Earth Celebration



Earth Celebration
The annual international performing arts festival hosted by taiko ensemble Kodo and Sado Island
Earth Celebration
Sado Island, Japan
Japan’s longest running music festival, described by the New York Times as “Japan’s leading music event.”
Outdoor concerts, workshops, free fringe performances, an open-air market, and more!
As the name suggests,"Earth Celebration" transcends borders and cultures to bring a brilliant collage of art
and music to a very special corner of the world. Next summer, come celebrate with us.
About Earth Celebration (EC)
Since 1988, Kodo, a world renowned taiko ensemble and Japan's most internationally acclaimed performing arts group, has held an
annual music festival called "Earth Celebration” (EC), produced in cooperation with Sado City. For nearly a quarter century, EC has
been a venue for Kodo to invite artists they have met in their travels back to its home of Sado Island to engage in unprecedented
musical collaborations. Under the theme "Tataku" (to beat a rhythm), the most primal human expression, and set against the rich natural
splendor of Sado, EC seeks an alternative global culture through musical and cultural collaborations with artists from around the world.
Traditional Sado Performing Arts
QR Code and video production by
SET Japan.
"Superlatives don't really exist to convey the primal power
and bravura beauty of Kodo." - Chicago Tribune (USA)
Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese
drum, the taiko, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living
art-form. The taiko is something you experience viscerally as the
sound of the drum travels from the player and reverberates in the
body of the listener. Since the group's debut at the Berlin Festival in
1981, Kodo's ongoing "One Earth Tour" has brought the experience
of the taiko to 46 countries around the world for over 3,500 total
performances. Spending about a third of the year overseas, a third
touring in Japan and a third resting and preparing new material on
Sado Island, Kodo strives to both preserve and reinterpret traditional
Japanese performing arts as they develop new styles that transcend
all genres and borders. Since 1988, the group has had the pleasure
of inviting artists they have met in their travels back to their home of
Sado Island to engage in unprecedented musical collaborations at
this annual international music festival.
Shiroyama Concerts
The Shiroyama Concerts, EC's main concert events, take place up
on the hill in Shiroyama Park's lush green surroundings. This is the
outdoor stage where Kodo releases all inhibitions and makes the
most of performing on the group’s home of Sado Island. In addition
to presenting their own unique programs here, Kodo also invites
artists who have traveled from across the globe to this very special
corner of the world for one-of-a-kind collaborations that transcend
language and cultural barriers. Each year EC offers three Shiroyama
Concerts with different programs daily. A star-filled sky and the chirp
of cicadas complete this natural outdoor arena. What better place to
celebrate the earth?
Earth Celebration Featured Artists
Between the Years of 1988 to 2011 Include the Following:
Elvin Jones (USA), Yosuke Yamashita (Japan), Drummers of Burundi
(Burundi), Hamza El'Din (Sudan), Love, Joy & Peace Ensemble (USA),
Pung Cholam (India), Suar Agung (Indonesia/Bali), Aja Addy & Adjeley
Mensah (Ghana), Milton Cardona & Eya Aranla (USA), Doudou N'Diaye
Rose Percussion Orchestra (Senegal), Renegades Steel Drum Orchestra
(Trinidad & Tobago), Kangsadan (Thailand), Costa Caribe (Venezuela),
Seoul Kamuraku Performing Arts Company (Korea), Bulgarian Voices
"Angelite" (Bulgaria), Babatunde Olatunji (Nigeria), Donal Lunny Group
(Ireland), Kazumi Watanabe (Japan), Red Willow Dancers (USA), HuunHuur-Tu (Russia/Tuva), Kim Duk Soo's Samul Nori (Korea), Jacky Micaelli
(France/Corsica), Zakir Hussain (India), Giovanii Hidalgo (Puerto Rico),
Airto Moreira & Flora Purim (Brazil), Badenya les Freres Coulibaly (Burkina
Faso), Fanfare Ciocarlia (Romania), Carlos Nunez (Spain), Tamango's
Urban Tap (USA), Olodum (Brazil), BLØF (Netherlands), A Filetta (France/
Corsica), Ranaei Family (Iran), KO no kai (Japan)
Various Events
One of the goals of Earth Celebration is to foster mutual understanding
through shared experiences. Our aim is make EC a festival not just to observe,
but to actively participate in as well!
Workshops provide participants with the opportunity to play music,
make handicrafts, and experience the magic of performing folk arts
from all over Japan, not to mention the vibrant traditional arts of
Sado Island.
Fringe Events
The Fringe stage is an open venue where EC guests can share
some of their own artistic expressions in performances that are free
and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to apply, regardless of
performance genre or experience.
EC Exhibitions range from showcases of local Sado crafts to the
artwork of Kodo members and guest artists. Rare photo exhibitions
can also offer an inside look at the history of Kodo and Earth
Harbour Market
Local Tours
In many ways the Harbour Market is ”EC Central” and it’s the
perfect place to eat, shop, or relax on the lawn where you'll find
friends listening to live performances, dancing, playing drums,
laying back, and enjoying the best of EC's carefree atmosphere.
With so much to do over EC weekend, you may find it hard to find
time to explore the island. For those who can only stay a short
time, we offer local sightseeing tours that feature the beauty and
historical assets of the local Ogi peninsula.
What Guest Artists Have to Say About Earth Celebration
EC is a unique event.
It enjoys the same
impeccable production
values as everything Kodo
does. The underlying
respect for nature is
reflected in the way it is
organized, and this adds
grace to every detail. I felt
privileged to play to the EC audience, because
the people were there for the spirit of the
- Donal Lunny (Ireland. EC Guest Artist ’96,
I love the air and the
people of Sado with all my
heart. I think Kodo, who
make their home here on
this island, feel music in
the same way that I do.
