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Announcing New Kodo Album “Kaden”


New Release: Kodo “Kaden”

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Our new album “Kaden” will be released on Dec. 21 (Wed).

“Kaden” features nine original compositions that were created especially for our four recent “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions directed by Tamasaburo Bando: Legend, Mystery, Eternity, and Chaos. In September, we captured the tracks in the latest high-resolution audio at Sony Music Studios Tokyo.

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Each piece was honed on stage through numerous performances, then carefully recorded as a unique work in its own right. Each and every instrument shines with clarity thanks to the studio recording and new high-resolution sound. We look forward to sharing this album with you all.

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You can listen to samples of all the tracks online by visiting the Japanese webpages below.

Kodo Discography | Kaden
http://www.kodo.or.jp/discography/od018_ja.html

Kodo “Kaden” will be on sale from Dec. 21 at Kodo performance venues in Japan and Kodo Online Store.
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/

Kaden

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Artist Name: Kodo

Tracklist:
1. Seiten
2. Yuyami
3. Arrive
4. Toki no Ma
5. Kukai
6. Yogiri – Asayake Gumo
7. Ayaori
8. Kaden
9. Kei Kei

Recorded: Studio recording at Sony Music Studios, Sep. 2016.
Release Date: Dec. 21, 2016
Price: 3,240 yen (tax inc.)
Media Type(s): CD, digital download, audio streaming
Product Code: OD-018
Sales Agency: Otodaiku


“Kodo Calendar 2017″ On Sale Now!


“Kodo Calendar 2017″ On Sale Now!

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Our 2017 calendar features a bright array of colorful Kodo stage photos. It’s on sale now at Kodo Online Store, Kodo performance venues in Japan, and Sado Island Taiko Centre. 

▼For details in Japanese, see here:
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/91_1559.html

To order in English, please email us: store.eng[at]kodo.or.jp

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Kodo Online Store (Japanese)
http://www.kodo.or.jp/store/index.html

Kodo Online Store (English)
http://kodo.shop.multilingualcart.com/


“On Our Travels” by Yuichiro Funabashi


On Our Travels

Photo: Atsushi Sugano

In Vietnam

 

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all well.

In the past couple of years, Kodo has had more chances than usual to visit countries outside of Europe and North America. This year we gave performances in Vietnam, Brazil, and Korea. Last year we performed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Eastern Russia.

Photo: Takuro Susaki

“DADAN” Outdoor Performance in Brazil

I visited three of these countries this year with Kodo:

  • Brazil, just before the Olympic Games,
  • Korea, which has a sense of distance from Japan these days that is not geographical,
  • and Vietnam, whose considerable economic growth is being likened to that of our nation during its post-WW2 rapid economic growth period.
Photo: Yui Kawamoto

At “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul,” Korea

These concerts came about through rather challenging processes, unlike our established tours in Europe or North America, but the experiences we gained by spending quality time in these places with local people were all invaluable and rich. Above all, I was able to feel the power of performing arts and music, which bring people together for exchange that leads to mutual understanding.

 

Photo: Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

In Vietnam

While I am traveling, I have much more time to read books and articles than when I am at home on Sado Island. Some of my fellow Kodo members are also book lovers, so I often see people reading on the road as we travel from place to place. (Others listen to music, tap their drumsticks, watch performance videos, and so on.) Every day, I like to look through the newspaper, which is a habit I’ve somehow kept up since childhood.

 

Photo: Atsushi Sugano

On the road, one of the ways I enjoy my travels is by making a point of reading local newspapers and content related to the places we visit. This year I went to Brazil and Vietnam, so I read well-known travel journals by Kotaro Sawaki and Takeshi Kaiko. As I traveled from place to place, I wondered, “Is this the place he was talking about in his book?” If I have free time, going to a bookshop makes me feel refreshed. I am shocked to see that my bookshelves at home have suddenly become packed, but I think buying things that you like is a little investment in yourself. It enriches your soul. Well, that’s what I keep telling myself. When I buy and read books, I feel gratitude to everyone connected to their creation.

Photo: Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga

Less than two months remain in 2016 and we still have many places to visit on our travels.
As always, we will bring the “fruits” of our tours with us back to Sado Island, then set off again on further travels.

Yuichiro Funabashi, Kodo Ensemble Leader

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“Karuizawa Ohga Hall” by Kenta Nakagome


Karuizawa Ohga Hall

On Saturday, we performed at Karuizawa Ohga Hall in Nagano Prefecture.

Photo: Kenta Nakagome

Warming up for the performance

The hall is a pentagonal shape, which was apparently designed and calculated for the echo of sound inside. It is a wonderful venue.

Photo: Kenta Nakagome

The reverberations of our taiko were great, as was the weather in Karuizawa, so the combination of the location and day made for a really feel-good performance.

