振り返りつつ謝意を申し上げれば、輝夜姫を演じた Fiona Lummis と Netherland Dance Theatre のダンサーの美技と和太鼓の見事な芸術性。Michael Simon の舞台美術と照明も素晴らしく、音楽監督 Michael de Roo 率いる Circle Percussion と優雅な雅楽演奏者。心に刻まれた大太鼓演奏者・元鼓童メンバー近藤克次。皆様のおかげで太鼓芸能集団鼓童は、私の親愛なる友人です。
Thanks to the incredible artistry of the Kodo ensemble and the virtuosity of the dancers, lead by Fiona Lummis as Kaguyahime, the brilliant lighting and stage design by Michael Simon, the participation of the Dutch percussionists under the leadership of Michael de Roo, the brilliant Gagaku players and Katsuji Kondo – the unforgettable Odaiko player, I became very dear friends with the “Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble Kodo”. You are celebrating 40 years of your unique existence and for this anniversary I wish to send you my most sincere and heartfelt congratulations. And I am very happy to realize that I had the chance to collaborate with you 32 years ago in 1988. The occasion was the premiere of “Kaguyahime”. A splendid and powerful composition by Maki Ishii to which I created the choreography. It was first shown in the premiere on June the 2nd 1988 at the prestigious “Holland Festival”. Maestro Maki Ishii conducted the performance himself – (and needless to say how much I would love him to celebrate this occasion with you – but alas….!) Amongst the illustrious spectators at the premiere was also Her Majesty Queen Beatrix, an unusual and overwhelming experience for the performers as well as for the audience. We have performed this work in many countries, but perhaps the most memorable was the performance at the Paris Opera. We were invited by Queen Beatrix and President Mitterand. Queen Beatrix decided to decorate the opera house with flowers from Holland. The theatre was filled with blossoms from the entrance to the roof. It was a breathtaking sight. This remarkable event will stay engraved deeply in my heart as one of the finest moments I ever experienced. Here is what I want to share with you for your special anniversary: “Stay healthy, open minded, and create generously for many years to come”. Sincerely – yours Jiří Kylián
Kodo In recent years, I had the immense privilege to be invited into Kodo’s unique creative process and to witness first hand its relentless efforts to renew itself. Though the company is deeply rooted in a highly disciplined tradition of Taiko drumming, I found myself surrounded by a group of young, fresh-faced performers, open to experimentation and hungry for new ideas. Therefore, the ensuing original material that emerged from our collaboration is both inspiring and exhilarating.
It is difficult to imagine that Kodo has been around for almost half a century, given that the melodies and rhythms it produces resounds like those of a contemporary band. More than to be listened to, it is music to be experienced.
In these difficult times, the complicit unity and cohesion of a group like Kodo is the best example to give to a world that has lost its sense of community.
May good fortune smile on you for your upcoming commemorative performances and allow you to celebrate grandly this jubilee anniversary.
With all my friendship and boundless admiration, Robert Lepage
Luke Cresswell & Steve McNicholas Creator of Stomp
In 1985, while performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we happened to see an amazing performance from a group we had never heard of before, ‘Kodo.’ It wasn’t a theatre show; it wasn’t a music gig, it was something else, something we had not seen, heard, or felt before, a way of communicating to an audience using rhythm. Thunderous and powerful, soft and delicate, a tapestry of incredible, sometimes complex, sometimes simple rhythmic patterns that pulled at our emotions, stirred our soul, and challenged our imagination.
Kodo, 40 years of never-ending inspiration – Thank you.
Luke Cresswell & Steve McNicholas. Creators of STOMP.
