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Voice of the Earth performs traditional Japanese music

Alex Underwood
Mesa Legend

The concert took place near Red Rock Tania Ritko/Mesa Legend
The concert took place near Red Rock
Tania Ritko/Mesa Legend

The Voice of the Earth concert put on by Ken Koshio, featuring Chieko Kojima, from the famous Japanese Taiko group Kodo, as well as Masumi O’Brien Sawako Ama and Rieko Ivaska from Los Angeles resonated in Sedona last Saturday.  The event attracted over 100 people to the Sedona Posse Grounds HUB where the concert was held. The night was filled with a blend of Japanese taiko drumming combined with dancing and singing that, on many occasions, got the audience to join in the fun. The show ended off with Koshio and the rest of the performers playing the traditional Matsuri dance song. When asked about why Koshio decided to call the concert “The Voice of the Earth,” he said it was because of the Earth itself. “The planet Earth is always giving us signals, vibrations, “Koshio said. “Sometimes as earthquakes, sometimes as a tsunami.
We often don’t feel much, but still, the planet is running around, and we are not always sensitive to these things.

This place, Sedona, we call it “Red Rocks,” because there is a lot of iron, energy, so it is like a magnet. That kind of vibration, I feel is a voice of the planet, so I felt that playing taiko here and singing would amplify the vibrations to the people. “ This concert, especially with Kojima, who has been traveling around the world with a taiko and the spirit of Japanese harmony and had enough sense to feel the energy in Sedona, could help amplify the energy and vibrations of the Earth; so we called it “The Voice of the Earth.” If the taiko playing and singing wasn’t enough to amplify the vibrations of the earth, then the applause in between songs and at the end of the performance certainly had to have done the trick.  Koshio and everyone on the stage received a standing ovation on two separate occasions, one before the last song was even performed.

“The Voice of the Earth ‘troupe’ arrived at the Hub with an energy and joy that brought something uniquely alive to the Sedona audience. This building has never experienced anything like the stories, style, power and beauty of this performance.  Playing as it did on Oct. 1 what better way to see in the fall, embrace a multi-cultural experience and fully feel every beat and breath and note right through our own skins and hearts,” said Kate Hawkes, Producing Director of Red Earth Theatre and Manager of the Sedona Hub.  Hawkes made a heartwarming speech at the end of the performance expressing her desire to bring more Japanese music and performances to the Sedona Hub. After the audience cleared out of the Hub, Koshio made his own heartwarming speech, expressing his deep gratitude to everyone that came and helped, from setting up to putting everything away, to just being there to show support. It is clear that Koshio truly cares for and appreciates everyone that takes time out of their day to support him and the Wokankan Dojo in Phoenix where he teaches taiko.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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