I explore the imagery.

I’d like to chat with the participants and find a title for this piece together.

I’m creating phrases for the ensemble, and we’ll add a solo part for each person, and tune in to each story as we go.

I warmly welcome participants from far and wide to gather around the 0-daiko with me for some quality time, tuning into our bodies and the sound of taiko together.

Working on the composition at a theater in Europe. I play the phrases over and over, refining my body’s movements and the sound.


Body Mechanics for O-daiko Expression with Kenta Nakagome
Course Dates: Apr. –June 2024
Application Period: Feb. 1 (Thu)–Mar. 31 (Sun), 2024

Body Mechanics for O-daiko Expression with Kenta Nakagome

“Ready for ‘Michi’ on Sado Island tomorrow!” by Kenta Nakagome

It’s almost time for our hometown performance of “Kodo One Earth Tour 2019:  Michi,” here on Sado Island!

We spend most of our time on tour away from Sado. Every time I come back to the island, the beautiful nature and scenery, the food and people, they always clear away any fatigue I brought back from the road. This place resets me.
The longer I live on Sado, the stronger I feel a sense of this island nurturing all of us at Kodo.

Our current touring work takes a look back at Kodo classics and gives us an opportunity to reflect on who we are right now. The cast ranges from veterans to newcomers, so it’s a chance for audiences to discover the appeal of a wide range of generations within Kodo today.

I am grateful to everyone on Sado Island who constantly supports our activities. I’ll put my appreciation into each beat at our performance here.
I hope you’ll join us there on November 20!

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Michi”Nov. 20 (Wed), 2019 Sado Island, Niigata

[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)


“Kodo Interactive Performance in Mitaka on Oct. 7” by Kenta Nakagome

On Oct. 7, we welcomed the Myojo Gakuen Wadaiko Club to perform as our special guest at the “Kodo Interactive Performance” at Mitaka City Public Hall in Tokyo. Myojo Gakuen is the alma mater of cast member Kenta Nakagome. Here is a message Kenta wrote in the lead up to the performance.

All of a sudden, thirteen years have passed since I graduated from high school.

I look back and wonder how I felt back then when I played taiko.
I went to Myojo Gakuen because I wanted to play taiko, and naturally that is the reason I moved to Sado Island, too.

I wonder how the current wadaiko club sounds,

and I wonder how Kodo’s performance and sound will resonate with them.

I am happy to be able to return to this familiar place to play taiko.

I hope everyone who joins us there will enjoy the unique sound we create together with our drums and hearts.

I am looking forward to it.

Kenta Nakagome

Kodo Interactive Performance 2017 with Guest Appearance by Myojo Gakuen Wadaiko ClubOct. 7 (Sat), 2017 Mitaka City Public Hall, Mitaka, Tokyo

“Join Us at EC for ‘The Electronic & the Primitive'” by Masayuki Sakamoto

Hello! This is Masayuki Sakamoto. I am currently working with electronic instrument manufacturer Roland to develop a new instrument: an electric okedo taiko. I am going to play it for the first time on stage at Earth Celebration 2017 during a Special Fringe event, “The Electronic & the Primitive.”‘

This electric, energetic mid-summer performance with Yoshie Abe, Kenta Nakagome, and flamenco dancer Sanshiro is going to be hot, hot, hot!
Performing with this new drum will be an experiment and a world first. I don’t know how it’s going to go, which makes it all the more exciting! Come and witness this on-stage trial for yourself at EC. I’m looking forward to sharing this instrument and performance with you all!

▼ EC 2017 Special Fringe “The Electronic & the Primitive”

Japan Trends | Roland creates world’s first electronic taiko drum


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