Très chers amis qui, en ces jours de séparation cruelle entre parents, enfants, amants, amis, générations, nous manquent tant, sachez que nous pensons très souvent à vous, avec tendresse, admiration et gratitude. Elle était si généreuse, si amicale, si solidaire, l’hospitalité que vous nous offriez ! Et même si cette maudite calamité qui s’est abattue sur notre monde, nous a brutalement empêché d’en profiter, nous ne l’oublierons jamais. Nous espèrerons, encore et encore, accomplir ce voyage merveilleux jusqu’à chez vous. Et nous espèrerons, encore et encore, vous voir, vous, le groupe Kodo, revenir joyeusement chez nous, su Soleil. Je suis sûre que le Théâtre du Soleil et Kodo sauront résister, chacun à leur manière, à cette époque si pathologique. J’espère, de tout mon cœur, qu’en 2021, année de vos 40 ans, vous pourrez célébrer votre anniversaire en toute sécurité, fierté et joie, et que par la pensée au moins, nous serons avec vous ce jour là. Nous vous embrassons très fort, à la française,
Happy birthday, Kodo-san! 40 years young and still going strong, thanks to continuously reinventing yourself. Not only now, with Kodo’s new generation also traveling the world stages, and especially again after the pandemic, but also collaborating on the design and development of a new electronic taiko instrument, and that’s amazing.
With Kodo, it has always been about respect for the instrument, the culture of the instrument, live performance, and, most important, music.
And you actually bringing the most experienced Kodo players—world-traveling Kodo players—together with the very young ones, and letting them train and educate them to become professional Kodo players themselves, traveling the world hopefully, that’s an amazing reassurance for the future.
This synergy, getting the best out of each other, that’s also what you did to me when I joined you on Sado Island on for your festival, Earth Celebration. It is an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life. I actually became a better daily drummer thanks to the synergy with you all. And I never saw in any Japanese office that many IMAX all together. That was an amazing sight.
So, please continue to make a difference in live performance and music. And again, a very happy birthday, I hope to see you soon.
By the way, can I come and join you again on Sado Island? Please? Domo arigatou.
Hello Kodo, congratulations. Oh my god. For forty years, it is amazing. From this part of the world, I want to say congratulations, it is unbelievable. We met you maybe 15 years ago in Japan and it is really amazing how you preserved the Japanese culture, you are sort of an ambassador of Japan in the world. Your way of understanding the tradition and modernity is unbelievable. Every idea, you do new themes but always with your philosophy. We can feel something very deep of Japan when we enjoy your performances and to play with you, to make music all together, is really amazing. So congratulations Kodo for forty years. Let’s enjoy, all together.
音量の大小を問わずピッチの高低と音質が変わらない初めての打楽器の特性でした。私は当時の鼓童代表ハンチョウ（故河内敏夫） に、この楽器はどうすれば手に入るのか？と尋ねたところ、まねごとで演奏するのは大変なことだ、と控えめな笑みを込めて返答されました。鼓童をコピーするのでは無く、私が知る西洋の打楽器に和太鼓の音色を彩ってみたいと話したところ、彼は、ヨーロッパツアー中の鼓童の太鼓を貸し出してくれました。その後、Prins Bernhard 文化財団の援助もあり、鼓童からそのまま楽器を受け継ぐことになったのです。
1984年には屋台囃子や、石井眞木作曲・モノクロームと平義久作曲・Hiérophonir V は想像の限りを駆使し、太鼓演奏（テレビ映像だと多少のぎこちなさもありましたが）を行いました。この公演は大成功で幕を閉じ、鼓童と私たちの繋がりが花咲いたときでもありました。その後も鼓童との交流が続き、藤本吉利さんをオランダに招いてのワークショップや、石井眞木さんの「輝夜姫」公演などと鼓童単独公演をアムステルダムで展開させ、鼓童を初めてオランダの観客に紹介することができました。また、私が教鞭を執るユトレヒトの音楽院で学生対象のマスタークラスのワークショップ開催や佐渡では私が打楽器のワークショップを行うなど、教育的交流も盛んにさせていただいていました。日本訪問の際には雅楽演奏者の皆さんにもご参加いただき、石井眞木さん指揮の元で輝夜姫全版の録音を東京で行ないました。この録音を元に、振付家のイリ・キリアン氏に「輝夜姫」の作品としてバレエ団との共演を提案。プロジェクトは1988年の6月1日に、近藤克次さんをソリストとして迎え、再度オランダ・フェスティバルで上演され、鼓童と私の友情はさらに発展する機会に恵まれました。キリアン氏の演出、バレエ団との共演はオランダや他の国々でも上演され、パリ・オペラ座やカナダ・モントリオール公演は特筆すべき栄誉であります。
