Get ready to feel the beat at the Michigan Theater when the
University Musical Society brings the Japanese drumming group,
Kodo, to Ann Arbor for three performances. Having given over 2,200
performances in 38 countries, Kodo returns to share its tradition
with the University for the ninth time.
The name Kodo literally reads “drum-child,” which the group
interprets as instrumental purity, or an innocent and childlike
approach to the music. Kodo also means “heartbeat,” which the group
understands to be humanity’s primary rhythmical unit.
Through its performances, Kodo offers a peek at the culture of a
Japanese rural community by using the Japanese drum called the
taiko. In rural Japan, the village boundary was determined by the
last location the taiko drum could be heard. Kodo also incorporates
the use of the o-daiko drum, which is carved out of a single tree
and weighs 900-pounds.
The history of Kodo’s music only furthers the powerful beating
of Kodo’s drums. The performance is filled with energy, and as the
group’s manager, Takashi Akamine, explains, “We’d be most pleased
if we could offer or share a bit of our energy [with the
audience].” In fact, it was the sheer power of Kodo’s performance
that drew Takashi to the group in the first place, and made him
inquire about what is now his current job.
Kodo’s appeal not only stems from this overwhelming energy, but
also from a unique sense of rhythm and resonance. Kodo uses
compositions written by friends and mentors with rhythmic
experience, along with group members’ compositions to create a
diverse collection of sound in its program.
Kodo also touches its powerful and unique performance with a
dash of color through bright costumes, visually captivating its
So sound the drums and march to the Michigan Theater for the
rhythmic sensation Kodo.