Saturday, June 12, 2010
Last weekend before heading off for China Aya, her parents, and I went to a concert for a group called Kodo. This group is very interesting for a number of reasons. First is that the name Kodo can interestingly have two meanings that both fit the group very well. The first meaning is "heartbeat" which is easy enough to see fits a drumming group and the second means "children of the drum" which is even more obvious. Second, the group is based on an island in the Sea of Japan/East Sea called Sado. Sado is about a 1 hour ferry ride from the mainland and if you go back to a post I wrote in September you will see that I have visited Sado. It is interesting that the group is based there because there is not a whole lot of anything on Sado, which makes it easy for them to live a secluded and spartan lifestyle. Also very interesting is that apprentices who hope to be players spend two years living together communally in what was once an abandoned schoolhouse. After this period, apprentices who have been selected to become junior members spend one more year training and practicing in the hope that at the end of the year they will be chosen to become part of the Kodo organization. Members are very dedicated! The most visually interesting thing is the players endurance. Members will at times strip down to fundoshi, which is like underwear, and play. When this happens you can see the physical strength it takes in the contours of the players well muscled bodies.
The performance was beautiful and I was very glad to have seen it. There were songs that sounded like falling rain, traditional songs, and some that were very intense. The endurance of the players was quite impressive! It made me miss Japan even though I still have another 2 months here. If I ever get a chance to see Kodo again I will leap at the opportunity. If you would like to learn more about Kodo or hear some of their music you can visit their website here.