Japan’s famous Kodo Drummers will be in Toronto this coming Thursday, March 12 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. The ‘Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery’ is the company’s newest production featuring traditional taiko drumming with stunning visuals and theatrics.
Kodo’s drummers are majestic, powerful and yet beautifully presented. Among several instruments played by Kodo is a staggering 882-pound O-daiko, a drum carved from the trunk of a single African Bubinga tree. Living communally on Sado Island, Kodo’s training regimen includes daily 10 km runs and hours upon hours of drum practice, with the aim to not only train the body, but the mind.
Mystery is the second Kodo program directed by famed kabuki artist Tamasaburo Bando, who took the helm as full-time artistic director of Kodo in 2012. Tamasaburo is Japan’s leading specialist of onnagata – the theatrical portrayal of a female kabuki character by a male actor – and has been named a National Living Treasure, an accolade given to individuals who are guardians of an important asset of Japanese culture. France has recently made Tamasaburo a Commander of the Order of Arts and Literature for his achievements in arts and culture. As a dancer, he has collaborated with artists in various fields, including Yo-Yo Ma, Maurice Bejart and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
In Japanese, the word “Kodo” conveys two meanings. Firstly, “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm. The sound of the great taiko is said to resemble a mother’s heartbeat as felt in the womb, and it is no myth that babies are often lulled to sleep by its thunderous vibrations. Secondly, read in a different way, the word can mean “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play the drums simply, with the heart of a child. Since the group’s debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo has given over 3,700 performances on all five continents, spending about a third of the year overseas, a third touring in Japan and a third rehearsing and preparing new material on Sado Island. The group is renowned for their athletic, intensely physical performances and their on-stage joyful energy is as palpable as the rolling thunder of their drums.
For more information, or for tickets visit www.sonycentre.ca