Photo: Kenta Nakagome

Tonight we have a performance in Iruma, Saitama.
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161101a_en.html

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Production Details
http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20160900oet_en.html

2016 Japan Tour Schedule
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/index_en.html#schedule26a

Dec. 14 (Wed), 2016 Fukuoka Performance
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161214a_en.html

Dec. 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 2016 Osaka Performances
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161217-18a_en.html

Dec. 21 (Wed)–25 (Sun), 2016 Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161221-25a_en.html


Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company


Taiko Workshop & Exchange with Shiki Theatre Company

On Oct. 30, we hosted an exchange event at Kodo Apprentice Centre for Kodo and Shiki Theatre Company. The Company came to Sado to give performances of “The Adventures of Ganba” for fifth & sixth grade elementary school students from all over the island. As soon as they arrived on Sado, they came straight here to see us!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Kodo apprentices welcomed the Company with a performance.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Kodo’s Eiichi Saito led a taiko workshop for our guests. He told them, “Feel everyone’s hearts connect as you play taiko together.”

Photo: Erika Ueda

It looks like the members of Shiki Theatre Company really enjoyed playing taiko.

Photo: Erika Ueda

 

Photo: Erika Ueda

Next, they showed us a scene from “The Adventures of Ganba” that features taiko!

 

Photo: Erika Ueda
We all enjoyed dinner together. The apprentices made curry from scratch and filled the tables with vegetable dishes made with fresh produce they harvested themselves. Of course, they also served up Sado’s famous “Okesa Kaki” persimmons. We had such a fun meal together. Most of our apprentices are around 20 years old and so were many of the Shiki Theatre Company performers. They also had an apprenticeship period in their training, so everyone had a lot in common. Everyone enjoyed talking to each other and it was a very fruitful exchange for all involved.

Photo: Erika Ueda

Photo: Erika Ueda

The Shiki Theatre Company members have a go at playing the big drum, o-daiko.

Shiki Theatre Company will perform on Nov. 1 at Amusement Sado for the children of Sado and our apprentices will help them out with the load-in and load-out.
Thank you for visiting us, Shiki Theatre Company! We are looking forward to seeing your performance! Break a leg!

Photo: Erika Ueda

Shiki Theatre Company with Eiichi Saito and the Kodo apprentices.


“Rehearsals for Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri” by Narumi Matsuda


Rehearsals for Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

We are enjoying the autumn sun here on Sado Island.

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

At Kodo Village, rehearsals are underway for the upcoming performances at Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri on Nov. 5 & 6 in Ise, Mie.

This annual event is a huge two-day taiko festival where groups from all over Japan gather to perform. Everyone spends the weekend enjoying a wide array of taiko performances. Admission is free, so please come along!

Photo: Narumi Matsuda

The Kodo cast for this event will be Yoshikazu Fujimoto, Motofumi Yamaguchi, Tomohiro Mitome, Tsuyoshi Maeda, Masaya Koike,  and Koji Miyagi. (Yoshie Abe is rehearsing with them in this photo, but she won’t be performing at the event.)

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“14th Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri”
Nov. 5 (Sat), 6 (Sun), 2016 Okage Yokocho Arcade in front of Ise Grand Shrine, Ise, Mie

http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20161105nihontaiko_en.html


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” – An Overview


“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” – An Overview

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

Over the past three years, the “Kodo One Earth Tour” productions “Mystery” (2013), “Eternity” (2014), and “Chaos” (2015) have intentionally excluded the most iconic symbol of the ensemble: the o-daiko, or big drum. Instead, these past three years of performances have presented Kodo’s next generation performing new compositions — a telling sign of the group’s determination to move forward. The latest production, “Spiral,” begins by taking a look back at the innovative repertoire composed under the guidance of Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando between 2009 and 2013.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The programme starts with a rousing piece, Kei Kei. The full cast takes to the stage playing taiko that are slung from their shoulders, thereby allowing the performers mobility amongst the reverberations. This captivating variation of the okedo-daiko (barrel drum) is further showcased in Phobos (2009), Mute (2013), and Kusa-wake (2013).

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

In Spiral, the performers are dressed in either all black or all white, their sleeveless costumes timeless and universal, sleek and subtle. The form-fitting outfits do not belong to any one culture. This allows today’s Kodo ensemble to freely express its sound without being culturally bound by their former stage attire: the Japanese knotted headband and workman’s coat, and the loincloth traditionally worn by each of Kodo’s big drum soloists.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

After its hiatus in recent One Earth Tour productions, the monolithic o-daiko returns to the stage in Spiral. In this performance, the drum appears in the programme under the familiar title: O-daiko. The name “O-daiko” has been honored by Kodo since 1975, when the mighty drum first appeared in the programmes of Kodo’s antecedent group, known as Ondekoza. The taiko remains the same, but this next generation of drummers delivers a dynamic new style of performance. There is no drum cart with lanterns, no loincloths, and no cymbals or flutes. Instead, the massive instrument is flanked by its Western counterparts the timpani and bass drum, which Kodo uses to conjure deep and powerful cadences. This rhythmic universe promises to stir an audience to its very core.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The first act ends with Kodo’s timeless signature piece, Monochrome (1977). Intricately crafted by modern composer Maki Ishii, Monochrome is a thorough investigation of the tonal range of the shime-daiko, a high-pitched roped drum. This piece contrasts the simple yet wild nature of taiko performance, which is emblematic of Kodo’s direction today, as its next generation forges forward using a balance of raw power and honed skills.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The second act commences with Color (2009), which utilizes the same roped drums of Monochrome, but in a completely different way. The performers put down their drumsticks and experiment with different percussive sounds. They tap the drums with their fingernails. They rub the drums with their hands, and they throw clusters of jingling bells onto the skins of the drums. Humor reveals itself in their onstage interactions as they rhythmically hum, sigh and shout to the beat. After the entrancing intensity of Monochrome, this light-hearted approach comes as a welcome relief.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

