Bang! Kodo’s taiko beats return to Vancouver

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

If your new year has gotten off to a wishy-washy start, it’s not too late: you can still welcome 2015 with a bang.

On January 29, Kodo is coming to Vancouver with its Japanese drumming magic. The group, which is based on Sado Island in Japan, is known for its powerful primal rhythms. (In Japanese, Kodo means both “heartbeat” and “children of the drum”.)

I’ve seen Kodo on stage previously in Japan and when the group was in Vancouver in 2011, and the group is electrifying—not just for its music but the sheer physical strength that they put into their performances.

This time, Kodo is adding a bit of mystery to the mix.

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

The Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery was created by kabuki artist Tamasaburo Bando, who took the helm as the group’s artistic director in 2012. This is his second work for the group.

“I created this piece with the idea that theatre-goers would experience the mood of mystery that they meet at a temple or a shrine, or when you go into the forest–places that are removed from daily life,” Bando writes on Kodo’s website. It’s “a feeling that emerges from deep darkness. At the end of the show, I’ll be happy if they leave with a sense of purification.”

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

Kodo | Photo credit Takashi Okamoto

Sounds intriguing. The show is meant to combine the dynamism of taiko with the beauty and rituals of worshiping various gods, as well as the ancient Japanese reverence for nature. That translates on-stage to rumbling earth, large serpent coils, demons and lions, and more.

And there will be some fantastic drumming to shake off the winter blues.

Kodo plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for just one night, Thursday, January 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets go from $49 to $69 through Northern Tickets or by phone at 604-569-1144/1-855-551-9747. See Kodo’s website for more info.

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