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Kodo Drummers


Kodo Drummers by John Noyd
February 2009

In Japanese the word “Kodo” conveys two meanings: “heartbeat” the primal source of all rhythm and, “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child. Bringing their One Earth tour to Madison’s Overture Center on February 21st Japan’s premiere taiko drumming ensemble continue their quest to unite the world through sound, transcending cultural barriers to remind us of our membership in that larger community—the world.  Taiko is not simply percussion,” long-time Kodo member Akimoto explains. “It’s a part of life, and part of communities. It unites people with people, and also people with nature and even with gods.” Community is a central theme in Kodo’s philosophy. More than a musical group, it is a village that harvests rice, runs a two-year apprentice program, and even crafts eco-friendly Earth Furniture. In concert, the thundering drums startle and mesmerize, racing in arresting rhythms that rumble in war-like marches and ripple in whimsical jigs, seismic salutations whose relentless beats collapse consciousness, altering moods and elevating the spirit in collective thought. A venerable tradition nearly thirty years old, Kodo is a sight to behold, a forceful reminder of individuals working together, united in a common goal.

As stated in their web site (www.kodo.or.jp), it is through this process of Living, Learning, and Creating that Kodo cultivates a unique aesthetic and sensitivity, reaching out toward a new world culture rooted in the rich possibilities of a peaceful coexistence between humanity and nature.


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