Happy New Year

Jan. 1, 2023

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

New Year’s Greeting from Kodo Ensemble Leader Yuichiro Funabashi

I wish you all a very happy new year.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to everyone who offered us their support throughout the past year. Thank you very much indeed.

In early 2022, we traveled throughout Europe with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Tsuzumi,” venturing overseas for the first time in two years. Here in Japan, we were delighted to be back in theaters and schools with “Kodo One Earth Tour: Warabe” and our School Workshop Performance tours. We returned to Asakusa Public Hall for a summer concert series with “Shoso,” bringing people together in Tokyo and online via the livestream. Our summer also featured two dream collaborations: one with Niigata dance company Noism, touring throughout Japan with Noism x Kodo “Oni”; the other with guitarist Miyavi and shamisen player Hiromitsu Agatsuma on the main stage at Earth Celebration 2022. It was truly joyous to perform in front of live audiences again over the past year. We released new albums, DVD, video, and digital music offerings throughout the year to reach and delight people further afield, too.

We are still feeling the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but we are pressing onwards with determination. Looking back, it’s been hard but it’s all been worthwhile. I am grateful to each serendipitous encounter and experience to date that has helped us keep going. We have kept honing our skills and creating new works.

Looking ahead, we are going to hit the ground running in 2023. On the 5th, Kodo will return to the stage with Kabuki luminary Tamasaburo Bando for the first time in five years in “Yugen,” giving performances throughout January at Osaka Shochikuza Theatre. At the end of the month, our One Earth Tour will return to North America for the first time since 2019, performing “Tsuzumi” in 24 cities over the course of two months. In February, we look forward to presenting the inaugural “Kodo One Earth Music Festival,” where we will collaborate with senior high school taiko groups to present our One Earth Music compositions on stage in Tokyo. From spring, we will be touring in Japan with our new work “Cycles,” and presenting a further two new productions: “Calling” directed by Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, and a yet-to-be-announced work directed by Yoshie Abe towards the end of the year. At home on Sado Island, we look forward to welcoming locals and visitors to workshops, taiko experience sessions, our Special Performances in Shukunegi in spring, and annual festival Earth Celebration in summer.

As we continue to live, learn and create on Sado Island and on the road, we can feel new depth and richness in the sounds we create with taiko. As those rich tones echo out, they help us create spaces filled with joy and smiles. Through our ongoing One Earth Tour, and everything we do, our mission is to remind people that we are all connected as human beings. We will strive to make our performances uplift people, reminding everyone present that we are all one community. One Earth.

I sincerely hope this year is a great year for you and yours.
I kindly ask for your continued guidance and encouragement throughout the year ahead and beyond.

Yuichiro Funabashi
Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble

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