For the next piece, the stage darkens for the beautiful and captivating Ake no Myojo (2012). Female performers in flowing black skirts take to the stage to drum, sing, and dance as they spin in a perpetual state of sound and motion. Afterwards, the melodic bamboo flutes in Yuyami (2013) create an indescribable sense of nostalgia, which leads directly into the brand new piece, Ayaori (2016). An exploration of the myriad sounds of the odeko-daiko, Ayaori utilizes the performers’ dexterity and a range of drumsticks to conjure sharp and rich tones while deftly weaving them into a coherent whole.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

The finale arrives as the title piece, Rasen, which means “spiral.” Rasen features eight performers, the main soloist playing a large flat hirado drum. Surrounding him are seven performers on nagado (long) taiko, okedo (barrel) taiko, and timpani. This powerful octet produces rhythms of complexity and precision while revealing the rich variety of drumming techniques that Kodo has discovered during its evolution. To compose Rasen, Tamasaburo Bando brought a range of Kodo performers into the creative process. Fresh newcomers joined young up-and-coming performers and core soloists, as well as veterans whose careers span some three generations with Kodo.

As the title suggests, Rasen is a whirling helix depicting the evolution of Kodo through its decades of rich history. Phrases from exemplary pieces such as Yatai-bayashi (1973), Miyake (1982), and Tomoe (2003) transport the audience from era to era. It’s a soaring journey through Kodo’s past and into its future. As the strong winds of change blow through the ensemble, this climactic finale shows Kodo’s unwavering footing. The ensemble fully acknowledges its thirty-five year history — all while clearly proclaiming its intention to look to the future.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

When Tamasaburo Bando assumed the role of Kodo artistic director in 2012, he vowed to raise the artistry of taiko performing arts. The Spiral programme boldly demonstrates that his goal and his vision have manifested themselves in full.

Photo: Takashi Okamoto

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Production Details
http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20160900oet_en.html

2016 Japan Tour Schedule
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/index_en.html#schedule26a

Dec. 14 (Wed), 2016 Fukuoka Performance
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161214a_en.html

Dec. 17 (Sat), 18 (Sun), 2016 Osaka Performances
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161217-18a_en.html

Dec. 21 (Wed)–25 (Sun), 2016 Bunkyo Civic Hall, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/20161221-25a_en.html


So Kuramoto Visits Kodo Village


So Kuramoto Visits Kodo Village

Photo: Taro Nishita

On Oct. 4, Mr. So Kuramoto, a Japanese scriptwriter, playwright, and director, visited Kodo Village with his family. It was a fresh, sunny autumn day on Sado Island. Our visitors watched Yosuke Oda play o-daiko, the big drum, in our rehearsal hall. Then they went and observed the apprentices practising tea ceremony at our traditional homestead, Izumi-tei. Next, they had a look around our nearby facilities, Sado Island Taiko Centre and Fukaura Schoolhouse, before they traveled over to Kodo Apprentice Centre where they watched Yoshikazu Fujimoto lead the apprentices through a taiko practice session.

Photo: Taro Nishita

Mr. Kuramoto has presented “Furano Juku” workshops for years in Hokkaido, where he helps actors and scenario writers to cultivate their skills. He asked the apprentices many questions about their life at the Apprentice Centre, their training, and their thoughts and hopes. Everyone enjoyed this fun opportunity for exchange.

Photo: Taro Nishita

The apprentices sang a lively folksong at the end of this special visit.


“The 49th Country on Kodo’s Performance Travels: Vietnam” by Yui Kawamoto


The 49th Country on Kodo’s Performance Travels: Vietnam!

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Kodo just gave its first-ever performance in Vietnam! It was a school performance that was closed to the public. We were so happy to see Earth Celebration 2016 guest artist Bac Ha again. 

Next up, we have performances on Oct. 14 (tonight) and Oct. 17.


“A Visit to Shiretoko Goko Lakes” by Kenta Nakagome


A Visit to Shiretoko Goko Lakes

Photo: Kenta Nakagome

I visited Shiretoko Goko Lakes the day before our “Spiral” performance in Abashiri, Hokkaido.

Photo: Kenta NakagomePhoto: Kenta Nakagome

Surrounded by nature, the peace and quiet there felt so good.

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Luckily, I didn’t encounter any bears!

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“Kodo One Earth Tour 2016: Spiral” Performance Details
http://www.kodo.or.jp/news/20160900oet_en.html

Schedule
http://www.kodo.or.jp/oet/index_en.html#schedule26a


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