KODO Unleashes Thunderous Taiko Drumming in Indianapolis

If you’ve ever been to a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, you’ve heard the booming power of a timpani drum. These giants of classical music add sternum vibrating power to the delicate clarinets, violins, and horns of the concert hall while holding the rhythm of the entire performance together. Now, imagine dozens of similar sized drums playing simultaneously, complete with dancers, singers, and traditional Japanese instruments, and you’ll have an idea of what it’s like to attend a performance of KODO, the internationally famous Japanese drum troupe. KODO is a performing arts group from the Japanese region of Sado Island that specializes in taiko, a type of Japanese drum ensemble that has been a part of Japanese culture (in various forms) for over 2,000 years. On Sunday, February 27, 2011, you’ll get to experience this powerful bit of pan-Japanese culture in Indianapolis when KODO comes to Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler University.

Video of KODO performing “Irodori;” KODO is a taiko drumming troupe that will be performing in Indianapolis on Sunday, February 27, 2011


KODO has been performing their unique blend of Japanese performance art since their debut performance at the Berlin Festival in 1981. Since then, the taiko drumming troupe has played over 3,300 performances on every continent except Antarctica, hosted dozens of taiko drumming workshops, and spread their message of rhythm and unity throughout the world. The word “Kodo” in Japanese has two meanings: the first is “heartbeat,” that first human rhythm that informs all other artificial rhythms, and the other is “children of the drum,” which, according to KODO’s website, is “a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play the drums simply, with the heart of a child.” You too can tap into your Indianapolis children‘s sense of wonder if you choose to attend KODO’s performance at Clowes Memorial Hall.

Video of the KODO taiko drumming troupe performing live at Massey Hall in Toronto in 2007; KODO will be performing in Indianapolis on February 27.


KODO‘s mission is simple: “Under the theme ‘One Earth,’ KODO brings the sound of the taiko to all corners of the globe as our music and message resonates with myriad cultures and ways of life.” Not just a traditional taiko group, KODO brings influences from all around the world to their performances. KODO performances combine traditional folk pieces that have been revitalized for a modern audience, compositions written by special guest musicians, and pieces written by the members of KODO that integrate the various cultures they’ve experienced throughout the troupe’s long history. If you attend this Indianapolis event on Sunday, you’ll also witness the traditional taiko format: jo-ha-kyū, where the performance is split into a distinct beginning, middle, and a frenetic, intense finale.

Video: trailer for a documentary about the KODO taiko drumming troupe called KODO: Heartbeat Drummers of Japan; KODO will be performing in Indianapolis February 27


Before KODO’s performance at the Indianapolis university, everyone with a ticket is invited to take part in a pre-performance discussion about the history of taiko, Japanese drumming, and its cultural significance. This educational discussion will be led by Jon Crabiel, a Butler University Percussion Artist in Residence, and Sally Childs-Helton, an ethnomusicologist. The discussion will take place at 3:30, half an hour before KODO’s performance, in the Krannert Room.

Video of KODO in action during one of their many education workshops; KODO will be performing in Indianapolis on February 27


Indianapolis art fans should enjoy the living art on display by KODO at Clowes Memorial Hall. Time Out/UK said “Nothing will prepare you for the 1,000 lb. drum assault, the precise timing or the wall of sound. An essential experience.” And essential it is, whether you’re an Indianapolis music fan looking for a new experience or a long time follower of Japanese culture and music. The classic Indianapolis performing arts venue on the campus of Butler University will be alive with thunderous drums, inspired dancing, and peerless musicianship at 4:00 on Sunday, February 27, 2011. Tickets to this one of a kind Indianapolis event are $30, $35, or $40 for adults and $35, $30, or $25 for seniors or students at Indianapolis schools. The doors to Clowes open at 1:30, and early guests will be treated to live piano pieces by Indianapolis musician Michael Douce. Experience authentic and awe inspiring Japanese drumming right in the heart of the Circle City with KODO on Sunday, February 27, 2011 at Clowes Memorial Hall.

KODO at Clowes Memorial Hall
Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 4:00 p.m.
Tickets: $40 – $30/adults, $35 – $25/students and seniors
Event Homepage

Clowes Memorial Hall
4602 Sunset Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46220

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