And now a little international flavor. The season takes a slight break from its run of speakers and comedians with a unique and popular concert. I need not remind you that Austin is considered the live music capital of the world, but this upcoming show isn’t just anything you can see at a local venue. These are the world famous Kodo Drummers, returning to The Paramount for a one-night engagement.
“Ok,” you’re thinking, “but what is Kodo?”
The Kodo Drummers are a group of Japanese performers that are masters of the taiko (drum). a form of percussion-based art. Although most may think of the large instruments associated with taiko, it actually can be comprised of all sizes of drums for the folk and classical traditions. For thousands of years, the taiko has been viewed as a symbol of community, serving not only between individuals, but as a link also between people and the heavens. These drummers debuted at the 1981 Berlin Festival, and were so popular that they toured for the next seven years.
It should be noted also that the word “kodo” can be interpreted two ways in Japanese. First, it can refer to the “rhythm of a heartbeat.” Taiko is often said to reverberate like a mother’s heartbeat in the womb, giving a primal yet comforting vibration in its recital. Kodo can also be read as “children of the drum,” and that is an apt description of how these artists pound away with youthful exuberance.
As part of their 30th anniversary, the Kodo Drummers are conducting a “One Earth Tour” across North America. The tour brings these sounds of taiko drumming to audiences around the world. It is their hope that the transcendence of this music will remind us that we are all members of a larger community than the one immediately around us. That this “One Earth” is home to us all.
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Don’t just take my word for it.
Here’s a sample:
If so inclined, you can also listen to some of their music here. If your curiosity is piqued (as mine surely is), come to The Paramount and witness these performers live on stage. World unity and harmony rarely marches to the beat of such a rhythmic drum.
The Kodo Drummers will bring their “One Earth Tour” to The Paramount Theatre on Wednesday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m.