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[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

[Kodo Next Generation] “Merci!” by Mio Teycheney-Takashiro

July 23, 2018Photo: Takuro Susaki

Our two-week-long residence at Théâtre du Soleil has flown by and our final performance is over.

Thanks to everyone’s support we welcomed full houses every day, in fact it was more than full on the final day with over forty people on the waitlist. So, we invited those people in to sit in the aisles and on extra benches so they didn’t miss out.

Photo: Mio Takashiro

When the curtain call rolled around, we saw many members of the Theatre gathered alongside the seating area. During our encore number, they looked like they were having a great time dancing and embracing each other.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

I am truly happy that we were able to carry out this performance series in Paris with the warm support of so many people.

Photo: Mio Takashiro

I am writing this post the day after the finale. Today we have been packing our instruments and bags, tidying up, and cleaning. While I am feeling grateful for the wonderful time we have had here, I also feel sad knowing that our stay at Théâtre du Soleil is about to end.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

Both the cast and production staff for “Kodo Next Generation” are young, so my role was to support them. I watched over them every day.

They are the next generation of Kodo and they are brimming with passion, energy, and joy. I feel that the future is in good hands. This residence with them in Paris was an exciting, valuable experience for all of us.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

The time we all spent at this utopia, Théâtre du Soleil, is like a precious seed. I am already looking forward to seeing the fruit it bears in the years to come.

Lastly, on behalf of Kodo, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and respect to Ariane Mnouchkine of  Théâtre du Soleil for inviting “Kodo Next Generation” to France.
Merci beaucoup!!!

Photo: Takuro Susaki

 

Mio Teycheney-Takashiro, Production Manager

Kodo Next Generation (France)


Photo: Takashi Okamoto

“Kodo is Off to Egypt for the First Time!” by Kodai Yoshida

Feb. 2, 2018

Just when I thought the extreme cold wave had ended, I heard that much of Sado Island was now without water. It’s been chaotic here for many days. Amidst trying circumstances, we have been rehearsing at Kodo Village for our upcoming Egypt performances. It will be Kodo’s first time to perform there and when we arrive in Egypt, that will mark the 50th country Kodo where has performed to date.
Photo: Erika UedaDirector Tomohiro Mitome is leading the cast of nine for these performances. You wouldn’t think it was just nine people by the number of pieces and rich content. Tomohiro said to us, “It’s a tough program, but let’s enjoy ourselves.” And with that, our rehearsals began.

Photo: Erika Ueda

The cast features a lot of young performers, so while the rehearsals were very lively, they also made us reaffirm that we have our work cut out for us each time we appear on stage.

Photo: Erika Ueda

We had a tight rehearsal schedule with only one week to practice. The stage manager, Kazuki Imagai, who is a former Kodo performer, told us that, “Even if there is no time, you still have to do everything properly.” The senior Kodo members gave us strict, clear instructions and our rehearsals steadily progressed.

Photo: Erika Ueda

I have been practicing hard as I imagine the unknown land where I am heading. It’ll be everyone’s first time visiting Egypt. I wonder what awaits us over there…

Photo: Erika Ueda

Feb. 9 (Fri) & 11 (Sun), 2018 Kodo Select Ensemble Appearance in “Japanese Drums Concert” (Egypt)

“Shishi Hair Whip” by Kengo Watanabe

When I joined Kodo, I never imagined I would be given the chance to wear kumadori stage makeup or perform the traditional hair whip (kefuri) shown in the photo above! When I appear on stage in the role of shishi (beast), I perform each and every hair whip with great care.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Tamasaburo Bando x Kodo Special Performance “Yugen” (Japan)


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