Tue 30 Jan, 7.30pm
Brighton Dome Concert Hall
Raising the roof of the Dome’s Concert Hall, the Kodo One Earth 2018: Evolution tour brings us a show embodying the Japanese tradition of taiko drumming, infused with new rhythms and contemporary influences that keep their style fresh and lively. From the softest whispers of the bamboo flutes, to the thunderstorm energy of the man size drum decorated with a mitsuedomoe motif, the show is never less than electrifying.
Based on Sado island, the ensemble has a career spanning more than three decades, including thousands of performances in America and Europe, whilst preserving the taiko tradition through workshops and their school and cultural foundation.
The first half of the show evolves from classic patterns and arrangements, presented with different sized drums and styles, where beating rhythms were combined with more playful ones. The performers danced with their instruments, creating with the balance of their movements a musical perfection. Not a single move is out of place, the softest strokes and the pounding beats are all full of intention and significance, like the katas of a martial art or the style of kabuki theatre.
The performance grows through dialogues, solos woven into main rhythm patterns, spiralling and growing into a full conversation between artist and instruments. Different solo performances take their turns to raise the voice of each one of their drums over the pulsating beat. A balance between opposites, contrasts of volume and speeds wrapping the audience in the sound of the drum beats. Powerful – like a “heartbeat”, one of the possible translations of the word Kodo – the most primal form of rhythm.
The other possible meaning of this word is “Children of the drum”, which summarises the spirit of Kodo artists, trying to express through their performance with the pure heart of a child. From the minimalists arrangements, mimicking clock ticking and becoming roaring rain, to the full blast of energy of “Chaos”. From the black and white of their outfits, light and darkness, beats and pauses, Kodo’s performance embraced us all, and left the Brighton Dome between resounding ovations, echoing the heartfelt explosion of rhythm never witnessed before.