サークル・パーカッションは世界で最初のプロのパーカッションアンサンブルです。鼓童と浅野太鼓店（1609年創業）の浅野昭利氏との友情そして支援は、西洋の打楽器文化に様々な影響を与えてくれました。感謝しかありません。サークル・パーカッションはDrums of the World を発案し世界各地の打楽器とそのスペシャリスト達の協力を得ながら伝統とリズムの構造を紹介しておりますが、この活動をこれからも続けてまいります。
Dear friends, It was 1983 when I was asked to give an evening in the Royal Concertgebouw during the Holland Festival 1984 with Japanese percussion music. That year the Holland festival was solely about Japanese music and theatre. I knew the Japanese drums from Ondekoza that I had seen in Amsterdam in 1973. I was deeply impressed by the sound of the “wadaiko”, the chime-daiko in particular. Never before had I heard a “drum” that kept the same pitch and tonal quality whether you played it very loud or soft. Thanks to the benevolence of Hansho (Toshio Kawautchi) who had to laugh a little when I asked him how we could get hold of these Japanese drums: “you know how difficult it is to try to imitate our playing style!” After I explained to him not Wanting to become a Kodo copy, but adding the timbre of the traditional instruments to the timbre of what we called the ‘Western’ percussion, het granted us to be able to use the instruments of Kodo, present in Europe, for this concert. As a matter of fact: The instruments never went back to Kodo! Circle Percussion, established in 1973, was able to take over the instruments from Kodo thanks to a grant from the Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds.
We played in Jun 1984 on the Wadaiko as good as imaginable (it was a bit amateuristic at some point, looking back on television) Yatai Bayashi, Maki Ishi’s Monochrome and Joshihisa Taira’ Hiérophonir V for percussion. The concert was a great success and the connection with Kodo was born. I brought Joshikazu Fujimoto (the master O-Daiko drummers) to the Netherlands to teach us how to play the different Japanese drums. And I introduced Kodo to the Netherlands for the first time with a spectacular concert performing the concert version of Maki Ishii’ Kaguyahime and the first performance with KODO’S own program in Amsterdam! Kodo gave master classes in Utrecht at the conservatory where I was teaching and I myself gave improvisation master classes for Kodo on Sado Island. In Tokyo we recorded the complete version including the Gagaku performers of Kaguyahime, with conductor / composer Maki Ishii. With this tape I went to Jiri Kylian, who was so enthusiastic that he choreographed the ballet Kaguyahime, which we premiered – again at the Holland Festival- on the 1st of June 1988. With Katsuji Kondo as soloist. Many performances at home and abroad would follow and the friendship with Kodo has always remained. The performances in Paris and Montreal are among the absolute highlights in working together with Kodo.
Circle percussion was the first professional percussion ensemble in the world that, thanks to Kodo and my very good friend and taiko builder Asano Akitoshi, was able to integrate the sound of these instruments – built by Asano Taiko Company since 1609 – into our percussion culture. Drums of the world was Circle Percussion’s first program that brought together percussion instruments from all parts of the world with the associated specialist players and managed to make a program from the world performing and rhythm tradition. Two more program’s would follow.
I still follow Kodo and saw and heard how the company has developed over all those years into the leading taiko group that is not afraid of experimenting with other cultures. Bravo! And my sincerest congratulations with your 40th anniversary!