Posts by Staff
Jan. 14, 2017
New Year’s Mochi Making at Kodo Village
As you can see, Kodo Village is covered in deep snow and has been since we returned from our winter vacation.
Despite the cold conditions, we are all keeping well!
Today we enjoyed one of Kodo Village’s annual events: mochi making.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese pounded rice cake.
On behalf of Kodo, I will take this opportunity to ask all of you for your continued encouragement throughout the new year ahead!
Dec. 3, 2016
Taiko Fun in Los Angeles!
Hi, everyone! Today, I am reporting from Los Angeles, California.
I grew up in this sunny city up until I began working for Kodo, as one of the staff members who handles international projects.
I am currently back home to support the first portion of Yuta Sumiyoshi’s solo performances and workshops in the United States.
The United States have one of the largest taiko population outside of Japan, and the taiko culture that exists here is one of a kind.
Everyone who is affiliated with taiko is mostly connected through the taiko community, and we exchange new ideas and thoughts in full support of one another.
Today, I would like to talk about some of the American taiko culture that Yuta Sumiyoshi was able to experience during our time in Los Angeles.
The first thing we did after flying in was an intensive workshop at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute inside Asano Taiko USA.
Despite the fact that it was Thanksgiving weekend, we had a full house for Yuta’s 5-hour workshop!
We had a wide range of age and experience levels, and everyone had a fun, challenging time!
This was Yuta’s first time conducting a workshop in the U.S., and he was able to utilize his English skills that he’s been working on.
For this workshop, he taught on multi-drum set.
In America, shime taiko and okedo taiko are commonly used for a taiko set, but for this workshop, we used two drums with a closer tone to sing the rhythmic phrases, which may have led to some new discoveries for the participants.
And I also want to tell you all about collegiate taiko as well!
The number of collegiate taiko groups have increased throughout recent years and there are more than 15 collegiate taiko groups just in California.
The first ever collegiate group was formed in 1990 at my alma mater, UCLA, called Kyodo Taiko.
I believe that my current job at Kodo was made possible with what I gained through my collegiate taiko experience, and I was thrilled to be back to introduce one of our star performers, Yuta Sumiyoshi, for a workshop.
And of course the session was held in the parking structure of the university!
With so many active clubs on campus, it is always a challenge to find a good practice space that can accommodate the loud sound that the taiko makes.
Hearing the car alarms go off during the workshop reminded me of my college days practicing really hard all the time.
Many groups in the US plays on these taiko drums made out of wine barrels, beautifully refined for performance.
Not many collegiate taiko groups have the opportunity to learn from professionals in Japan, so I was excited to see everyone immersed in the workshop, and to hear them tell me, “That was the most fun I’ve had playing taiko in a very long time”.
Our time in Los Angeles will end with an exciting show which is already SOLD OUT!
On Ensemble is one of the most respected ensembles in the world, recognized for infusing the powerful rhythms of taiko with a wide range of musical influences from jazz and rock.
Joining On Ensemble is former Kodo performer Kaoru Watanabe from New York, to present new material from his album Néo, with Fumi Tanakadate, a multifaceted musician based in New York City, and our very own Yuta Sumiyoshi.
The complexity of the musical groove created by these musicians is like no other.
Several rehearsals have taken place so far in Los Angeles, and at last, the performance is tomorrow!
If you still want to check out what Yuta Sumiyoshi has been up to with his collaborations, he will also be in San Diego to guest appear in Kaoru Watanabe’s concert featuring his new album, Neo on December 5th!
Yuta Sumiyoshi Solo Projects in the USA (Nov.–Dec. 2016)
Spuddy Needs Your Help
Today, I’d like to let you know about a special member of the Kodo family who needs your help.
Yamaimo-kun, nicknamed Spuddy in English due to his resemblance to a certain root vegetable, is one of the large taiko that lives at Sado Island Taiko Centre. He is one of two massive taiko at the Centre that were handmade by Kodo members. Yamaimo-kun and his friend Butabana-chan, a.k.a Miss Piggy, have been working hard at our centre since 2007 when it opened and they were completed. They welcome everyone who wants to have a hit and have become the mascots of our interactive facility.
After taking a beating almost every day for a decade, poor Spuddy now has holes in both of his heads. Shinchan-sensei has patched him up with small pieces of hide, but the bandages are only a temporary fix.
Since the beginning of the year, we have had a donation box at the Centre so that visitors can help us buy new heads for Spuddy. In eleven months, we have raised around 70,000 yen for his “treatment.”
Spuddy is a big boy and his heads are about 1.4m in diameter, so it will cost around 100,000 yen to fix him. We have decided to schedule this procedure during January when there are less visitors due to the cold winter season.
Now that winter is upon us, we have decided to try to raise the remaining funds required by asking for donations online.
If you would like to help us mend Spuddy, please contact the Kodo Cultural Foundation for further details. http://www.kodo.or.jp/foundation/index_en.html
Thank you in advance for your kindness!
Rehearsals for Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri
We are enjoying the autumn sun here on Sado Island.
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!
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.)
“14th Shinon Kansha Nihon Taiko Matsuri”
Nov. 5 (Sat), 6 (Sun), 2016 Okage Yokocho Arcade in front of Ise Grand Shrine, Ise, Mie
The 49th Country on Kodo’s Performance Travels: Vietnam!
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.
