TAIKO 2.0 Guest Artist Profile: Chieko Kojima

I’ll be writing little previews on many guest artists leading up to our March 12th Taiko 2.0 concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  This is really ambitious concert for us.  We are collaborating with five guest artists from around the world and will be debuting several new pieces.  Kris has also working on our new ambitious “Burn Your Own” system that will allow audience members to bring a blank CD to the concert and take home an audio recording of the concert!  This is definitely On Ensemble’s most creatively ambitious concert to date.

Our first guest artist profile is the amazing dancer Chieko Kojima.  Chieko was born in Iwafune, Tochigi Prefecture and joined Ondekoza in 1976.  When Kodo was formed Chieko distinguished herself as one of the few regular performing members and became Kodo’s principal dancer.  As a member of Kodo she has toured around the world and has become known for her innovative interpretations of Japanese folk dance.  Chieko also performs with the song and dance group “Hanayui” and producers her own solo performances and collaborations.  She is currently on tour with Kaoru Watanabe and luckily we were able to work out her schedule so that she could join us for this special Cerritos Center concert.

On a personal note Chieko’s taiko playing style has been very influential to my own development as a taiko player.  When I first saw her play “Hana Hachijo” I was blown away by the beautiful her innovative movements and the way her movements and rhythms combined to make such effortless phrases.  It was that kind of effortless phrasing of movement and rhythm that I tried to incorporate into the open source piece “Omiyage”.

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