Earth Celebration
US $265
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Earth Celebration at Sado Island home of the Kodo drummers
Papers – Fabriano, card, metallic
Framed Size 640 x 450 mm
 
What is this?
The Kodo drummers come from Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture. Every August they hold the three day Earth Celebration Festival there. There are open-air concerts including some guest musicians from around the world who perform with them, and many fringe events including Kodo members teaching taiko (Japanese drum) workshops. The Harbor Market with international food, drinks and crafts is set up on the waterfront.
On the top of a hill in a park, there is an expanse of grass surrounded by trees which gives the impression of a natural amphitheatre, and this is where the stage sits. Guests lie on the grass under the stars, feeling the beat of the drums through the earth.
People come from all over the world to see this event, the only time the public can see the Kodo drummers performing on home soil. The locals at Ogi celebrate with Kodo and their guests by decorating their houses with Earth Celebration flags, noren (doorway curtains) and home-made bamboo wind chimes.
History
Taiko-Japanese drums-have been part of Japan’s summer festivals for centuries. Kodo formed as a group in 1981 and the Earth Festival began in 1998. They call their tours “One Earth” a theme that embodies their desire to transcend language and cultural boundaries.
When the members of Kodo started to play in the 1970’s, issues related to Sado island’s youth leaving for larger cities became an increasing concern. With the aim of attracting young people to the island, Kodo began touring the world to raise money for a university on Sado for the study of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. They have achieved their goal.
About the taiko (drums)
The taiko drums that Kodo use can be roughly divided into three main categories: miya-daiko, oke-daiko, and shime-daiko. 
Oke-daiko are drums with a shell constructed like a barrel, whereas the other two are hollowed out of one solid piece of zelkova wood.  The shime-daiko have tuneable drumheads. The cowhide head of the drums are tacked on or fastened on with ropes that stretch along the sides of the drum body. The heads of the largest drums each measure over one meter in diameter and are made from the hide of one large cow.
Fun Facts
  • Lying on the grass listening to these amazing drummers perform, the vibration of the drums reverberates through your body. You literally feel as well as hear and see the drums! A multi-sensory experience.
  • In Japanese, Kodo means "heartbeat", which is considered to be the primal source of rhythm. The word also means "children of the drum" reflecting Kodo’s passion to play the drums with the heart of a child-- simple and innocent.
  • The Kodo drummers perform bare footed as they believe they are drawing on the rhythms in the earth.
  • The weight of the drum together with the stand (yatai) on which it rests is a staggering 400 kg. Kodo uses 30 to 50 taiko for a standard theatre performance.


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