- Oct. 14 (Fri), 2016 Kodo Guest Appearance at Dong Kinh Co Nhac Performance, part of Kodo Debut Performances in Vietnam “On Location with ‘Project Connect Asia with Traditional Performing Arts’” (Hanoi, Vietnam)
- Oct. 17 (Mon), 2016 Kodo Vietnam Performance “The 2nd ‘Asia–Europe’ New Music Festival in Vietnam 2016 –The Friendship Melodies Concert–” (Vinh Yen, Vietnam)
Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul
On Oct. 2 we took part in an event in Korea called “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul.”
As the title of the event suggests, it was a fun day of cultural exchange with performances by artists from Japan and Korea. We were so happy to have the chance at this event to perform with Kim Duk Soo and SamulNori for Kodo’s first time in 16 years.
We prepared for this collaboration with only a few long-distance conversations, but when we rehearsed together the day before, it all came together in perfect unison.
It was a short but really fulfilling stay and experience!
Kodo Appearances at “Korea Japan Exchange Festival 2016 in Seoul”
Oct. 2 (Sun), 2016 Seoul, Republic of Korea
KASA MIX 2016
Rumored to be “life-changing,” this biennial program called KASA MIX is an intensive program designed for taiko players from outside of Japan.
With the current growth of the international taiko culture and community, the KASA MIX participants have gathered from countries all over the world such as United States, Canada, England, Argentina.
When they arrived on Sado, the KASA MIX participants joined our apprentices in their unique lifestyle at the Kodo Apprentice Centre.
They participated in every aspect, from the early morning workout to eating meals, cleaning, and taking baths together.
They took a variety of different workshops from our veteran Kodo performing members, and experienced the great seasonal nature of Sado.
Timing worked out perfectly to observe one of the practices of ondeko (demon drumming) in the Iwakubi community, and had the opportunity to learn an ondeko dance themselves, from the Kasuga community in the latter half of their stay.
And of course, they enjoyed everything else that this island has to offer.
Gathering from all over the world, the participants were able to share with us some taiko stories from their country or area.
The different reasons, history, spirit and culture that each person had shared with us have opened up a bigger world for our young apprentices who had no knowledge on the taiko culture outside of Japan.
As they discovered their new findings of taiko in the world, it looked to me that they found another reason to strive to become a Kodo performing member.
KASA MIX has come to an end once again with very warm and heart-filling memories through this short time we had together on Sado island.
As one of the staff members for this program, I was very moved by the unification we have created through taiko, which brought a sense of nostalgic comfort to my heart.
Thank you to everyone who participated this year! We look forward to seeing you again somewhere in this world.
Next one is coming up again in two years! To all taiko enthusiasts all over the world, we look forward to having you here on Sado for our next KASA MIX!
Last Chance to Apply for “Kodo Juku 2016″
This year we will hold Eiichi Saito’s annual live-in taiko workshop “Kodo Juku” from Oct. 7 (Fri) through 10 (Mon/Public Hol.) at the Kodo Apprentice Centre on Sado Island. Eiichi Saito took over the reigns to facilitate Kodo Juku in 1992 and back then we held Kodo Juku 4 times a year. For some time now, we have held it just once a year but one thing that has barely changed is the content. Each year the participants tell us how the simple taiko drum led them to find new connections between their own body and soul and helped them to create wonderful new bonds with people they had only just met at the workshop.
Everyone is welcome at Kodo Juku, whether you’ve played taiko before or not. First-timers will discover the special power of taiko and experienced players will discover many hints to playing taiko that truly moves people. The only condition is that you’ve never been to Eiichi Saito’s Kodo Juku before, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime workshop with no repeaters or groups of 2 or more.
The application deadline is July 30, so don’t delay! We look forward to receiving your application soon and welcoming you to Sado Island for Kodo Juku this autumn.
The second year apprentices act as staff during Kodo Juku each year, learning valuable skills as they host the participants. Eiichi and the apprentices can’t wait to welcome everyone to Kodo Juku this fall!
Kodo Juku: Eiichi Saito’s Taiko Workshop
Oct. 7 (Fri)–10 (Mon/Public Hol.), 2016 Kodo Apprentice Centre, Kakinoura, Sado Island, Niigata
Details for Kodo Juku 2016
June 24, 2016
Rehearsal for “Matsurine”
Yesterday Kodo rehearsed with Miyake-jima Geino Doshikai for the “Matsurine” collaboration today. This concert is jam-packed with “Miyake Taiko” and I am pleased to say it’s already sold out. I am looking forward to the energy that will be created by this powerful performance with a full-house audience.
Kodo Appearance at Nagaoka Lyric Hall 20th Anniversary Concert “Matsurine 2016″
Last week Asakusa in Tokyo held its annual festival, Sanja Matsuri. This week the area is back to normal… which for Asakusa means bustling with tourists!
From the day after the festival, I was greeted by this wonderful sight all along the main street through Asakusa, Kaminarimon-dori.
A big thank you to the Asakusa Shopping Street Promotion Association for these banners! We are always so happy to receive such great support from the people of Asakusa.
Kodo can feel this warm circle of support growing every year.
This year, we will present a brand new production in Asakusa called “Spirited Summer,” which will be performed exclusively here. I really hope many people will join us in Asakusa for these performances in July. Of course, we hope you’ll make a day of it and have a great time visiting Asakusa.
▼ [Don't Miss Out! Last Tickets Now on Sale!] Kodo Special Performance in Asakusa “Spirited Summer”
July 1 (Fri)–3 (Sun), 2016 Asakusa Public Hall, Taito Ward, Tokyo
July 1 (Fri) 15:00
July 2 (Sat) 11:00 / 15:00 (2 performances)
July 3 (Sun) 11:00 / 15:00 (2 performances)