Kodo, “O-Daiko”

Kodo, “O-Daiko”

Kodō is a professional taiko drumming troupe. Based on Sado Island, Japan, they have had a role in popularizing taiko drumming, both in Japan and abroad. They regularly tour Japan, Europe, and the United States.

Although the main focus of the performance is taiko drumming, other traditional Japanese musical instruments such as fue and shamisen make an appearance on stage as do traditional dance and vocal performance. Kodo’s performance include pieces based on the traditional rhythms of regional Japan, pieces composed for Kodo by contemporary songwriters, and pieces written by Kodo members themselves. The numbers that Kodo perform can change from concert to concert. Kodo’s performance normally lasts for about one hour and forty minutes.

In Japanese the word “Kodo” conveys two meanings: “heartbeat” the primal source of all rhythm and, read in a different way, the word can mean “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child.

One of the most memorable drums of many taiko ensembles is the ōdaiko (大太鼓). For many, the ōdaiko solo is the embodiment of power due to the size of the drum, the volume, and the endurance it takes to perform. The ōdaiko is the largest drum of all taiko, if not the entire world. The largest ōdaiko are too big to move and permanently reside inside a temple or shrine.

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