Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living art form. In Japanese the word “kodo” conveys two meanings: the first is “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 asleep by its thunderous vibrations. Read in a different way, the word can also 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 3700 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.
Kodo strives to both preserve and re-interpret traditional Japanese performing arts. Beyond this, members on tours and research trips all over the globe have brought back to Sado a kaleidoscope of world music and experiences that now exerts a strong influence on the group’s performances and compositions. Collaborations with other artists and composers extend across the musical spectrum, and Kodo’s lack of preconceptions about its music continues to produce startling new fusion and forms.