Kodo: One World

7 June 2009, Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, London.

16_kodo_lgI was the only person in the office that was excited about seeing Kodo again! Hehe, they are brilliant, I love them. It’s a little cheesy, especially when they come out in sumo underwear and play the huge drum, but the technical skills they have are amazing. I’ll keep the image small so that it minimizes butt cheekage 😉

Kodo means heartbeat, but it also means children of the drum. Such a fitting name for the group and for the art. Drumming is a way of life for these artists. They come from Sado Island in the north of Japan, where they eat, sleep and breathe this culture in a village that they have built – The Kodo Village. Many of them start when they are very young, and it’s a skill that is passed on from generation to generation

KODO5The piece that took my breath away when they came two years ago still remains as my favourite. It features seven drummers sitting in a line. They play very intricate sequences, weaving in and out of each other, interspersing more intense sections with comparatively peaceful ones. Another movement that I like is what I call the lunge move hehe, where they lunge from side to side, using the force and momentum of their movements to hit the drums. The strength they have is incredible… not just in their arms, but also in their legs, torsos, back… not what you imagine drummers to have! Very fit 😀

So strictly speaking, when it’s pure drumming (not that this was), do you call it music? I had to think about this one for a second. I guess for me, Kodo is primarily performance art, and then it’s music.


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