In Japanese, the word “Kodo” holds a double meaning. It can be translated as “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm. However, our group’s name is written with different characters, which mean “drum” and “child.” This reflects Kodo’s desire to play the drums with the simple heart of a child. To commemorate our 40th anniversary in 2021, we created two new touring productions based on our name: “Tsuzumi” takes its name and theme from the drum character, and “Warabe” from the child element.
Tsuzumi, the first work, opens with a very special piece in our ensemble’s history that is seldom performed on tour—Dyu-Ha. The late Maki Ishii, a modern composer who was introduced to Kodo by conductor Seiji Ozawa, presented this piece to Kodo as a gift to congratulate our ensemble on its debut in 1981. We will perform Dyu-Ha on this tour for the first time in North America since 1989. Today’s programme also features Ishii’s masterpiece Monochrome and other Kodo signature pieces such as O-daiko, Yatai-bayashi, and Zoku, coupled with new compositions. Join us as we trace our group’s origins back to the beginning, to reflect on our history and reaffirm what has shaped Kodo today.