-photo by Takashi Okamoto
The Kimmel Cultural Campus is excited to host the traditional Japanese taiko drumming performers of Kodo in their new tour One Earth Tour: Tsuzumi, on Tuesday, March 7th at the Miller Theater.
An international phenomenon for four decades, Kodo explores the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum (we have dubbed this internally as the “womb drum” LOL), forging new directions for a vibrant living art form. With Tsuzumi, the company traces its origins back to its beginnings and reflects on its legacy. The performance will take you through the traditional rhythms of regional Japan with some contemporary pieces sprinkled throughout the two-hour performance.
Originating from the Japanese island of Sado Island, Kodo, in its entirety, is made up of around 100 members – ranging from 20 to 72 years old, and includes full-time staff, casual staff, and apprentices. Performed on the historical Taiko drums, which are made up of wood and animal hide, the words Kodo Taiko translates to “children of the drum” which reflects the ensembles aspiration to play the drums with a heart of the child. Kodo Taiko incorporates other traditional Japanese instruments such as the fue (bamboo flute), shamisen (Japanese banjo), koto (harp), and narimono (metal percussion instruments) along with dance and vocals, and a variety of Western instruments such as the snare drums and timpani.
Kodo has given over 7,000 performances in 53 countries across the globe, as well as working with thousands of school children across Japan through the ongoing “School Workshop Performance” tours. Kodo has headlined international events, performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, featured in the official 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and has been featured on motional picture soundtracks.
Some interesting facts about Kodo:
1) The Taiko drum is said to be similar to a mother’s heartbeat felt from inside the womb, often soothing babies to sleep during performances.
2) Members of the ensemble must go through a rigorous two-year apprenticeship at the Kodo Apprentice Centre on Kakinoura, Sado Island.
3) Apprentices live in a communal style dormitory where they learn all the traditional arts of the rich natural culture of Sado Island, including taiko, bamboo flute, dance, song, and more. After the apprenticeship, members who are selected to become junior members of the KODO group must go through another year of training on the job and then become a full-fledge Kodo member if passing the final stage.
Kodo is part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus family discovery series. Learn more and purchase tickets here.