This time I’ve created a work called Evolution, which will tour through Japan and around the world. We introduced this performance, made to commemorate the 35th year since the founding of Kodo, in August 2016 on the second night of a
three-night concert at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.
The aim of this piece is the thought that the variety of works that have accumulated over our past concerts combine with the new works that Kodo is performing now, creating a spiral advancing into the future.
I made some new works for this, including the fun of “Monochrome” at the end of the first act, and “Color” at the beginning of the second act. “Rasen” (Spiral) and “Ayaori” will be performed for the first time in North America. We also added a fresh atmosphere to the very large drums.
Kodo is evolving as it moves in a spiral from past into the future. I hope that our efforts will be appreciated in the musical world, and I look forward to your enjoyment of our performances.
Kei Kei, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2012
Phobos, Composed by Kenta Nakagome, 2009
Mute, Composed by Yosuke Oda, 2013
Kusawake, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2013
O-daiko, Traditional, arranged by Kodo (Kenta Nakagome, Hayato Otsuka)
Monochrome, Composed by Maki Ishii, 1977
- - - INTERMISSION - - -
Color, Composed by Tamasaburo Bando & Masayuki Sakamoto, 2009
Ake no Myojo, Composed by Yosuke Oda, 2012
Yuyami, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2013
Ayaori, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2016
Rasen, Composed by Tamasaburo Bando, 2016
Performers: Mitsuru Ishizuka, Kenta Nakagome, Eri Uchida, Yuta Sumiyoshi, Jun Jidai, Ryoma Tsurumi, Kengo Watanabe, Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, Hayato Otsuka, Tomoe Miura, Mizuki Yoneyama, Issei Kohira, Yuta Kimura, Yuki Hirata, Chihiro Watanabe, Taiyo Onoda
Tamasaburo Bando, Artistic Director
Directed by Tamasaburo Bando, Evolution marks the 35th anniversary of the internationally acclaimed taiko performing arts ensemble Kodo. This brand new production is a culmination of Kodo's ever-evolving artistic voyage, which boldly displays the future of taiko on stage. For decades, Kodo has led the genre of taiko performance with dedication and innovation. With Evolution, Kodo promises to drive its next generation to new heights of creative expression.
Tamasaburo Bando has crafted a program that places Kodo's best-known work alongside some of the latest core repertoire. Signature pieces like “O‑daiko” and “Monochrome,” which have been synonymous with Kodo since the days of its antecedent group, are now integrated amongst more recent work such as “Kusawake” and “Color.”
This combination of classic and current is complemented by completely new compositions that were created especially for this production. “Ayaori” is intricate and uplifting, while the climactic “Rasen” (Spiral) features motifs of an array of Kodo pieces from various eras of the ensemble's history. The result is a rousing whirl of energy that carries the audience into a new dimension of taiko performance.
Since 1971, Sado Island has been Kodo’s home and the platform from which the group reaches out to the world. With nature’s warm embrace evident in each of her four seasons, Sado is an extraordinary place where traditional ways of life and the island’s indigenous performing arts still thrive today. This island is the fountain of inspiration for Kodo and the guiding force behind the group’s creative lifestyle. Their goal is to find a harmonious balance between people and the natural world.
Each time Kodo ventures off the island, the ensemble encounters new people, customs, and traditional performing arts that are ingrained in the lifestyles of each locale. Both similarities and differences prompt Kodo members to pause and reflect upon the importance of the varied and rich cultures that colour our world. These life lessons permeate each performer’s skin and become an invisible source of their expression. It is through this process of living, learning and creating that Kodo cultivates a unique aesthetic and sensitivity, reaching out toward a new world culture rooted in the rich possibilities of a peaceful coexistence between humanity and nature.
Thanks to the support of many friends, the Kodo Cultural Foundation was established in 1997 in order to increase Kodo’s capacity for outreach projects on Sado Island. Its primary mission is to carry out non-profit activities focused on social education and the notion of giving back to the local community. The Kodo Cultural Foundation is committed to the cultural and environmental preservation of Sado Island and oversees many ambitious projects. From the conservation of local habitats to the revitalisation of rare craft traditions and Noh theatres throughout Sado Island, the highly collaborative Kodo Cultural Foundation supports many vital initiatives. Its activities include holding workshops, planning the annual Earth Celebration, creating a research library, managing the Kodo Apprentice Centre and the Sado Island Taiko Centre, and carrying out research in the performing arts.
In a converted schoolhouse in Kakinoura on Sado Island, the young people who will continue and expand on Kodo’s traditions are trained, not just in musical technique but also in all matters of body and spirit. Beginning in April, apprentices live communally and train for two years. From this group, probationary members are selected in January of the second year. These chosen few spend one year as junior members, and if they are successful, they then become full Kodo members. Kodo seeks people of all backgrounds who are interested in becoming apprentices, as well as the next generation of Kodo players and staff. Apprentices live communally in the Kodo Apprentice Centre where they learn taiko, dance, song, and other traditional arts.
Kenichi Mashiko (S.L.S.)
Assistant Stage Manager