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March 23, 2023 | 7:00 pm

Kodo One Earth Tour 2023: TSUZUMI

KODO, a group of Japanese artists, musicians and performers whose name can be translated as “heartbeat,” uses many musical instruments, but focuses primarily on taiko, traditional Japanese drums. Tzuzumi traces the group’s origins back to the beginning, reflecting on the history and reaffirming what has shaped KODO. This work opens with modern composer Maki Ishii’s “Dyu-Ha,” a piece performed for the first time in North America since 1989. Other pieces include Ishii’s masterpiece “Monochrome” as well as KODO signature pieces such as “O-daiko,” “Yatai-bayashi” and “Zoku.”
Under the theme “One Earth,” Kodo endeavors to bring the sound of the taiko to all corners of the globe so [their] music and message can resonate with myriad cultures and ways of life.

The theme of Tsuzumi is Kodo’s home base, Sado Island. With its lush nature and distinct history, this special place has been the starting point for Kodo’s diverse local and international activities for the past four decades. Kodo’s projects are constantly guided by three words that underpin their mission: living, learning, creating.

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LOCATION: Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

INFORMATION AND TICKETS: Contact theschaefercenter@appstate.edu, call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046, visit the box office at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, 733 Rivers Street, Boone, NC, or purchase online.

$25 adults; $20 local resident (proof of residency in Watauga, Ashe, or Avery counties); $10 students

Thursday, March 23, 2023 | 7pm; doors open at 6pm


Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living art-form. Since the group’s debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo has given over 6,500 performances on all five continents, spending about a third of the year overseas, a third touring in Japan and a third rehearsing and preparing new material on Sado Island. Kodo strives to both preserve and re-interpret traditional Japanese performing arts. Beyond this, members on tours and research trips all over the globe have brought back to Sado a kaleidoscope of world music and experiences which now exerts a strong influence on the group’s performances and compositions. Collaborations with other artists and composers extend right across the musical spectrum, and Kodo’s lack of preconceptions about its music continues to produce startling new fusion and forms.

Steep Canyon Rangers
Steep Canyon Rangers

photos byTakashi Okamoto


“Traditional rituals recast as theater, and contemporary thoughts about ancient instruments both figure in Kodo’s performance, which includes ancient and modern compositions. Yet with tense, angular postures, with stylized, frozen gestures and, in one playful piece, with animal-like scampering and slithering, Kodo reminds its audience that, above all, its music is a matter of flesh and blood, wood and stretched skin. Kodo can raise the roof, but the group can also show extraordinary finesse.” —The New York Times

“Having spent some time with them, jazz drummer and composer Max Roach thinks of the Japanese drummers of Kodo as regular guys. On stage it’s another story – clad in sweatbands and loincloths, they are like percussionist kamikazes. You expect them to drum till they drop. ‘The technique they use to play percussion instruments is totally different from anything I’ve ever seen,’ he says… ‘They deal with that ‘visual sound’ more than anyone I’ve ever known.’” —The Village Voice

“Indeed, if there is such a thing as perfection in music, Kodo comes as near to it as any group in the world.” —The Boston Globe

“Superlatives don’t really exist to convey the primal power and bravura beauty of Kodo. … Throughout, the devil of it is the combination of the discipline of a surgeon’s scalpel with the primitive, muscular endurance of a cavalry charge. The speed and dexterity are as impressive as the physical tenacity is breathtaking.” —Chicago Tribune

“Balancing a deadly aggression with utter tranquility, their sound stretches from the lightest of rainfall to cataclysmic thunderclaps, from pleasant laughter to discordant fear and from silence to – just once here – a wall of sound, as high, frightening and impregnable as a mountain. Musicians, theatre directors and all interested in the sheer power of sound to feed emotions should take note.” —The Guardian / UK

“The spectator is crushed by their power and then suddenly, silence. Complete silence as if life had stopped in an instant, no applause, not even a breath. I have never seen a show where the audience was so close to suffocating. Don’t miss this, the sound of their drums will be engraved forever on your memory.” —Le Quotidien de Paris / FRANCE

Dynamic, electrifying vision ….Nothing will prepare you for the 1,000 lb. drum assault, the precise timing or the wall of sound. An essential experience.” —Time Out / UK

We would like to thank our corporate, hotel and media sponsors for their generous support of the 2022-23 season.

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March 23, 2023
7:00 pm
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Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
733 Rivers St
Boone, NC 28607 United States
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