KODO presents the North American Premiere of Evolution January-March 2019
The World’s Foremost Taiko Drumming Ensemble Brings Unparalleled Artistry and Athleticism to 27 American Cities, Celebrating a Vibrant Living Art-Form
“Indeed, if there is such a thing as perfection in music, Kodo comes as near to it as any group in the world.” – Boston Globe
“Superlatives don’t really exist to convey the primal power and bravura beauty of Kodo.” – Chicago Tribune
August 29, 2018 (New York, NY) – Kodo — the world’s most celebrated professional taiko company — will present their program Evolution in North America for the first time, visiting 27 cities in the U.S. and Canada between January and March 2019. Evolution invites audiences to step into the world of Kodo, created by their past, their present, and their dedication to the future of taiko performing arts. This production showcases Kodo’s perpetual creative evolution under the artistic direction of the legendary Tamasaburo Bando. 2019 tour highlights include stops at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Chicago’s Symphony Center and National Arts Center in Canada. Complete schedule below.
For decades, Kodo has led the genre of taiko performance with dedication and innovation. With Evolution, Kodo expands to new heights of creative expression. Tamasaburo Bando has crafted a program that places Kodo’s best-known work alongside some of the core repertoire, highlighting both men and women of the ensemble. Signature pieces like “O-daiko” and “Monochrome”, which have been synonymous with Kodo since group’s early days, are now integrated with more recent work such as “Kusa-wake” and “Color.” This combination of classic and current is complemented by new compositions created especially for this production. “Ayaori” is intricate and uplifting, while the climactic “Rasen” features motifs of an array of Kodo pieces from various eras of the ensemble’s history. The result is a rousing whirl of energy that carries the audience into a new dimension of taiko performance.
Evolution is a program of large-scale works performing on a wide variety of drums with impeccable precision, from the Katsugi Daiko (or “portable taiko”) drums to timpani to the massive 660-pound o-daiko drums. The show also highlights dance, song and bamboo flute performances, and incorporates surprising visual effects. Following its premiere in August 2016 at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, as one of three Kodo 35th Anniversary Commemorative Concerts, Evolution toured extensively throughout Japan and Europe. The 2019 North American tour will be the first time this work is presented in the Americas. The touring company of Evolution features 16 Kodo members: fifteen full and one junior. Within the company, there are four women, and two members born in the United States: Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga, a member since 2016 from Michigan, and Taiyo Onoda, a junior member since 2018 from California. Program repertoire below. For a preview of Evolution, visit HERE.
In Japanese, the word “Kodo” holds a double meaning. It can be translated as “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm. If read in a different context however, Kodo can also mean “children of the drum,” which reflects the group’s desire to play the drums with the simple heart of a child. Since the group’s debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo has given 6,000 performances in 50 countries on five continents. The ensemble also participates in a wide range of projects and events, which includes headlining major international festivals, contributing to motion picture soundtracks, and collaborating with a wide variety of global performing arts leaders.
Kodo’s members and staff are based in Kodo Village, a 33 acre self-contained section of the Ogi Peninsula on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan, isolated from the rest of the island’s residents. Since 1971 Sado Island has been the home to Kodo, some of the most disciplined performers in the world, whose work and artistry transcends borders, genre and time. In this beautiful natural environment Kodo developed their extraordinary compound, devoted to creativity, education and exchange which includes a central office building, a rehearsal hall, residential building and guest house, a workshop, and a recording studio. For more information, visit HERE.
Also located on Sado Island, about an hour away from Kodo Village, is the legendary Kodo Apprentice Centre. The two-year apprenticeship, which is open to any qualified individual world-wide with advanced Japanese language skills, includes learning the fundamentals of traditional Japanese culture, and developing practical skills through training and activities with Kodo. As apprentices, company hopefuls’ time is solely dedicated not only to taiko performance, but to a variety of disciplines such as farm work and folk dance and song, all while living communally without television, internet, phone, alcohol consumption, or dating. After successfully completing their studies at Kodo Apprentice Centre, apprentices may be selected to become junior members of Kodo Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble for one year, during which they train and perform as probationary members of Kodo. At the end of this trial year, junior members who pass a final selection stage are invited to become fully-fledged Kodo performers. For more information, visit HERE.
About Tamasaburo Bando
Tamasaburo Bando is a leading Kabuki actor, and the most popular and celebrated onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) currently on stage. His theatrical directing credits include Romeo & Juliet and Kaijin Besso and he has directed the films Gekashitsu, Yume no Onna, and Tenshu Monogatari. Bando accepted the invitation to become Kodo’s artistic director from 2012-2016, and was recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder (“Living National Treasure”) in Japan. In 2013 he was decorated with the highest honor––Commander–– of France’s Order of Arts and Letters.
Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution (North America)
1/31/2019 The Smith Center for the Performing Arts Las Vegas, NV
2/2 & 3/2019 Zellerbach Hall Berkeley, CA
2/5/2019 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR
2/7/2019 Mesa Arts Center Mesa, AZ
2/9/2019 Granada Theater Santa Barbara, CA
2/10/2019 Renee & Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall Costa Mesa, CA
2/12/2019 Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CA
2/16/2019 Macky Auditorium Boulder, CO
2/17/2019 Lincoln Center Fort Collins Ft. Collins, CO
2/19/2019 Lied Center of Kansas Lawrence, KS
2/22/2019 Mayo Civic Center: Presentation Hall Rochester, MN
2/23/2019 Pablo Center at the Confluence Eau Claire, WI
2/26/2019 Midland Center for the Arts Midland, MI
2/28/2019 Symphony Center Chicago, IL
3/1/2019 The Palladium Carmel, IN
3/2/2019 Krannert Center’s Tryon Festival Theatre Urbana, IL
3/4/2019 Dartmouth College, Spaulding Auditorium Hanover, NH
3/6/2019 Univ of MA Amherst Fine Arts Center Amherst, MA
3/8 & 9/2019 Quick Center Fairfield, CT
3/12/2019 Kimmel Center Philadelphia, PA
3/13/2019 Williams Center for the Arts Easton, PA
3/14/2019 Mayo Center for the Performing Arts Morristown, NJ
3/16/2019 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
3/18/2019 Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Burlington, VT
3/21/2019 Sony Centre for Performing Arts Toronto, Ontario, CAN
3/23/2019 Place des Arts Montreal, Quebec CAN
3/25/2019 National Arts Center Ottawa, Ontario CAN
Kei Kei, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2012
Phobos, Composed by Kenta Nakagome 2009
Mute, Composed by Yosuke Oda 2013
Kusawake, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi 2013
O-daiko, Traditional, arranged by Kodo
Monochrome, Composed by Maki Ishii, 1977
Color, Composed by Masayuki Sakamoto, 2009
Ake no Myojo, Composed by Yosuke Oda, 2012
Yuyami, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2013
Ayaori, Composed by Yuta Sumiyoshi, 2016
Rasen, Composed by Tamasaburo Bando, 2016