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Sizzling At Kodo'S Earth Celebration '97 In Japan

by Bonnie Carpenter

The Gods of Weather smiled broadly on this year 's 10th anniversary Earth Celebration. Rather than the tempermental typhoons so often plaguing the events on Sado-gashima, we were blessed with 4 days of perfect summer weather. All concerts were held outdoors this year and camping on the beach was delightful amidst cool breezes of the Japan Sea.

KODO "rocked the house" on the first day of the concerts with Donal Lunny of Ireland making everyone get up and dance. We were charmed by the lilt of Calypso on the second day with the Renegades Steel Drums Orchestra from Trinidad and Tobago with a jazz pianist/jazz guitar master/ metal rock percussionist and Leonard Eto ( formerly of KODO) group following up as the second part of the show.The third day was a Jegog bamboo xylophone gamelan from Bali,complete with lovely Balinese dancers and an amazingly energetic Percussion orchestra from Senegal as the final half. The last concert for EC was a rollicking jam session with KODO interspersed throughout the various types of ethnic sounds.

Taiko workshops were held by Yoshikazu Fujimoto, KODO's main O-daiko drummer and master teacher. Yoshikazu-san taught us a traditional welcome dance drumming piece from his hometown of Wachi, near Kyoto. A rare chance to learn from an extraordinary perfomer.

The BIG NEWS is that Earth Celebration will be moved from summer to May 15th through the 17th. for next year. KODO will be touring Europe in summer next year,gathering research on how to improve Earth Celebration and will possibly alternate summer and spring dates every other year.

Information on Earth Celebration '98 will be available in February of 1998.

Copyright 1997 by Bonnie Carpenter, used by permission.

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