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KODO: The Heartbeat of Japan comes to Cleveland

By February 20, 2007General

Thursday, March 1, 2007 @7:30 pm.-Japan’s premier drumming group will showcase traditional Japanese dance, music, and vocal arrangements at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Since their debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, KODO has given over 3,000 widely acclaimed performances in 44 countries, from war-torn Croatia to America’s Carnegie Hall on their ‘One Earth Tour.’  KODO strives to both preserve and re-interpret traditional Japanese performing arts by forging new directions for a vibrant living art-form.

Based on Sado Island – located in the Sea of Japan off the coast of mainland Japan, KODO has been exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko.  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 asleep 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 their drums simply, with the heart of a child.

In ancient Japan the taiko was a symbol of the rural community and it is said that the limits of the village were defined not by geography but by the furthest distance at which the taiko could be heard.  It is KODO’s hope with the ‘One Earth Tour’ to bring the sound of the taiko to people around the globe, so that we may all be reminded of our membership in the much larger community:  the world.

During their performances, the KODO performers are clad in sweatbands and loincloths and meticulously beat their drums to create rhythms and patterns.  Drums with names like “Hirado-daiko” (flat-barrel drum), “Chu-daiko” (middle-sized drum) and the giant 800 pound “O-daiko,” (a double headed drum made from the trunk of an African Bubinga tree and the hide of a large cow) all have been chosen and woven into tightly composed and choreographed rhythmic and musical tapestries.

Tickets are $30 for Adults; $20 for Children 12 and under as well as for Senior Citizens 60 and older.  A preshow dinner will also be held at the Alumni Foundation House at 5:45pm.  Dinner tickets are $25.00 each. 

For dinner tickets and performance tickets, contact the Box Office at 662-846-4626.  Box office hours are 9am-12pm; and 1pm-5pm.