Kodo – One Earth Tour: Evolution



Japanese Drumming Sensation, Kodo,
Presents Final Production by Celebrated Artistic Director
Tamasaburo Bando in
– One Earth Tour: Evolution –

World-renowned Japanese taiko drumming ensemble returns to Toronto
with exhilarating masterpiece of percussion and performance

Toronto, ON — Japan’s internationally acclaimed drumming phenomenon Kodo makes their highly anticipated return to the Toronto stage with One Earth Tour: Evolution, March 21, 2019 at Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Directed by legendary Kabuki performer and Kodo Artistic Director Tamasaburo Bando, One Earth Tour: Evolution marks the 35th anniversary of the renowned drumming ensemble, and the final production with Bando at the helm. The thrilling program forges a new direction for this vibrant living art form, placing Kodo’s signature work alongside audience favourites from their latest core repertoire and new compositions specially created for this production. The result is a rousing whirl of energy that promises to drive the company’s next generation to new heights of creative expression.

“Every time I see Kodo perform, I am inspired by their unparalleled dedication, athleticism, and dexterity,” says Mark Hammond, the Canadian promoter of Kodo for three decades. “They combine surgical precision and finesse with pulse-pounding strength and endurance. In One Earth Tour: Evolution, they push the boundaries further, exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum and the fruition of the human spirit through music.”

Having premiered One Earth Tour: Evolution in August 2016 in Tokyo, to commemorate the company’s 35th anniversary, the production represents the culmination of Kodo’s ever-evolving artistic journey, which boldly displays the future of taiko on stage. It is the latest iteration of their more than three-decade long One Earth Tour, which embodies Kodo’s desire to transcend language and cultural boundaries and remind audiences of the universal bond we share as human beings. The program integrates well-known works from their immense repertoire such as O-daiko and Monochrome, which have become synonymous with Kodo over the years, alongside the presentation of more recent work such as Kusa-wake and Colour. New pieces including the intricate and uplifting Ayaori and the climactic Rasen will be performed for the first time in North America as part of this all-encompassing production. Rasen, which means spiral, closes the performance with a helix of sound and spirit that connects Kodo’s history to its present, while driving the ensemble headlong into the future.

In Japanese, the word “Kodo” holds a double meaning. It can be translated as both “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm, and “children of the drum,” reflecting the group’s desire to play the drums with the simple heart of a child. Since their debut 1981, Kodo has given more than 6,000 performances in 50 countries on five continents under the banner One Earth Tour. Praised for their “primal power and bravura beauty” (Chicago Tribune), they have gained recognition the world over as a group dedicated to the preservation and re-interpretation of traditional Japanese performing arts, especially taiko drumming. The company’s 30 performing members, including 22 men, eight women, and five junior members, ranging in age from 21 to 64, perform with traditional taiko drums made from wood and animal hide, as well as fue (bamboo flute) shamisen (Japanese banjo), koto (harp) abd narimono (metal percussion instruments), along with dance and vocals.

In addition to its performing schedule, Kodo works with thousands of school children in their ongoing School Workshop Performance tours throughout Japan. The ensemble also participates in a wide range of projects and events, which includes headlining major international festivals, contributing to motion picture soundtracks, and collaborating with a variety of global performing arts leaders.

Since 1971, Kodo has made their home on the idyllic Sado Island situated off Japan’s eastern coast. The island is the foundation of inspiration for Kodo and the guiding force behind the group’s creative lifestyle. About one third of the ensemble’s year is spent there creating new works and rehearsing.

Artistic Director Bando is a leading Kabuki actor, and the most popular and celebrated onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) currently on stage. He has demonstrated his profound aesthetic across numerous platforms, receiving the highest acclaim for his many artistic endeavors. Bando accepted the invitation to become Kodo’s artistic director from 2012 through 2016. In September 2012, he was recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder (“Living National Treasure”) and in 2013 he was decorated with the highest honor of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, Commander.

Tickets from $55 (plus applicable fees) at ticketmaster.ca, or by calling 1.855.872.7669

Further information at sonycentre.ca.

LISTING INFORMATION Kodo presents One Earth Tour: Evolution
Dates: March 21, 2019 at 8pm
Time: $55 to $95 + applicable fees
Tickets: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
1 Front Street East
Toronto, Ontario
Box Office: ticketmaster.ca or 1.855.872.7669
Information: sonycentre.ca / kodo.or.jp

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