Timing (breath) is very
important when it comes
to music. If the timing is right, music can be
created together without words. We are proving
that now [at Earth Celebration].
- Aja Addy (Ghana. EC Guest Artist ’91, ’92,
’97, ’99. Died 2002.)
My EC experience still
resonates in my body
as if it was yesterday.
It was amazing to be in
an environment where
everything is for the
essence of the love of
life. Working with Kodo
was an amazing spiritual
journey from the beginning to the end and very
inspiring. I wish for the people of the planet to
find a way to celebrate the earth with the same
passion the Kodo players demonstrate. I am
looking forward to giving back to the earth all
the rhythms she provides.
- Tamango (French Guiana / USA. EC Guest
Artist ’06, ’07)
To join the Kodo drummers
was more than a great
musical experience—it was
to encounter a way of living
and feeling music that is no
longer abundant in the socalled civilized world. I was
especially surprised by
Kodo’s total devotion, their
amazing work capacity, their sacred modesty,
their love for tradition and, at the same time,
their acceptance of "contemporaneity." But
above all, by their contagious joy that no human
being can resist. All these are aims I probably
have not experienced since my musical
adolescence. Without a doubt, all this made
me feel a "Kodo piper", who dreams of bringing
together again the Celtic lands ends with the
small paradise of Sado, where we all felt at
- Carlos Nunez (Spain. EC Guest Artist '05)
For event details, please visit the official EC Website.
Earth Celebration Practical Information
Held annually, typically in mid August for three days
over a weekend. Nightly main-event concerts are held
in the early evening.
Event Details & Tickets
Guest artists, concert schedules, workshop lineup, &
other event details are announced in May and tickets
go on sale in early June. Workshop participation and
fringe performance applications also open in June.
Sado Island
Most event venues are held in Ogi, a small port town
on the southern peninsula of Sado Island, Niigata
From the early 17th century, when one of the
world's richest gold mines was discovered, Sado
Island served as a keystone in Japan's economy
and a vital stopover for the kitamaebune trade
ships that plied Japan's coast stretching from
Osaka to Hokkaido. These ships brought not only
trade but a lively cultural infusion. As a result, Sado
has over thirty Noh theaters dotted throughout
the island, it is not uncommon for farmers to hum
refrains from the Noh repertoire as they work their
fields. Together with its three genres of puppet
theatre and a wealth of festivals held throughout
the year, Sado has been referred to as a "floating
treasure chest" of traditional culture. Sado is not
only favored with lush mountain scenery encircled
by the sea, it is also the last Japanese home of
the severely endangered Japanese Crested Ibis
(Nipponia Nippon). In 2011, Sado Island was
defined by FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization
of the United Nations Organization) as a Globally
Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).
There are increased bus services operating during Earth Celebration to make it
easy to get to Ogi from accommodations all over Sado Island. Some rental cars
and bicycles are also available. Details on public transport to the EC venue and
model courses for transport to Sado are listed on the EC website annually.
Hotels, Japanese inns, cabins, and campsites are
available. Advance bookings are recommended.
Sado Island is a great place for cycling, diving, hiking,
and camping. Make the most of your stay with an
extended visit. There are local festivals held on Sado
Island throughout the summer where you can see the
locals upholding traditional dances, songs and music.
Earth Celebration hosts “Sado Takigi Noh Theatre” pre-events every year before
the festival begins. Sado and Niigata Prefecture are famous for rice, and Sado’s
clean water and cool climate makes for excellent rice and sake (rice wine). Sake
breweries offer tasting tours so you can find one to suit your palate. Great rice
coupled with the ocean’s bounty means you won’t find fresher or tastier sushi!
Sado offers the best of traditional Japan in a local, friendly, and easy to explore
scale, with stunning natural scenery and historical sites.
For inquiries about Sado Island, sightseeing information,
and accommodations, etc, please contact the Sado Tourism Association.
Sado Tourism Association
Tel. +81-(0)259-27-5000 Fax. +81-(0)259-23-5030
Email: [email protected]
Travel to Sado Island
The closest major airport to Sado Is. is Niigata Airport,
which has both domestic and international connections.
The fastest way to reach Sado Island from Tokyo is by
bullet train (shinkansen) to Niigata, and then a jet foil or
ferry to Sado. Ferry services run regularly in the summer
to three ports on Sado Island. Model courses for access
travel are announced on the festival website each year
when tickets go on sale.
For visitors to Japan, we recommend coming to Niigata
using a JR pass or JR East pass (available for foreign
The main
Earth Celebration
venues are in Ogi
JR Pass (For travel
anywhere in Japan)
JR East Pass (For
travel from Tokyo to Naoetsu or Niigata Ports)
Sado Island
Akadomari Port
Ogi Port
Ryotsu Port
Niigata Port
Teradomari Port
Naoetsu Port
Sado Island
Sea of
Echigo Yuzawa
Ryotsu Port
Joetsu Shinkansen:
2 hours (JR Bullet Train)
Niigata Airport
Narita Airport
Tokyo ⇔ Niigata
Narita Airport
Akadomari Port
Ogi Port
Ryotsu Port ⇔ Niigata Port
Car Ferry: 2.5 hours Jetfoil: 1 hour
Ogi Port ⇔ Naoetsu Port
Car Ferry: 2.7 hours
Inquiries: Earth Celebration Committee
Akadomari Port ⇔ Teradomari Port
High Speed Boat: 1 hour
Kodo Cultural Foundation (Kodo), 148-1 Ogi Kanetashinden, Sado, Niigata 952-0611, Japan
Tel. +81(0)259-81-4100 Fax. +81(0)259-86-3631 Email: [email protected] Website:

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